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Home > Air Crash > Would the B777 have a better chance than AF 447?
Would the B777 have a better chance than AF 447?
Aviation - Air Crash
Sunday, 29 May 2011 16:55

Hi Capt Lim,

Would a Boeing 777 have a better chance of recovering from the situation which led to the crash of Air France 447 while travelling from Rio to Paris?

Shailesh


Air France Airbus AF 447 Crash

Hi Shailesh,

The AF 447 crash has a slight similarity to that occurred on a Boeing 777 flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur in 2005. In that case, loss of correct flight instrument readings was attributed to the ADIRU (air data inertial reference unit). It caused the plane to climb through 38,000 feet as it pitched up triggering the stall warning as the speed decreased from 270 knots to 158 knots. The pilot was able to recover from this critical condition and landed safely back at Perth.

In the AF 447 case, the loss of reliable flight instrument indications was probably caused by the iced-up pitot tubes. In this unfortunate case, the relief pilot was not able to recover the stalled plane - probably due to contradictory airspeed indications inside a thunderstorm at night - this led to poor visual reference of the horizon (see video of AeroPeru Boeing 757 accident below - static ports being "blocked" by masking tape) and possibly an incorrect stall recovery technique.

So, as you can see, both planes do have its share of problems no matter how reliable the manufacturers had intended the planes to be. I was once told that it was almost impossible for the Boeing 777 ADIRU to fail in flight and that the Airbus planes being almost ‘uncrashable’ but Murphy law seems to prevail in the end.

Would a Boeing 777 have a better chance than an Airbus A330?  Possibly.  However, I believe Airbus has given instructions to have all the pitot tubes concerned replaced since.

In my opinion, both planes have their own strength - Boeing 777 and later have good 'hardwares' whereas the third-generation Airbuses have better 'softwares'.

In the final analysis, the key to greater air safety is more training in the flight simulator to reduce human errors.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, please follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION - AERO PERU 603 PART 1/5


AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION - AERO PERU 603 PART 2/5


AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION - AERO PERU 603 PART 3/5


AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION - AERO PERU 603 PART 4/5


AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION - AERO PERU 603 PART 5/5

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Comments (4)

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When all fails, it is always the best to go back to basic flying by power (thrust) and attitude.
Johnny , 19 Aug, 2011
pitot tubes
Hi Cap Lim,

Why would a modern aircraft such as A330 would have such vulnerable pitot tube that might freeze in the air but not older models i.e. B747?
Sean , 17 Nov, 2012
...
It is true that human intervention plays an important role in safety. I am not from an aviation industry but an oil and gas industry. We have similar line of defences to prevent any safety incidences as much as possible. Though nowadays we are equipped with high tech control and safeguarding instrumentation system, they might fail. Thats why human intervention and experience doing corrective response is the next line of defense. If all these barriers in place failed it will lead to disaster.
anonymous , 18 Dec, 2013
...
The relief pilot flying AF447 continued to apply back pressure throughout the descent into the ocean. Capt. Sullenberger has pointed out that the unmoving, pressure-sensitive control stick in the A330 provided no obvious visual cue to the captain returning to the cockpit - but in a B777 he likely would have noticed the control yoke in the aft position and immediately remedied the situation.
DBoard9 , 15 Jul, 2015

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