Tag Archives: Aviation Safety

Terrifying video shows an E-2C Hawkeye almost crashing into the sea after arresting cable snaps aboard USS Eisenhower

This is the worst nightmare for pilots conducting trap landings on an aircraft carrier.

This video was filmed on Mar. 18, 2016 and shows an E-2C Hawkeye performing a trap landing on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

As the footage shows, the cable used to catch the landing aircraft snapped: you can see the E-2C, slowed down by the #4 wire, continue toward the end of the flight deck, disappear off the flight deck while falling toward the sea before reappearing several seconds later, miraculously managing to gain speed and altitude.

According to the Virginian-Pilot media outlet, U.S. Navy investigators blamed human error and an improperly programmed valve for the incident in which eight sailors were injured.

Aircraft performing for an arrested landing on a carrier apply full throttle immediately after touchdown for two reasons: they may miss the cable or, worst case scenario, the cable might snap. In both cases, the aircraft needs to

Two years after MH370 there is a way for aviation enthusiasts to obtain location data from aircraft flying in remote areas

Amateur tracking software can monitor the signals sent by the aircraft to the Inmarsat network.

On Mar. 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing B777-200 aircraft (registration 9M-MRO), operating from Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, disappeared from radars about 40 minutes after take off from Kuala Lumpur.

The flight, carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew members, was regularly transmitting ADS-B data until contact was lost over the Gulf of Thailand, when the wide body was cruising at 35,000 feet at 474 knots in reportedly good weather.

Between 1:19 and 1:20AM local time, the aircraft turned right, changing heading from 25 to 40 degrees.

The transponder stopped transmitting at 1:21AM LT.

According to the Malaysian authorities, there were subsequent primary radar returns to the west of the Malaysian peninsula, over the Strait of Malacca and then north-west. This is assumed to be a real return from MH370 even if based on primary radar echo.

For reasons we still don’t know the aircraft radio systems did not work while the plane flew westwards back towards Malaysia.

Even if information was incoherent and sometimes contradictory, we know for certain that military radars in both Malaysia and Thailand saw the plane.

MH370 route with initial search (credit: Wiki)

MH370 route with initial search (credit: Wiki)

SATCOM (a radio system that uses a constellation of satellites used to transmit voice, data or both)  system pings linked to the INMARSAT network continued for 7+ (last ping at 08:11 local) hrs after LOS (loss of signal).

A Ping is a quite common term for IT Networking. It refers to a utility used to test the reachability of a host on an IP network and measure the round-trip time (RTT) of the packets even if it is more frequently associated to the data messages themselves, or “pings”.

Similarly to what happens on a Local Area Network, satellites send pings (once an hour) to their receiving peers that respond to it thus signaling their network presence. Hence, these pings are no more than simple probes used to check the reachability of SATCOM systems aboard the planes.

Based on the round-trip times of such pings, two arcs made of all the possible positions located at the same distance from the INMARSAT satellite were drawn.

But further analysis on Doppler Effect, as well as correlation among the “signatures” of other B777s, clearly indicated that aircraft had followed a southbound route, towards the South Pole.

Whilst search efforts have not been able to find the wreckage of the Boeing 777, the mysterious disappearance of the MH370 flight highlighted the need for tracking aircraft flying over high seas or remote locations, where radar coverage does not exist (such as southern Indian Ocean where aircraft, ships and submarines from 26 nations, have searched for any debris).

Two years on from the loss of MH370 and six months after Inmarsat completed their initial trials of a free tracking network for commercial traffic across Autralasia and the Pacific region COAA’s team who develop PlanePlotter, an aircraft position plotting program that decodes the digital messages transmitted from aircraft to display their content and plot their position on a radar-like chart, have successfully completed their own trials to see if we can obtain location data from the Inmarsat fleet and then plot it on their own tracking system.

Here’s how they describe their recent developments:

“This had been on our minds for some time, but we didn’t have the decoding knowledge to fully understand the signals from the satellite fleet,” says John, from PlanePlotter support.

“In stepped “Jonti” from New Zealand, who co-incidentally had been decoding the L band signals in the Aero band from Inmarsat. Those signals did not contain location data as the ACARS style messages at L band are from the earth stations, up to the satellite and “down” to the aircraft.

Thinking back to the days when we monitored the Inmarsat analogue phone circuits we realised that to get both sides of the “conversation” we needed to monitor both L band [ 1.5 ghz ] …and C [3.5 ghz] band. With Jonti’s help we set about some trials.

Inmarsat uses 8m dishes to monitor the tracking signals, we only had 1.8m and 2.4m dishes, but with Jonti’s guidance we managed to get good signals with just 1.8m antenna.

Jonti identified the short bursts of data which looked like they were from the a/c and after some stirling work he produced a version of his software JAERO, which decoded the bursts. Sure enough, in the data down from the aircraft was information akin to that which is contained in ADS-B signals. Using that and satellite dishes in Europe, America and Australasia we can now locate aircraft from the US
eastern seaboard into Asia and across the Pacific, via five different satellites.”

PlanePlotter are in the middle of further tests and have recently rolled out a new version of their software which, for their satellite ground stations, will provide full information, from location, heading etc. to outside air temperature: in fact, everything you would expect from ADS-B data.

“For our sharers it will show the usual ADS-B style information and plot sat comms equipped Oceanic traffic in real-time. Whilst we are not seeing reports from aircraft on a 15 minute basis yet, presumably as more airlines comply the reports will become more regular,” says John.

“Over the next few weeks more of our satellite ground stations will come online providing real-time coverage for tracking enthusiasts. The Inmarsat data, combined with ACARS, live PiReps and ADS-B will provide seamless global tracking.”

PlanePlotter global coverage

PlanePlotter global coverage


Top image credit: Laurent Errera (Wiki)

All the articles about MH370 can be read here (scroll down).

 

Crazy video shows Delta Boeing 737 hit by lightning strike

A passenger has caught on video a direct lightning strike on a Delta Boeing 737 at Atlanta airport.

The video below is extremely interesting. Shot at Atlanta airport during a thunderstorm by Jack Perkins, a passenger of another plane, it shows a lightning strike hit a Delta Boeing 737 on the taxiway.

No one was hurt as a consequence of the lightning as the plane is shielded by Faraday Cage, that blocks out external static electrical fields: charges redistribute on the conducting material and don’t affect the cage’s interior.

In simple words: if hit by a lightning aircraft let the current pass through the fuselage until ground, preserving the systems’ integrity. Furthermore, all commercial and military aircraft have been designed to meet several safety lightning-related requirements needed to get the airworthiness certifications required.

Generally speaking, lightning strikes are rare and do not represent a real threat to military and civil planes, even though, in the 1980s, some F-16 Fighting Falcon jets were lost after being hit. In one case, the lightning ignited the vapors in the empty centerline tank, which exploded causing extended damage to the aircraft’s hydraulic system.

 

This video shows that weapons release from military planes can go horribly wrong

If you thought that just dropping an inert weapon during a test to validate a specific platform or procedure was an easy and safe task, you were wrong.

The following video shows a series of catastrophic incidents caused by a bomb release or tank jettison gone wrong.

Impressive.

Weapons separations involving new aircraft, pylons, tanks or ordnance are always filmed to evaluate and prevent incident like those shown in the video.

Weapons release gone wrong

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Scary video: This is the kind of landing you should be frightened of. Wingtip touches the runway during banked approach

On Jul. 18, 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Sky Airline, sustained heavy damage to the right hand wing in an accident that occurred at La Serena – La Florida airport, in Chile.

The aircraft, flying as SKU-101 from Antofagasta, banked right while on final approach prior to touchdown and the right hand wing tip hit the ground.

The pilot aborted the landing, performed a go around and decided to divert to Copiapó – Chamonate Airport (where it safely landed) after assessing the damages: the wing tip was deflected upwards and even the flap was damaged.

If you wonder what the aborted landing scene looked like from a SKU-101’s passenger seat, here is the answer:

According to the reports, the weather was fairly good. The visibility on the ground was deteriorating but the runway visual range at the time of the (missed) approach was 6,000 m.

Tight circuits involving “banked finals” are often flown by airlifters, tankers and military/government planes and bizjets for training purposes, but I’ve never seen a civil liner (besides those landing at Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong) on a scheduled service banking so much prior to touchdown, even if some may be “crabbed” to fly the final approach under crosswinds (meaning that a WCA, Wind Correction Angle, is applied by aligning nose and tail with the wind direction while the aircraft is following a different course).

Moreover, based on the few available details, it’s really difficult to understand the reasons for such a curved approach although it seems enough safe to say that the crew opted for the go around a bit too late.

On Mar. 1, 2008, a Lufthansa Airbus 320 approaching runway 23 at Hamburg under strong crosswinds was invested by a gust right before touchdown that raised the right wing leading to an unstable flare. The left wingtip slided along the runway causing a wingtip and slat damage.