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Drama in the cockpit: Qantas crew faced 54 alarms

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Nobody trains for chaos like this. Out the pilots' left window, far above the ocean, an engine bigger than an SUV had disintegrated, blasting shrapnel holes in their superjumbo jet's wing. And now an overwhelming flood of computer alarms was warning the pilots that critical systems might be failing (news.yahoo.com) More...

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piper877
Will Goshorn 0
I love these articles sometimes. It says that an aft CG could cause the plane to "Lose lift, stall, and crash". CG doesn't affect whether a wing produces lift or not. Also, it states that the flight crew of 5 had "over 100 years of flying experience". According to my calculations that would make the average flight time of the crew 175200 hours. If all of them had been flying for 50 years, that would mean they had flown 3504 hours in each of those 50 years. I think they may want to check their numbers. That being said, I'd ride on one of their flights any day. Well done.
RGibson259
Robert Gibson` 0
CG affects angle, which affects speed and lift so ---? Ref. Ground School for PP license in 1960. Has it changed?
rexerex
Rex Hefferan 0
Actually too far aft CG can affect lift by way of loss of elevator authority. An aircraft is controlled by being in balance. The ability to maintain lift is directly controlled by the elevator. Imagine an extreme; you suddenly lose your elevator. It separates from the tail. What would happen?
Back to this incident: If the CG gets too far aft the elevator can't control balance at the proper slower speed for landing configuration. If you can't slow down enough for safe landing the pilot might be able to make a controlled crash.
I wonder how much control feedback there would be in a A380 before the elevator stalls with aft CG exceeded? It could be none with a sudden loss of pitch control at a critical time.
frogfoot21
frogfoot21 0
You are correct Mr. Gibson.
RGibson259
Robert Gibson` 0
I guess I wasn't listening too closely and it has been a number of years. I thought my instructor, a navy carrier pilot, explained it as a difference of air pressure between the top and bottom of the wing. Speed and CG were factors that affected this difference and resulting lift.
Maybe it's different for those big dudes. All that weight to lift area problem. I only flew puddle jumpers (SEL).
rexerex
Rex Hefferan 0
Yes, lift is the difference of air pressure around a wing. Air speed creates the air pressure and Angle of Attack (AoA) varies the pressure difference. CG is the balance point of the aircraft. It doesn't matter what size airplane, a conventional designed airplane works under the same aerodynamic principles. I should look for a link that explains it better than I can here.
RGibson259
Robert Gibson` 0
Hey, thanks. You woke me up and made me think. Did I really remember the 4 principles of flight? My ego abounds! take a look at the test furnished by NASA at this location. I got 13 out of 15 right! Ego-Ego-Ego! Thanks loads!

http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/_vti_bin/shtml.dll/flight47.htm
rexerex
Rex Hefferan 0
Very good link! And my ego is not so strong that I will admit that I only got 12 right. It turns out that I had been taught an outdated version of principles using the Bernoulli effect. So I relied on answers from that idea. However, it turns out my intuitive understanding is correct and just the terms I used caused my wrong answers.
I am now updated from the explanations on this page:
http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/airflylvl3.htm

So thank you for finding that site. I will be studying it to refine my explanations for future discussions. I actually give basic flight simulation lessons at a aircraft museum.
rexerex
Rex Hefferan 0
BTW Robert, have you used the nickname "Hoot"? :^)
RGibson259
Robert Gibson` 0
No, my older brother got here first so he claimed the nickname. He's not much of a cowboy though. Though maybe be was as a teen LOL. He did the airforce.
RGibson259
Robert Gibson` 0
Rex, would you by chance be in Dayton? My BIL is a tour guide there and they now possess the sissambled XC-99 of which my brother was a crew member.
rexerex
Rex Hefferan 0
No, Pueblo, CO - www.pwam.org
andyc852
If I understand this correctly it was a line check for the Captain, and a line check for the check pilot/Captain. All aboard were fortunate that there was so much experience available. The outcome reflects that. Two things that I wonder about.
1 Did both Captains pass their check ride/line checks. I certainly hope so!
2 The potential for confusion when you have so many well qualified pilots is significant, and you have to know ahead of time as to who is actually in charge. Qantas has a superb history of safety and it is a credit to their management style and philosophy that we had such a positive outcome.
I flew (coach) on a QF flight MEL-LAX in April and loved the flight.. even in coach so am impressed with the aircraft also.
Cheers

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