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  • 17

Airbuses suffer cockpit power failure, await fixes

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As United Flight 731 climbed out of Newark with 107 people aboard, the pilot and first officer were startled to find screens that display crucial navigational information were blank or unreadable and radios were dead. They had no way to communicate with air traffic controllers or detect other planes around them in the New York City area's crowded airspace. (www.9news.com) Más...

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preacher1
preacher1 6
Good Stick and rudder skills and a clear day was exactly what got them down. Years ago I remember losing everything on a 752, and the backup power failed to transfer, so we were totally in the dark as well, BUT,it was clear, daylight and we were only about 5 miles or so out on final when it went so it really wasn't a problem. In that airspace up there, I would think there might be a severe pucker factor in one, if not both seats.lol
Falconus
Falconus 5
I hate to point this out, but in the airplane I fly, with technology that is millions of dollars less expensive, an electric failure would not take out the Attitude Indicator, airspeed, altimeter, VSI etc. Sure, I'd lose the radio and VOR's, which ranges from a pain in the butt to really bad, depending on weather, etc, but at least I could keep the thing straight and level if I couldn't see out, and with the compass I could even fly a heading. So glass cockpits are great, but if you are going to spend $20 million on an airplane, installing a backup non-electric (i.e. traditional) attitude indicator and other assorted "important stuff" doesn't seem to me like such a great added expense. And then it's probably not a terrible idea to carry a handheld radio, but I know that those aren't great at a distance.
USAFcptnShades
USAFcptnShades 1
They have "traditional" gauges in their cockpits just like you do.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I haven't see the inside of a Bus, but all, Boeing included, rely on backup power transfer rather than duplicate guages. Apparently this has been corrected on the later production Buses. These, I think, are the earlier versions. hardly any dulicate guages as they want pilots to get used to and relying on the glass. It was way back there but I can remember going from a 707 to a 757. Dark to daylight. And yeah, false sense of security to a degree, and there is a lot of armchair here.
USAFcptnShades
USAFcptnShades 1
http://www.freewebs.com/shamrock075/a320%202.jpg

Just to the left of the middle MFDs are your "traditional" gauges.
preacher1
preacher1 1
And you are correct in that respect, but just look at that picture and you can see how in the minority they are. Most of the younger pilots would be trying to cope with bringing their panel back rather than looking at the, as they are basically ignored if all the other is working.
USAFcptnShades
USAFcptnShades 1
Preacher are you a pilot!? Because any pilot knows that if you lose your electronics you automatically revert back to the basics. Use what's available and FLY THE PLANE. The only real issue I can see with this is no radio contact but then again that goes back to the good old training days and learning about the "light gun" and how to interpret the color light signals given by the tower. SO, in using your skills acquired through flight school and your eye balls there's no real threat here. If this were @ night during high intensity trAffic and low vis then it's a little different story.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Yes I am, retired off a big iron 135 job but still current. I was fortunate not to lose my panel in the 757 but once in 30 years and as I said, that was a fluke. I think going from steam on the 707 to all glass on a 757 was a culture shock. I know it was for me, and despite training, you got a lot of younger guys that have never flown with anything but glass and their steam guages are just there taking up space. Same thing with the light gun; most have never had to use it or may wonder if it's still in use,lol. That said, in this particular instance, it was definitely high intensity traffic. Even with a few basics to keep it straigt and level, with no transponder or radio, it could not have been fun.
preacher1
preacher1 1
And I did try to reply earlier but the FA page took a dump
USAFcptnShades
USAFcptnShades 1
Too many damn people checking their flight status, lol! I got the opportunity to tour one of the new FAA atc towers @ one of the airports in Indiana I flew into and while in it the tower operator let me shoot gun signals to a plane that was doing pattern work. I don't know if you still fly Preacher but if you do the next time you fly into a towered airport that's not busy, and by not busy I mean DEAD, ask them to shoot light gun signals to you. It's something different and kind of neat to see and do.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I still get up enough to stay current. Last time I was up at KFSM I went up to their tower to see some old friends. They still have the gun hanging but said that while it was still on their daily checklist for an operable check, that they hadn't used it for anything other than practice in a long time. It's kinda like them guages, fast becoming a dinasoar and a lot of the young guns out there wouldn't know what it was if it hit 'em in the face.lol. As Roland says below, they'd prolly make a laser report.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Prolly upset the locals and someone will call the cops about vandals with lasers.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Well there is one advantage..you can get a full meal tray on your lap..and should your coffee spill there is less chance of messing up the switchgear.
preacher1
preacher1 1
LOL. I guess all that extra room is an advantage of that joystick, but for sombody that spent all that time with a yoke betwen their legs, it would sure seem like it would take some getting used to. The FBW doesn't bother me as everything is headed that way but that just seems so foreign.lol
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Yeah in my case I could hide my shaking knees on finals behind that yoke..haha..that's why I gave up in 82..shakin knees...C152.

[This poster has been suspended.]

johndanzy
John Danzy 1
Please see Preacher1's comment below.

Thanks for your comment. But airlines around the world, including many U.S. airlines, will continue buying aircraft from Airbus.
preacher1
preacher1 2
John: I do got to say that mine was a fluke and the problem found and quickly fixed when we got down. That was the one time it happened in about 30 years, all on a Boeing, not multiple times and a fix it order put out like the AB has.
genethemarine
Gene spanos 1
Very dangerous....still !
mikezc128
"The January 2008 emergency was far from the first such multiple electrical failure in what is known as the Airbus A320 family of aircraft" Airbus hate, I LOVE IT! See with Boeing, they keep it tradtional and reliable.
johndanzy
John Danzy 0
Please see Preacher1's comment below.

Anyway, thanks for your comment. Airlines around the world, including many U.S. airlines, will continue buying aircraft from Airbus.
preacher1
preacher1 2
John: I do got to say that mine was a fluke and the problem found and quickly fixed when we got down. That was the one time it happened in about 30 years, all on a Boeing, not multiple times and a fix it order put out like the AB has.
mikezc128
Please refer to Preacher1's comment below. That says it all. Boeing is more trustworthy.
tyketto
Not for nothing, but keep in mind that the entire B737 series still may fall under the same issue that caused USA426 to go down near KPIT. Also, keep in mind that people also trusted Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone. Look where that fiasco got them.

My point: Trust is only as good as the technology used. Airbus has problems; Boeing has problems. Bottom line is that they get fixed and addressed so we don't have another USA426, QFA32, or, even worse, CPA611.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Brad, you are totally correct here. Everyone has a preference in AC type just as they do cars and AB is being bemoaned right now as they are the new kid on the block, so to speak. United's flights are getting highlighted right now because they are under a microscope with the merger, and probably some inactive reporters around, BUT, you don't seem to hear anything about US Air and there nearly 100% AB and DAL has a goodly number after the NWA merger. Nobody gave a dang about the Japanese cars 20 years ago and people decried them as junk; today they are in the tops as far as market share and the big 3 have been dethroned as the "ONLYS". It will really get interesting after AB gets the Mobile plant up and running. I never have been inside an AB cockpit that I can remember. My entire career was on a 707 and then 757, checking out on a 767 after I retired. After 30 years, it is no secret that my personal preference is Boeing, but there are a lot of younger guys coming into the field now that will never know the single market entity. Just as Lockheed and MD were around for years before succumbing to Boeing, leaving Boeing a period of no competition, now they have it again. They have a whole young group up there that never knew that world. You don't hear about Embraer or Bombadier catching this same flak because they are not going head to head with Boeing.It will all be interesting
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Have to say JetBlue is one of my fave operators and I would like to know how this issue has effected them if it all. They have a big fleet of A320s.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I got a feeling that with the maintenance contract they have, that JB probably didn't even know about it; that AB found it and went thru their fleet with the fix whether needed or not.LOL
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Haha..of course..what was I thinking..LOL
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Maybe airline pilots are going to have to start carrying their own Garmin handheld!lol I know I'm going to in my plane.
preacher1
preacher1 1
They gonna need something. That airspace up there is bad enough with everything working, let alone blind. Of course they couln't see it but I'll bet their separation requirements went below minimum for a bit.lol
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 1
Sadly, electricity does not always beleive in US exceptionalism, and doesn't know the difference between an Airbus or a Boeing, so they're no more immune to electrical problems than Airbus.

http://www.fss.aero/accident-reports/dvdfiles/US/1998-12-15-US.pdf
unclebigpete
Peter Douglas 0
I'm amazed that there is not an emergency network of telephone numbers that pilots can call to alert the 'defense' people that it's NOT a security risk. The pilots know where they are flying to, they should have the relevant contact info, which could be 'secret' or at least a restricted set of numbers, so the bad guys don't abuse the system. Maybe they could have codes that change daily. The stress of expecting to be shot down wouldn't do the pilots a lot of good!
Derg
Roland Dent 4
So they cannot afford the 46 hours of down time. OK fit an emergency battery powered transponder unit that is independent of all other systems.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Roland, my friend, your response is too practical and doesn't cost enough money.lol
Derg
Roland Dent 2
HaHa..you are my best pal Wayne...you are of course correct.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Good Stick and rudder skills and a clear day was exactly what got them down. Years ago I remember losing everything on a 752, and the backup power failed to transfer, so we were totally in the dark as well, BUT,it was clear, daylight and we were only about 5 miles or so out on final when it went so it really wasn't a problem. In that airspace up there, I would think there might be a severe pucker factor in one, if not both seats.lol
preacher1
preacher1 1
BTW, there is another squawk, still under "NEW SQUAWKS" I think carrying the same story/URL but is has a few more comments on it.
w7psk
Ricky Scott 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Airbus Operators experiancing Cockpit Power failures

Not good, hope it gets figured out. But they are a good company and Im sure it will get sorted.


http://www.newser.com/article/da0qie5o0/pilots-report-cockpit-power-failures-in-airbuses-some-jets-still-awaiting-fixes.html
erp1530
Ethan Pressl 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Airbus A320s suffer cockpit power failure, await fixes

As United Flight 731 climbed out of Newark with 107 people aboard, the pilot and first officer were startled to find screens that display crucial navigational information were blank or unreadable and radios were dead.


http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2018967412_apusairbuselectricalproblems.html
erictuff
Eric Tuff -1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Airbus electrical problems, more common than we think?

Brief history of electrical failures on Airbus from around the world and right here at home. Partial panel flying anyone?

http://www.wbal.com/article/ap?articleurl=http%3a%2f%2fhosted.ap.org%2fdynamic%2fstories%2fU%2fUS_AIRBUS_ELECTRICAL_PROBLEMS%3fSITE%3dWBAL%26SECTION%3dHOME%26TEMPLATE%3dDEFAULT

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