Deal? $39 Billion? | Main | Overnight Thread-All Work and No Pay? Edition [CDR M]
April 08, 2011

So How Well Does An Airbus A320 Handle When The Control System Fails? (tmi3rd)

Well, the crew of United 497 got to find out the hard way as they tried to leave Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans on Tuesday. The A320 was scheduled to head to San Francisco, but returned rather abruptly to New Orleans after the pilots reported smoke in the cockpit. They also subsequently lost their instruments in the aircraft (save for the magnetic compass and the attitude indicator), as well as their primary flight controls.

First of all, a little background on the A320, made by EADS/Airbus (a European conglomerate). They're roughly comparable in size to Boeing's 737, and unlike later models of Airbus aircraft, there is a mechanical/hydraulic set of flight controls as a backup.

What happened on Tuesday (as you can hear from the audio at the link) was a situation that could very easily have turned into a disaster. There were 106 people on board that plane, and the pilots reported 32,000 pounds of fuel on board as they were returning (enough to make a very pretty fireball). Instead, what you had was an eerie calm on the recording between the MSY tower (the code for New Orleans' major airfield) and UAL 497. Given the fact that you didn't hear about it on the news very much, the plane made it back to MSY and ultimately wound up in the grass adjacent to runway 19. There were no injuries.

So here's the link to the story at the New Orleans Times-Picayune... unfortunately, my blog-fu isn't good enough to figure out how to embed the audio. At the link, there's a graphic as well of the flight path and timeline, as well as a transcript.

It's amazing to hear how well these guys keep it together. I'd love to hear CDR M's take on this (as an aviator) or any of our resident pilots, particularly any with some time in the A320. I can't imagine that that plane handles all that well as a side-sticker with the flight computers down for the count. Also, it's hard to describe just how lonely a feeling it is when you need a radar steer to get home... and just how comforting it is to have a calm controller to talk to.

So, a hats-off to everyone involved in this. It's nice to have some good news for once.

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 10:08 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Skip : "Wonder if Krak is going to be on time. Let's see. ..."

sock_rat_eez, they are gaslighting us 24/365[/i][/b][/u][/s]: "In before 750 ? Is that A Thing now ? 'mor ..."

Skip : "I was working most Saturdays up to Memorial Day bu ..."

Eromero: "I whipped to the end of this and got in before 750 ..."

Skip : "Is still is not making sense ..."

Skip : "Yeah I did what I complain about, I read down the ..."

platypus, gg channel: "Skip, are you aware you blew out the margins for 4 ..."

m: "736 I'm back Posted by: Skip at June 23, 2018 05: ..."

Skip : "Well the link site is still uncommented ..."

Don_in_Odessa: " The headline question has been asked and ans ..."

Skip : "Last night I napped out watching Horatio Hornblowe ..."

Bruce: "Got to look through and see if anyone got it Post ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64