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Breaking: 150 Feared Dead After Plane Crashes in French Alps


Breaking: 150 Feared Dead After Plane Crashes in French Alps

Common Dreams staff

Developing story...

A commercial airliner carrying approximately 150 people has crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning, the civil aviation authority in France has confirmed. According to officials, no survivors are expected.

The plane, operated by Lufthansa's low-cost division Germanwing, was flying from Barcelona, Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany when it sent out a distress signal and later crashed in a remote, mountainous area near Meolans-Revels, not far from the the popular French ski resort of Pra Loup.


Never liked Airbus planes.


This is about the fifth or sixth serious accident with fly-by-wire airbus designs that I am aware of over the years. Having flown the first automated two-man airplane that airbus put out, I can say with certainty that the very philosophy of Airbus was regarded as dangerous by pilots who flew the old hand-flown Boeings. The belief that the pilot in command doesn’t need to know what the hell is going on, since the Magic Airplane will fix everything by itself without telling him first, raised serious objections with me in ground school and training devices.

You can get away with this for a lot years, when these machines are new and the maintenance is perfect. But we got these things second-hand and operated them in the third world, and we all had “computer scares” of one type or another. Fortunately, the A300 series was not “Fly by Wire” like this accident aircraft, the A320’s and A330’s are, and we could disconnect everything and hand fly it like the old Boeings, since it had hydraulic lines the length of the airplane and backup “steam guages” that were independent of the HAL-9000 psycho computer.

But today’s pilots don’t have those skills. The A320 which crashed here, always calculates your back pressure in turns, and bank angle without any skill required from you. So when it fails on a dark and stormy night, it’s the first time you’ve ever actually hand flown a real airplane with an aft CG at high altitude and the ECAM screaming warnings in your ear. I could barely do it hand flying the thing to altitude every night just to keep that difficult, dangerous skill current on a clear night. It’s like playing a Steinway at a concert. If you haven’t practiced for years and don’t bother to tune the damn thing before the concert, you’re going to stink.

All these nanny protection devices are what sold these magic airplanes to airlines all over the world with the claim that less experienced crews could be used.

It is a lie. Airbus automation is so complicated and user unfriendly, that it actually increases pilot workload, rather than reducing it as airbus claimed. Several industry studies have come to the same conclusion.

Just all my opinions only.



There are these series of watched these series of youtube videos of A320 simulator flying put out by this Latvian (or Estonian or Lithuanian, forgot which) flying school - some of them involving an attractive non-pilot blonde in the left seat and having her land one to the instructor’s (who himself look to be all of 25 years old) instructions.

The videos all give me impression that in Europe, the pilots are hardly “pilots” at all, but merely operators of a computerized piece of equipment…


Yes Yunzer,

Today’s airline pilot is not hired with a physical science background. Any degree will do, or even none at all. They aren’t taught systems in depth. They are forced to fly at the FAA’s “Highest Level of Automation” or face discipline either via the rumor mill or the Big Brother flight data monitoring which second guesses your every wiggle “on a long management table with no coffee or biscuits for you at your end of the table” Monday morning, by some ladder-climbing management dickhead who never flies and has no idea what the hell he is talking about.

The result is that no Captain ever allows the new co-pilot to gain any hand-flying experience in raw data mode with no nanny flight protection devices on.

That co-pilot later becomes a Captain who has never really hand flown the airplane at all (except in a simulator) which is a marvelous training device, but not the real thing. Of course, with sidestick fly-by-wire design, like this accident airplane, neither pilot you’re depending on ever flies the thing in “Direct Law” since it’s prohibited except in the simulator.

This flight was already in “Coffin Corner” at flight level 380. It looks to me like they hit a cold front with large build ups, which could have been throwing ice at them. Radar can’t see ice crystals, so just like the Air Asia A320 and the Air France AF447 A330, all the probes could have iced up and that’s when both the autopilot and the auto-throttle go haywire and try to kill you. You only have a second or two to disconnect everything and hand-fly your way to safety with no instruments except what the IRU platform gives you: an attitude reference and raw engine N1.

It happened to me, over the South China Sea going around a typhoon and we barely made it home alive. Nobody believed us later, because Mr. Airbus said that could never happen. Mr. Concord said much the same thing in 2000 and that was the end of that model.

Update to my post: Well, now once again, the Airbus Empire has squirreled the back box back to their Ivory Tower and declared one pilot was out of the cockpit furiously trying to get back in the seat again, but they won’t let anyone hear the audio. Just like AF447, which Airbus Industry blamed on the pilots, it looks like they are going to try that again.

How many times are we going to fall for this?

It’s a 100 billion dollar industry, so both France and Airbus are never going to point the finger at themselves. Boeing would stand to make a fortune and Airbus would implode. With AF447, they claimed they couldn’t find the wreckage for over a year, yet a French Frigate was parked on top of it guarding the spot where they claimed they eventually found it. I saw it there via commercial transponder website in the early days following the accident near AF447’s last estimated position before it hit bad weather (50,000 foot Thunderstorms.) The ship transponder disappeared right after I pointed it out.

You can’t have such secrecy present in legitimate aircraft investigation.

All my posts are just my opinions only, and I could be wrong about everything.