May 23, 2016

Would you prefer that the plane that dropped out of the sky not be terrorism?

Headline at The Daily Beast: "Egypt Prays: Please Don’t Be Terror Again."

Bad as terrorism is, I would prefer to know that planes, on their own, don't just drop out of the sky.

65 comments:

MayBee said...

I've got to believe they think this and MH 370 were terrorism or pilot action, because they done nothing to stop that Airbus from flying.

David Begley said...

Our experience and common sense tells us The Religion of Peace is behind this.

If it is not the eternal Sunni-Shia war, then it is the War on the West.

Tommy Duncan said...

From the article: "In a diverse nation of nearly 90 million..."

Is "diversity" a mandatory element of every news story?

damikesc said...

When people ask "Why aren't (enter religion name here) followers viewed as negatively as Muslims"?, remember --- NOBODY thinks any faith but Islam did this.

Literally nobody.

MisterBuddwing said...

It's beginning to sound like, for whatever reason, the Airbus caught fire -shades of the ValuJet disaster from 20 years ago.

As for jetliners falling from the sky, I think of the case of Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the ocean because of a confluence of factors, including turbulence, misleading cockpit readings, a crew that didn't know how to communicate with each other and a junior co-pilot who apparently didn't know what he was doing:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a3115/what-really-happened-aboard-air-france-447-6611877/

rhhardin said...

Non-terrorism is more interesting. A study in what can go wrong in a system designed not to go wrong.

Terrorism is the same sort of thing but in a system that's certain to fail and so not interesting.

Original Mike said...

"Egypt Prays: Please Don’t Be Terror Again."

Instead of praying, maybe they should be doing something about it.

knox said...

"Would you prefer that the plane that dropped out of the sky not be terrorism?"

If you're Egypt, hell yes.

n.n said...

Yes, the cause of mechanical failures, electrical failures, human errors, environmental changes, etc. can often be determined and mitigated to reduce risk of recurring catastrophic failure. Planes do not just drop out of the sky, but humans can behave unpredictably and with malice aforethought.

PB said...

It didn't "drop" from the sky. It looks like they were taking evasive maneuvers to throw unbuckled people in the passenger cabin off their feet or there was a struggle in the cockpit followed by an explosion/cabin breach. A rapid 90 degree turn one direction and then a rapid 360 turn in the other direction. A plane doesn't do that in level flight, it banks, fairly sharply and descends as it turns. Given the lack of an emergency declaration, I'm betting on the latter. That would explain the lack of emergency call.

tim in vermont said...

I think they meant Democrats pray it wasn't terrorism unless it can be pinned on the American right.

rhhardin said...

I haven't heard any more than the radar report, but the initial turn might have been from mechanical damage, and the opposite turn the result of an uncontrolled attempt to recover from it.

rhhardin said...

If you wanted to shake passengers up, a turn isn't how you'd do it.

n.n said...

Tommy Duncan:

More than one person is diverse. Their concept of diversity is actually class diversity (e.g. racism, sexism, etc.). The combined usage of diversity and identifying more than one person is either redundant reporting or an expression of the author's latent prejudice. They really should qualify its intended meaning.

tim in vermont said...

Reports of fire warnings are not inconsistent with an explosion, and if it was a fire, it occurred in a critical unlocked from outside the plane electronic bay in an airport that just fired hundreds of employees for ties to terror groups.

David Begley said...

Original Mike:

"Pray as if everything depended upon God. Work as if everything depending upon you." St. Ignatius Loyola.

Hagar said...

Airbus planes are all "fly by wire," so just a very small explosion in the computer system would make it uncontrollable, and there would not be a thing the pilots could do about it.

lgv said...

Having to talked to people more knowledgeable than myself, planes don't fall from the sky. In a country with one of the worst records, Indonesia, the bottom line was mostly pilot error. This is the answer airlines don't like. The would prefer it a plane design problem. Even with poor maintenance, planes tend to perform amazingly well. Just a couple of years ago we flew a Convair 580 still in commercial service.

If this were a Burundi airlines, then the odds of mechanical failure vs. terrorism are much higher. Egypt Air, A320, and experienced pilots reduces likelihood of mechanical failure. The only problem is that no one has yet claimed responsibilities.

I going with lithium ion batteries in checked luggage.

Lucien said...

Yes. I prefer it not to be terrorism. Because either way, the chances of my being injured while flying in a commercial airliner are vanishingly small, but if some airplane goes down due to terrorism anywhere in the world, the chance of a bunch of idiots telling me I have to take my shoes of to go through security -- and other nonsense -- is quite substantial.

Also, when an airplane goes down for non-terrorist reasons, there is a chance that the resulting investigation will make flying even safer than it already is.

Original Mike said...

@David Begley: I was going to add to my original comment that "praying isn't something". I certainly agree with the second half of Saint Ignatius' prescription.

campy said...

"More than one person is diverse."

Not if they're white males. A group of 1000 white males exhibits no diversity whatsoever.

rhhardin said...

There was an interesting crash in NW New York a few years ago that I'm convinced was the result of a FAA video about recovery from a tailplane stall, that the pilot had in mind when that wasn't the problem at all.

Recovery from a normal stall, which every pilot knows and learns by rote, is the opposite of a tailplane stall, a newly discovered problem that no pilot is trained in. So the pilot did the latter when the former was the problem, having seen the video.

Hagar said...

We only know what we are told, but I saw an early clip that said that the "fly by wire" system would not have allowed the pilots to perform the gyrations seen on radar, if it was in operation.

tim in vermont said...

If it was a fire, would they declare an emergency?

rhhardin said...

I notice now, several years later, the recommendation is not training pilots in tailplane stall recovery in aircraft not susceptible to it, and putting in all sorts of warnings that a main wing stall is much more likely to be the problem than a tailplane stall.

google.

Apparently a silent lesson was learned.

EDH said...

Bad as terrorism is, I would prefer to know that planes, on their own, don't just drop out of the sky.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, "the thing speaks for itself," which reverses the burden of proof to the defendant, is applied to airline crashes because airplanes are presumed not to just drop out of he sky absent some form of negligence.

I always wondered whether TWA was behind the stories of a missile striking TWA 800 outside NYC because that intervening factor would get them out from under the presumption of negligence under res ipsa. Unlike a bomb onboard, which could be attributable to negligence on the part of the airline, a guided missile really would be outside their control and be a true superseding cause.

rhhardin said...

Airbus gives the pilots more and more control the more hopeless the situation is.

EDH said...

Hagar said...
[European] Airbus planes are all "fly by wire," so just a very small explosion in the computer system would make it uncontrollable, and there would not be a thing the pilots could do about it.

See also, European "immigration by wire," which also becomes uncontrollable after a very small explosion.

coupe said...

The modern airliner is as safe as their battery bank.

Alas, these battery banks are known to catch on fire, and being an electric jet, no power means the plane stops flying.

Statistically, this is a rare occurrence, but when it does happen, your chances of survival are zero.

It's only a 5 mile drop, so death is considered painless.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

Just in case it wasn't, I'm going to make sure my next several flights are on Boeing airplanes.

Sammy Finkelman said...

This is an interesting question. It maybe depends where the plane is and whose plane it is. In some ways, non-terrorist causes are easier to prevent.

I tend to think it was sabotage, but not a traditional bomb. It might have been an accident caused by some other violation of law, where the intention was maybe to smuggle something.

The solution to this crash may explain Malaysia Airlines 370. It looks a little similar, except that the Malaysia Airlines flight never crashed but ran out of fuel. Has anyone else noted the similarites? Loss of control, loss of rasio and other contact, erratic flying. They are different model planes, which may indicate something was positioned in just the right place in the airplane.


It bears a lor

Sammy Finkelman said...

What makes it look like terrorism also is that the plane flew of Brussels: European headquarters for terrorism. Maybe the organization was not completely smashed. Maybe there was a criminal motive.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I;m sure that if this was terrorism, or crime, a method was used of bringing down a plane that's not being looked for.

Also, is there any way an exploding lithium ion battery could have started this?

Sammy Finkelman said...

David Begley said...

Our experience and common sense tells us The Religion of Peace is behind this.

Actually, if sabotage, I would suspect Vladimir Putin, both here and in Malaysia (there are Russian connections in both places) with the goal being for us to fear terrorism, and not have the crash solved in any way.


Comanche Voter said...

If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going. But then I'm probably repeating myself. Boeing airplanes do crash (on rare occasions) but they don't have this series of inexplicable or unusual crashes in their history. And the real truth is that passengers in the cabin are just along for the (fatal) ride when an Airbus fails.

buwaya puti said...

A great deal rides on this for Egypt. Terrorism has a huge effect on tourism. Terrorist attacks have ruined it in several countries already, at least for a period of years.
Bali, Tunisia, the Philippines, and largest of all I think Egypt. An accident is an accident, it could have happened on a flight to Amsterdam just as easily.

buwaya puti said...

Aren't the passengers just along for the ride when any aircraft fails?

rhhardin said...

In this case, the crew allowed their plane to slow to stall speed and were too close to the ground to recover.

Anyone who has picked-up a load of ice knows you need more airspeed, not less. The stall speed goes way up with even just a 1/4 inch of ice on the wings.

Basically, the pilot committed suicide by his inexperience (he never flew in ice before). The people in back were just along for the ride (as was the co-pilot, as she had very low flying hours and was just starting her career).


No matter how inexperienced the pilot, he'd never raise the nose to recover from a stall.

Unless he'd just seen a NASA video instructing him about the dangers of tailplane ice and the reversed recovery from it. Raise the nose and reduce power. Exactly the wrong thing for the situation he was in, and well trained to recover from, but for that bit of bad advice.

So now that bad advice comes with a warnnig that maybe it's a good idea to ignore the advice because most likely you're in the situation they trained you for right from the beginning, not the esoteric one we've just discovered.

Char Char Binks said...

Airplanes crash enough without someone MAKING them crash, so I'm AGAINST terrorism.

tim in vermont said...

Brussels to Paris to Cairo says terrorism unless proven otherwise.

Big Mike said...

The way a former Navy aviator explained it to me was that Boeing puts electronics in the cockpit to supplement the pilot, but in a Boeing aircraft the pilot flies the plane. In his view Airbus puts pilots in the cockpit to supplement the computers, but the computers fly the plane. So while the EgyptAir 804 disaster probably was due to terrorism, based on what we know right this minute, there is a tiny chance that something went wrong with the computers and the pilots were too slow to cope.

rhhardin said...

The planes I flew had no electronics except for the magnetos. They flew themselves in cruise except you had to stay on the rudder. Mostly the type never falls out of the sky.

The Drill SGT said...

knox said...
"Would you prefer that the plane that dropped out of the sky not be terrorism?"


Different theories from different agenda's.

The Frogs want it to be pilot error or terrorism. They want their plane, and I expect their maintenance in Paris of the Airbus to be innocent

The Muslims want it to be a design issue or a Paris security issue. Blame the Frogs. They live or die on tourism and this one is hurting...

PS: The Airbus FBW system assumes that it has all the answers and can overrule the pilots. That is until it gets to an "out of envelope" event that the designers did not expect. Then the FBW autopilot disengages and dumps the mess in the pilot's lap...



Curious George said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRJpRu2RsSs

n.n said...

Egypt prays: Please don't be social justice again.

I think their thankfully short-lived experience with Obama-backed terrorists and "Arab Spring" cleared any confusion people may have had about progressive institutions and motives.

Original Mike said...

"The Muslims want it to be a design issue or a Paris security issue. Blame the Frogs. They live or die on tourism and this one is hurting..."

Fuck 'em. Maybe, at some point, they might try and do something about it.

Sigivald said...

I would prefer to know that planes, on their own, don't just drop out of the sky.

But they do.

So you have to get used to knowing that.

If it helps, it's most usually dubious second or third-world airlines with bad maintenance records.

(And this leaves alone the issue of pilot error/suicide or a designed-in flaw, both of which happen.)

Quaestor said...

Complex machines do occasionally fail. Simple machines also fail. Sailing ships are mechanically simple, but complex and labor-intensive to manage. If all the sailing ships from the Bronze Age up to now are considered and all the sea miles sailed by crews and passengers, it would show that these relatively simple machines are far more likely to just disappear into the deep blue sea than the far more complex mechanisms called airplanes are likely to fall out of the sky.

Making planes more safe from falling out of the sky is a far easier task than making them safe from terrorism, particularly in a world where belief systems such as Islam are so widely tolerated. I know there are people who will try to refute me with the "Islam is a religion of peace" bleat. Nevertheless partisans of jihad can justify their actions from scripture, quoting chapter and verse as it were from the Quran and the Hadith, while their Muslim critics cannot.

traditionalguy said...

So far it sounds like a homemade thermite grenade placed over the electrical compartment. They are easy to make.

tim in vermont said...

Terrorism is like entropy that has gained consciousness, it's worse than rust that never sleeps, because at least you can deal with rust with scheduled maintenance.

poker1one said...

Two things: My daughter had a Pontiac, 2006 G6, that had a throttle by wire and electric power steering. Both failed but not at the same time. Bugged me no end.

Quick question: Why would any European fly to the Mid-East? I mean, really, what the...?

Observation/Quick question: How many muzzies are employed at the airports that plane visited?

walter said...

lgv said...The only problem is that no one has yet claimed responsibilities.
--
Yes. If your goal is Terrorism, why not take credit immediately? Even if you didn't cause it. But then, I don't understand why they don't more regularly engage in San Bernardino style attacks: Extremely random acts (even if relatively small in scale) in random locations against defenseless people would be easier and likely more effective.

The Drill SGT said...

Observation/Quick question: How many muzzies are employed at the airports that plane visited?

Lots at both ends

I suspect the Paris maintenance was done by Air France.

Most third world airlines have their Europe leg work done by Lufthansa or Air France. or BA

Quaestor said...

If your goal is Terrorism, why not take credit immediately?

One reason: Suppose ISIS has an agent in place at ORY or CDG able to plant explosive devices. If a bomb could be proved as the cause of the crash, or if ISIS boasted about it the existence of that agent would be strongly suspected. The loss of 66 souls saddens all persons of good will, but that degree of slaughter is paltry in comparison to the ambitions of the "caliphate". If a bomb was used, then the agent has proven his willingness and competence as a mass murderer. Therefore, would it not be more shrewd to keep silent and allow your agent to destroy a "juicier" target?

The Drill SGT said...

Quaestor said...
Therefore, would it not be more shrewd to keep silent and allow your agent to destroy a "juicier" target?


Professional Intel organizations are loath to disclose "sources and methods"

Michael K said...

"That is until it gets to an "out of envelope" event that the designers did not expect. Then the FBW autopilot disengages and dumps the mess in the pilot's lap..."

The Air France crash a few years ago was a FBW screwup because the airspeed pitot iced up.

Probably two to three minutes after this the airplane encountered icing conditions (the cockpit voice recorder recorded what sounded like hail or graupel on the outside of the airplane, and the engine anti-ice system came on) and ice crystals started to accumulate in the pitot tubes.[17] The pilots turned the aircraft slightly to the left and decreased its speed from Mach 0.82 to Mach 0.8 (the recommended "turbulence penetration speed")

Pilot error was also involved.

One consequence of the change to alternate law was an increase in the aircraft's sensitivity to roll, and the pilot's input over-corrected for the initial upset. During the next 30 seconds, the aircraft rolled alternately left and right as the pilot adjusted to the altered handling characteristics of his aircraft.[20] At the same time he made an abrupt nose-up input on the side-stick, an action that was unnecessary and excessive under the circumstances.[21] The aircraft's stall warning sounded briefly twice due to the angle of attack tolerance being exceeded, and the aircraft's recorded airspeed dropped sharply from 274 knots to 52 knots.

tim in vermont said...

If it was an assassination, there would be no reason to take credit and perhaps burn an asset

buwaya said...

"Quick question: Why would any European fly to the Mid-East? I mean, really, what the...? "

Now, not a great idea. Back then, a different matter. Thomas Cook started organizing Nile river cruises in 1869, this has been a big deal for that long.

Its a fascinating place in many ways, and I think I'm lucky to have seen some of it a very long time ago.

John said...

Blogger Big Mike said...

Just in case it wasn't, I'm going to make sure my next several flights are on Boeing airplanes.

He has not talked about it much in recent years but Adam Curry www.noagendashow.com used to have a theory on this. It was basically that Airbus and Boeing crashes alternated. He had a number of crash records supporting this.

So if this theory holds, you should avoid Boeing on your next flights and stick to Airbus.

On the one hand, Adam is an aviator so that gives him some standing. On the other hand, he loves a good conspiracy theory so he may be all wet here. He is always entertaining though.

John Henry

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Snively said...

Gentle reminder: airplanes absolutely do just fall out of the sky. In fact, that is their normal mode of operation. What's deeply, profoundly weird is that they don't just fall out of the sky under a very small range of completely artificial conditions, involving the largely automated operation of a variety of complex machinery, all with an eye toward maintaining the efficacy of one basic physical principle: Bernoulli's Principle, without which heavier-than-air flight actually would be impossible, and which governs the ideal shape of an airplane wing.

We take this modern miracle so much for granted that we immediately assume a plane crash must be due to active ill intent rather than aircraft failure or crew error. But all other prior probabilities being equal (i.e. knowing nothing more than that a plane has crashed), it's entirely reasonable to think "probably human error" first, then "probably a tragic failure in the plane" second. However, those probabilities immediately pale when you have prior information like "the plane was flying from France to Egypt in 2016," and a bunch of salient facts and probabilities related to that observation.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Paul Snively said...

"Gentle reminder: airplanes absolutely do just fall out of the sky. In fact, that is their normal mode of operation. What's deeply, profoundly weird is that they don't just fall out of the sky under a very small range of completely artificial conditions, involving the largely automated operation of a variety of complex machinery, all with an eye toward maintaining the efficacy of one basic physical principle: Bernoulli's Principle, without which heavier-than-air flight actually would be impossible, and which governs the ideal shape of an airplane wing."

It's probably not Bernouilli's principle, but it is a similar idea. An airplane creates a little tprnado around itself which keeps it in the air. If it slows down too much, the tornado dissipates, and it falls. This is called a stall. Most airplanes are sort of like tachyons - they can't go below a ceratain speed.

In very winsy (and unstable) air conditions, they can crash. zlso icing, even a little bot of ice on the wings, affects the air flow patterns.

Airplanes cannot fly too close to each other, either.

Now I am notr sure how this applies to helicopters. Most helicopters actually can fall somewhat gently - but if they tip over near the ground...no good.


Sammy Finkelman said...

* In very windy (and unstable) air conditions, they can crash. Also icing, even a little bit of ice on the wings, affects the air flow patterns.

(Most changesa are bad. The wright Brotehrs had a lot of trouble, and they couldn't figure out what worked by calculations - they had to experiment in "wind tunnels"

To this day, a lot of knowledge of what keeps an airplane in the air is a trade secret held by Boeing.

But anyway, here, something did have to disable the airplane, probably its controls.

Sammy Finkelman said...

traditionalguy said...5/23/16, 1:05 PM

So far it sounds like a homemade thermite grenade placed over the electrical compartment. They are easy to make.

But who could position it there, and also set up a timing device, or maybe GPS, and also know where to put it?

Probably not the usual suspects.