BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by phongn » 2015-03-26 03:59pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:I would however like to at least see mandatory unarmed combat training for anyone whose job it is to take over being the second person. Anyone whose suicide involves killing 150 innocent people probably won't be deterred by human interaction. That's a different stage of suicide than normal suicide, it's much more equivalent to being a school shooter.
IIRC, US flight attendants undergo unarmed combat training, but I don't know how much they continually train for it.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Broomstick » 2015-03-26 04:07pm

Thanas wrote:All evidence points to clear, premeditated murder of all passengers by the copilot.
Holy fucking shit.
Zaune wrote:
Thanas wrote:I think this removes any doubt. The copilot must have been conscious and willing to prevent the over-ride. This was murder.
Either that or mental illness. I mean, he was what, 26? The typical age for the onset of many psychiatric disorders is "adolescence and early adulthood" if you believe the DSM-V, so that'd only make him a mildly late bloomer.
Mental illness, at least of the depressive sort, can strike at any age. Depression and suicide/murder can overlap. It doesn't have to be a binary thing.
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Passengers immediately ganging up on and beating down anyone acting strangely has been the only thing to stop terrorist acts on airplanes. Of course, to be honest, a conventional firearm could easily wreck the controls if the person with it aboard was suicidal, but we must be able to come up with an alternative incapacitation weapon that isn't.
Um... no, that may or may not be possible. And putting guns in cockpits, or flight crews, might be tolerated in the US but not in some other parts of the world. Any “incapacitation weapon” could be used against good guys just as easily as against bad guys.

Sorry, we can't engineer away the risk of a human being going batshit.
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:I would however like to at least see mandatory unarmed combat training for anyone whose job it is to take over being the second person.
That's going to do jackshit in a situation involving a petite female vs. a tall brawny male... or we could go back to the days of requiring a penis in order to operate an aircraft? Not to mention the possible bad consequences of an actual brawl occurring in a cockpit while in flight. I just don't think that's a viable option, either.
Sky Captain wrote:It seems airline industry has come to a point where air travel is so safe that when there is fatal crash it is likely a cause is something bizarre like Malaysian plane which flew into Indian ocean and disappeared or in this case copilot committing suicide.
Yes. As I mentioned upthread, it has been a couple decades since there was a pattern to airline crashes. They've all been one-off accidents for quite a long while now.
In this case reinforced doors while reducing chances of terrorist taking over control are introducing another failure point by preventing crew to quickly get into cockpit if copilot decides to lock himself in and crash or some other freak accident happens.
It's sort of a rule than any safety system can potentially malfunction and cause an accident. Likewise, any security system can be exploited eventually.
Thanas wrote:If we go back to non-reinforced doors, then all that will happen is that the perpetrator will put the plane into a stronger nosedive. I mean, this one Singaporean captain put the plane into such a dive that the wings broke off in seconds. There is nothing that will stop anybody from crashing the plane if they want to, you just gotta trust the pilots.
^ This.

I know of no airplane where the pilot can't put the plane into such a nosedive/stress maneuver that it will cause structural destruction of the airplane.

Nor is our ability to screen people for either mental illness or murderous intent perfect either.
Patroklos wrote:As to violent maneuvers that snap off wings why is that even possible?
Physics.
In the case of an airliner where drastic maneuvers are rarely necessary could you someone restrict the degree of maneuver a pilot can make? Perhaps give a copilot time to react?
The problem is that when you do need a dramatic maneuver you may not have time to push an over-ride. The Airbus is, in fact, designed to help avoid accidental extreme maneuvers, but because a different sort of emergency may require unusual control inputs locking that ability out completely could quite conceivably lead to an accident down the road when the pilots are prevented from engaging in desperate maneuvering.

Thanas gives an example. It's not the most extreme situation I could imagine, but it's one of the more likely scenarios. Stall/spin accidents continue to kill people every year even though the recovery procedure is drilled into pilots so thoroughly as to make it a conditioned reflex. You have so very little time to react in that sort of emergency.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Borgholio » 2015-03-26 04:10pm

Now, this might be too pie in the sky...but what about a remote automatic override? Take this case for instance. The plane is seen falling out of the sky like this one was. An emergency radio stored in the galley area is used by one of the flight crew to send a distress signal. The ground station sees that something is wrong and with a crash imminent, they hit the override button. This locks out the manual controls and sets the autopilot to follow a pre-programmed path back to a specified airport. The plane will fly itself back to safety and attempt to land on it's own or via remote control from the ground station.

Now of course there could be issues with this setup such as the reliability of the autopilot and having to protect against a hostile third party taking remote control of the plane...but it would be better than slamming into a mountain.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Thanas » 2015-03-26 04:19pm

Borgholio wrote:Now, this might be too pie in the sky...but what about a remote automatic override? Take this case for instance. The plane is seen falling out of the sky like this one was. An emergency radio stored in the galley area is used by one of the flight crew to send a distress signal. The ground station sees that something is wrong and with a crash imminent, they hit the override button. This locks out the manual controls and sets the autopilot to follow a pre-programmed path back to a specified airport. The plane will fly itself back to safety and attempt to land on it's own or via remote control from the ground station.

Now of course there could be issues with this setup such as the reliability of the autopilot and having to protect against a hostile third party taking remote control of the plane...but it would be better than slamming into a mountain.
1. Large parts of the planet do not have radio coverage or radar coverage or contact with ground control.
2. You really do not want your plane to be able to be remotely controlled via computer because hackers/bugs/malfunction/signal getting jambled
3. All this will do is to cause people to crash the plane faster. No remote will save you if it takes the pilot a minute or so to get to it, at that point a plane can already be irrecoverable.
4. This will require a second comm system, separate from the main comm system because handheld radios will not go far. This is expensive. And it would still be vulnerable to a murderer shutting off power. Unless it gets a separate power source. Well, now you got a huge system. Is that worth it?
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Borgholio » 2015-03-26 04:26pm

Yeah, too many drawbacks. Nevermind. :)
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Flagg » 2015-03-26 04:37pm

You know, I get wanting to kill yourself (been there, tried that), but what fucking brings people to want to also murder a large number of innocent people in the process (aside from the obvious suicide bomber religious fanatic)? Is it narcissism or just old fashioned psychopathy? You'd think these things would have been picked up in the various screening processes. Fucking sad.

As for the anti-terrorist door... I mean maybe give the pilot a special key to be able to manually open the door, but that just compromises the entire system. So I dunno.

As for the people gloating about how they predicted something like this would happen: You get 149 go fuck yourselves. :finger:
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Zaune » 2015-03-26 04:45pm

Broomstick wrote:Mental illness, at least of the depressive sort, can strike at any age. Depression and suicide/murder can overlap. It doesn't have to be a binary thing.
True, but I would have thought it'd take more than mere clinical depression to send a guy out on a totally random spree-killing like this. Settling the score with the ex and the boss who fired you before throwing yourself under a train I could see, but not thrill-killing a bunch of total strangers.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Grumman » 2015-03-26 05:10pm

Flagg wrote:You know, I get wanting to kill yourself (been there, tried that), but what fucking brings people to want to also murder a large number of innocent people in the process (aside from the obvious suicide bomber religious fanatic)? Is it narcissism or just old fashioned psychopathy? You'd think these things would have been picked up in the various screening processes. Fucking sad.
Narcissism is the theory I've heard for it. The more trauma they cause, the more their death will be remembered.

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Thanas » 2015-03-26 05:14pm

Or they just want their death to be near instantaneous.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2015-03-26 06:30pm

How exactly is an 8 minute plunge from 38,000ft even near instantaneous? This is a highly trained pilot, they'll know this is not a quick way to die, not quiet one either as the plane hits its design mach limit and starts with heavy buffeting. Falling off a bridge would go by quicker, or any number of other simple options. Its completely about infamy for themselves, narcissism or however one wishes to phrase that concept. Why people can get that plotting crazy, could be a lot of different reasons but the end logic seems pretty straightforward to me.

Going back to three man flight deck crews would be the best defense against this, but that's serious long term money for the airlines.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2015-03-26 06:46pm

Oh and I see the media just picked up on something very relevant found by people at flightradar24 a site dedicated to tracking airliners via transponders, and also recording certain ATC data. Skip the media this is the thread in question announcing it.

http://forum.flightradar24.com/threads/ ... e-more-dat

They claim this shows the planes autopilot was reset to 96ft just before it began its dive. This is probably the lowest allowed setting. They have this information recorded, and gave it to the French authorities two days ago. Given what's almost known and what the French have said, I'd take it as legit.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Thanas » 2015-03-26 06:55pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:How exactly is an 8 minute plunge from 38,000ft even near instantaneous?
The impact is.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Broomstick » 2015-03-26 06:57pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:How exactly is an 8 minute plunge from 38,000ft even near instantaneous?
The "plunge" is not instantaneous, it's the sudden stop at the end.

Keep in mind aviation black boxes are some of the most durable objects modern society makes. Did you see how mangled the CVR casing was? That was at the back of airplane, where the forces were the least. The stuff at the front was subjected to much worse.
This is a highly trained pilot, they'll know this is not a quick way to die, not quiet one either as the plane hits its design mach limit and starts with heavy buffeting.
The forward airspeed was at normal cruise speed, not "design mach limit". There was likely no buffeting whatsoever. The downward component of speed was, as I said earlier, around 70 kph. Watching the ground approach is not inherently terrifying to a pilot, it is, after all, something they see every day. In fact, watching the ground approach can even be pleasantly thrilling.

I will say, though, that smashing into a mountainside at 800+ kph is about as close to certain death as a human being can come using a man-made vehicle.

Now, pointing the nose down abruptly - THAT could be quite scary. Aside from the obvious change in attitude and crap falling from one to the other end of the airplane, engines+gravity=enormous acceleration. THAT is when you'd end up breaking the sound barrier, get buffeting/vibration, and rip bits like wings off the airplane. Typical airline cruising speed is around 880 kph, and if you were going straight down that speed would take you from cruising altitude to impact in less than a single minute. That would be a relatively quick way to die... although long enough you'd spend your final seconds in stark, gibbering terror.

In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Falling off a bridge would go by quicker, or any number of other simple options.
Depends on how high the bridge is, I suppose... Terminal velocity of a human body (outside people trained to go faster) is only around 190 kph. Well, OK, it would have to be a really high bridge...
Its completely about infamy for themselves, narcissism or however one wishes to phrase that concept. Why people can get that plotting crazy, could be a lot of different reasons but the end logic seems pretty straightforward to me.
Why do you assume logic has anything to do with this? If the man was mentally ill he may not have been rational or acting logically at all.
Going back to three man flight deck crews would be the best defense against this, but that's serious long term money for the airlines.
Some long-haul flights already carry multiple crews, and for the airlines the cost may become necessary due to the passengers demanding it.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Grumman » 2015-03-26 07:12pm

Broomstick wrote:Why do you assume logic has anything to do with this? If the man was mentally ill he may not have been rational or acting logically at all.
You cannot reasonably claim that his actions did not show any sign of logic. It's not like he was just flinging items around the cockpit like an enraged chimpanzee, he took specific actions that would maximise his chance of success.

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Broomstick » 2015-03-26 07:19pm

There's a continuum between "Vulcan logical" and "all contact with reality has been lost". He could be engaged in effective actions towards an illogical end.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Lord Revan » 2015-03-26 07:33pm

Grumman wrote:
Broomstick wrote:Why do you assume logic has anything to do with this? If the man was mentally ill he may not have been rational or acting logically at all.
You cannot reasonably claim that his actions did not show any sign of logic. It's not like he was just flinging items around the cockpit like an enraged chimpanzee, he took specific actions that would maximise his chance of success.
You see mentally ill don't act nesserly without logic, but they act by their own set of logic that's not quite the same as most people's logic.

People have sort of a metaphorical lens or window they used to determine if something is rational or not, but for the mentally ill this lens or window is warped so what for most people is perfectly rational might seem absurd to them and the other way around, but they might function perfactly logical in other situations. The mentally ill don't loose their ability to act logically, it's just that their logic is flawed and twisted.

EDIT:in case you wonder how I know this, I suffer from chronic depression and one of the things that allowed me to heal enough to essentially function normally was realizing that my mental lens was warped and taking action to fix that as much as I could (part of it is brain chemistry and that harder to fix).
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Irbis » 2015-03-26 08:05pm

The worst part is, reports say group of German kids missed a passport. Had captain said no, they would take next flight, but instead, he agreed to wait 20 min and the family where the kid was staying speedily delivered passport to customs. Hearing a few hours later you did kill the girl that stayed with you for some time, with your help, much less whole group of kids, must have been terrible :(
Broomstick wrote:In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Polish TV reported terrified screams of passengers accompanying the sounds of captain's efforts to open the door. Really, even if you didn't saw rather conspicuous efforts to batter the door, or sit near the window, such sudden drastic attitude change would likely play hell with your ears and throat. I don't see how you could miss it...

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2015-03-26 08:10pm

This guy engaged in the premeditated murder of 150 people, four times worse than the worst school shooting and a death toll equal to half of all American multiple killings by firearm in the past 15 years. He matches the evil of any serial killer, any rampage killer, and he tortured his victims to death with that 11-minute descent.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-03-26 08:28pm

Irbis wrote:The worst part is, reports say group of German kids missed a passport. Had captain said no, they would take next flight, but instead, he agreed to wait 20 min and the family where the kid was staying speedily delivered passport to customs. Hearing a few hours later you did kill the girl that stayed with you for some time, with your help, much less whole group of kids, must have been terrible :(
Its horrible, but of course its hardly his fault. He couldn't have known the person flying the plane would go nuts.

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by SpottedKitty » 2015-03-27 01:53am

Broomstick wrote:The problem is that when you do need a dramatic maneuver you may not have time to push an over-ride. The Airbus is, in fact, designed to help avoid accidental extreme maneuvers, but because a different sort of emergency may require unusual control inputs locking that ability out completely could quite conceivably lead to an accident down the road when the pilots are prevented from engaging in desperate maneuvering.
Isn't that what happened in the crash way back, when an early Airbus doing a low-and-slow beauty pass along a runway crashed into the forest surrounding the airport? IIRC the pilot had the computer in the wrong mode, the computer thought he was trying to land, and there wasn't time to change mode, recover and get enough power back on. A less computerised plane wouldn't have "known better" what the pilot intended.

(On the gripping hand, a less computerised plane flying in that attitude probably would have crashed violently in the middle of the airport, instead of carrying on for another half mile into a semi-controlled crash that some people actually survived.)
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2015-03-27 04:32am

Broomstick wrote:In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Thats what the black box recordings confirmed from what I read last night, they only realized a few instants before it happened. Better than 8 minutes of terror at least.
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by salm » 2015-03-27 05:25am

I find the whole talk about making flying safer a bit strange. It is allready so safe that a plane crash like this aren´t really significant to the trafic deaths. I mean in Germany alone about 300 people die in car accidents per months.
If there is an easy way to do so, well fine, go ahead but demanding a solution to something as rare as insane pilots strikes me as a rather silly.
I assume the airlines think the same, agree to something like having at least two people in the cockpit at all times - which will be routinely ignored by the crew - and then when nobody is looking anymore drop the practice again.

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Irbis » 2015-03-27 07:24am

Broomstick wrote:
Going back to three man flight deck crews would be the best defense against this, but that's serious long term money for the airlines.
Some long-haul flights already carry multiple crews, and for the airlines the cost may become necessary due to the passengers demanding it.
Really?

I am kind of sceptical about that. How would passengers even know how many pilots are on board? Thanks to, you know, armoured doors and all? In fact, I recently saw multiple proposals to get rid of useless profit-drainer and leave planes with just one pilot. If you look at linked article's poll, 25% of people agreed it was good idea, even without lowering the price of tickets... :roll:

In fact, I'd bet the airplanes are so safe now someone will look, and have bright idea of comparing increased insurance rates vs slashed crews - and if they can save even 1$ doing so someone will eventually propose one extra crash every X years is acceptable risk, profit margins are low enough, thank you.
Sea Skimmer wrote:They claim this shows the planes autopilot was reset to 96ft just before it began its dive. This is probably the lowest allowed setting. They have this information recorded, and gave it to the French authorities two days ago. Given what's almost known and what the French have said, I'd take it as legit.
Yes, lowest allowed setting is 100 foot, it just shows as 96 as it's lowest binary representation system can show (32+64). They has this from the start, pretty much eliminating 90% of possible crash causes. I wonder why they didn't cut useless media speculation and panic by outright refuting most outlandish of these.

Speaking of panic, what a way to destroy trust and raise stress in pretty much every single airplane in EU, maybe everywhere. I really wouldn't want to be someone who needs to leave cockpit for some reason while wondering in back of the head if I really know/trust the other guy... :?

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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Broomstick » 2015-03-27 08:16am

Broomstick wrote:In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Polish TV reported terrified screams of passengers accompanying the sounds of captain's efforts to open the door. Really, even if you didn't saw rather conspicuous efforts to batter the door, or sit near the window, such sudden drastic attitude change would likely play hell with your ears and throat. I don't see how you could miss it...
Maybe you forget I've been in airplanes that have engaged in such descents (although obviously with different purpose and a different ending). Yes, you will notice you are descending, perhaps more so than usual, but this was not a violent maneuver. If you weren't looking at an outside reference you wouldn't be aware of just how steep the dive was, even if you were a pilot. Their forward airspeed was not significantly changed, so the sound of the airstream would remain the same. There would be no violent shuddering. The captain would figure out something was wrong before they did, mainly because he couldn't get into the cockpit. It was probably his actions that alerted them something was seriously wrong more than what the airplane was doing.
SpottedKitty wrote:Isn't that what happened in the crash way back, when an early Airbus doing a low-and-slow beauty pass along a runway crashed into the forest surrounding the airport? IIRC the pilot had the computer in the wrong mode, the computer thought he was trying to land, and there wasn't time to change mode, recover and get enough power back on. A less computerised plane wouldn't have "known better" what the pilot intended.
Well, at least it wouldn't have “second-guessed the pilot”. I'm not very familiar with that particular accident but the scenario sounds possible. A low fly-by is not a normal part of passenger transport and it unlikely to would have been a pre-programmed option.
(On the gripping hand, a less computerised plane flying in that attitude probably would have crashed violently in the middle of the airport, instead of carrying on for another half mile into a semi-controlled crash that some people actually survived.)
Maybe, maybe not – it would have depended far more greatly on the skill of the individual at the controls. That's one the bonuses of a heavily automated fly-by-wire aircraft – it makes it easier for a mediocre pilot to deliver the performance of a great pilot day-to-day. People sometimes shudder when I say “mediocre pilot” but really, today's mediocre is actually pretty damn good because the standards are pretty damn high.
His Divine Shadow wrote:
Broomstick wrote:In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Thats what the black box recordings confirmed from what I read last night, they only realized a few instants before it happened. Better than 8 minutes of terror at least.
That makes me wonder if he had chosen that descent profile to avoid alarming the passengers as some sort of twisted mercy?
salm wrote:I find the whole talk about making flying safer a bit strange. It is allready so safe that a plane crash like this aren´t really significant to the trafic deaths. I mean in Germany alone about 300 people die in car accidents per months.
If there is an easy way to do so, well fine, go ahead but demanding a solution to something as rare as insane pilots strikes me as a rather silly.
Worrying about your pilot going insane is about as sensible as worrying if the guy sitting next to you on a bus or train or standing next to you in line in a shop is going to go insane. In fact, it's less likely your pilot is going to snap than some randomly picked strangers. It's like getting hit by a meteor – unpredictable and not a lot you can do about it if it does happen.
Irbis wrote:
Broomstick wrote:
Going back to three man flight deck crews would be the best defense against this, but that's serious long term money for the airlines.
Some long-haul flights already carry multiple crews, and for the airlines the cost may become necessary due to the passengers demanding it.
Really?
Yep.

Some very long distance flights are sufficiently long that one crew doing the all the work would exceed the legal number of consecutive duty hours. Such routes routinely carry multiple crews and the people doing the take-off are not the people doing the landing at the end of the trip.
I am kind of sceptical about that. How would passengers even know how many pilots are on board?
It's not so much the passengers on particular flight as a demand for regulations.
In fact, I recently saw multiple proposals to get rid of useless profit-drainer and leave planes with just one pilot. If you look at linked article's poll, 25% of people agreed it was good idea, even without lowering the price of tickets... :roll:
Not going to happen due to safety concerns. As I noted upthread, while very rare pilots do sometimes because incapacitated en route. You would no more get rid of the second pilot than you would strip out 2 of the 3 triple redundant instruments to save cost and weight. It's a “useless profit-drainer” until the shit hits the fan.

We'll see fully automated airplanes with no pilots before we see 1 pilot airline passenger transport. If a human is required then you need a spare, just in case.
In fact, I'd bet the airplanes are so safe now someone will look, and have bright idea of comparing increased insurance rates vs slashed crews - and if they can save even 1$ doing so someone will eventually propose one extra crash every X years is acceptable risk, profit margins are low enough, thank you.
Oh, the airlines have been making that calculation for decades, it's nothing new.
Yes, lowest allowed setting is 100 foot, it just shows as 96 as it's lowest binary representation system can show (32+64). They has this from the start, pretty much eliminating 90% of possible crash causes. I wonder why they didn't cut useless media speculation and panic by outright refuting most outlandish of these.
Because you can't stop useless media speculation and panic with reason and facts because it's not rational. Look at all the bullshit around things like 9/11.
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Patroklos
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Re: BREAKING: Airbus A320 crashes in Alps

Post by Patroklos » 2015-03-27 09:00am

His Divine Shadow wrote:
Broomstick wrote:In this case the passengers probably didn't start screaming until they were almost at impact, other than looking out the window they probably had no way to know just how bad the situation was.
Thats what the black box recordings confirmed from what I read last night, they only realized a few instants before it happened. Better than 8 minutes of terror at least.
The recording tells us no such thing. All it tells us is that they only started screaming load enough to be heard through the cockpit door just before impact. I am sure plenty of people noticed the alps reaching up for them when they shouldn't have been there long before that.

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