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Air Astana serious control problems, request ditching, land safely

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  • Air Astana serious control problems, request ditching, land safely

    Air Astana flight 1388 was a ferry flight returning to home base from Lisbon after weeks of maintenance work in Lisbon.

    Pilots called MAYDAY shortly after take-off, declaring that the plane was totally uncontrollable.

    They kept requesting vectors to the ocean for a ditching (preferably in some zone with better weather), ATC kept providing vectors, but they were unable to to keep a straight heading (or altitude, or speed). This lasted several minuted with the plane all over the sky around Lisbon.

    Portugal dispatched F-16s to assist, eventually they could regain control and landed safely in the Beja military base.

    The VASAviation video (ATC audio and Flightradar24 tracking) is hart-stopping.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIc8Rr-cKd8

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/f...1388/#1e84fc24

    Look at that alt and speed plot.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

  • #2
    The landing looks uneventful

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JiaQ-DShsk

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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    • #3
      Jesus H! These maintenance face-palms seem to come in threes as well.

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      • #4
        2nd part of the VASAviation coverage (ATC + tracking)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evYLkhxoP3U

        Plus, the landing was not as uneventful. Nothing serious but obviously they had problems to control heading in the air. They went a bit off the side of the runway.
        https://www.facebook.com/diariodoale...ric&__tn__=R-R

        Rumor has it that they broke some RWY edge lights. Rumor also has it that the aileron controls were assembled backwards.

        --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
        --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
          2nd part of the VASAviation coverage (ATC + tracking)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evYLkhxoP3U

          Plus, the landing was not as uneventful. Nothing serious but obviously they had problems to control heading in the air. They went a bit off the side of the runway.
          https://www.facebook.com/diariodoale...ric&__tn__=R-R

          Rumor has it that they broke some RWY edge lights. Rumor also has it that the aileron controls were assembled backwards.
          It appears to be done with minimal flaps and no ground spoilers, but the reversers deploy so it might not be a hydraulics issue.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
            Rumor also has it that the aileron controls were assembled backwards.
            Can't say I've ever heard much of folks SURVIVING backwards-rigged ailerons...Is that because we "only" focus on crashes and "never" on success, or is it because folks almost always crash.
            Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 3WE View Post
              Can't say I've ever heard much of folks SURVIVING backwards-rigged ailerons...Is that because we "only" focus on crashes and "never" on success, or is it because folks almost always crash.
              Folks almost always crash immediately after take-off wondering "what is it doing now". The airplane lifts off and the fist small perturbation (say to the right) results in the pilot applying left aileron but the plane banks further right (it must be a gust, right) which results in more left aileron which makes the plane bank further right and in a matter of very few seconds the right wing contacts the ground.
              There is literally no time to investigate and find out what's wrong, and "fly the plane first" is in this case the worst advice.

              That's the reason why it is hard for me to believe that this was a problem of aileron misrigging, or the 2 reasons.
              - They survived too much, and
              - They did not realize what was going on after many minutes.

              The 2 situations are almost incompatible. If you survive is because you realize.

              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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              • #8
                OK, can someone explain what a backwards-rigged aileron is? How is that possible?

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                • #9
                  Means that you turn the control wheel right and the plane banks left.

                  I don't know the details of the control systems of the E-190, but it seems that it is a hybrid philosophy where some controls are FBW (Fly-By-Wire) and others are not.
                  The ailerons are not FBW. Instead, they use a traditional mechanism of levers, crankbells, pulleys and cables directly connected to the control column (although it is not clear for me if these cables are directly mechanically connected to the ailerons or to hydraulic servo valves that in turn command hydraulic actuators that move the ailerons, but the effect is the same). Route/connect the cables wrongly and voilá! (and it would not be the first time that such a mistake is done)

                  --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                  --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                  • #10
                    Wow!!!

                    After Simon saying that AvHerald would not be covering this case because it was not a revenue flight and was hence out of the scope plus health issues and excessive workload did not permit to cover out-of-scope events at the moment, Simon went on and published a top-notch article. I could not resist the temptation to make a small donation the the site.

                    Bottom line: reverse aileron 100% confirmed. There are FDR plots that show right aileron movements producing left banks and also a picture taken from the cockpit that shows the yoke turned fully to the right and the synoptic page showing full right roll spoilers but full left ailerons.

                    It also has a lot of information and a very complete analysis.
                    An interesting fact: They missed the intended RWY (apparently they could not correct the drift) and landed in a smaller and much narrower parallel one.

                    Article worth reading and man worth some recognition. We don't have this quality of reporting of aviation incidents anywhere else in the public media.
                    My hat goes off to Simon (and my donation too).

                    https://forums.jetphotos.com/showthr...638#post673638

                    (Note: No, I am not related with Simon or The Aviation Herald in any way other than as a very satisfied reader, this is not an advertisement, it is a fair and unbiased 5 stars user review)

                    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                    • #11
                      All of the above said, I still don't understand how:

                      1- They are not all dead after crashing immediately after take-off, AND AT THE SAME TIME...
                      2- Given 1), that it took them so long to figure it out and control the plane. They were basically all over the sky unable to control bank, heading, airspeed and altitude (and Gs!!!!) for how long? Like 20 minutes?

                      As I mentioned before, I don't understand how 1 and 2 can be simultaneously true. They seem so incompatible.

                      However they did, big kudos to the crew, big kudos to ATC, and big kudos to the F=16 pilots.

                      (by the way, the airplane and persons were exposed to high Gs, let's see what "high Gs" mean, this airplane may be a write-off)

                      --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                      --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                        All of the above said, I still don't understand how:

                        1- They are not all dead after crashing immediately after take-off, AND AT THE SAME TIME...
                        2- Given 1), that it took them so long to figure it out and control the plane. They were basically all over the sky unable to control bank, heading, airspeed and altitude (and Gs!!!!) for how long? Like 20 minutes?

                        As I mentioned before, I don't understand how 1 and 2 can be simultaneously true. They seem so incompatible.

                        However they did, big kudos to the crew, big kudos to ATC, and big kudos to the F=16 pilots.

                        (by the way, the airplane and persons were exposed to high Gs, let's see what "high Gs" mean, this airplane may be a write-off)
                        This aircraft, like the 737MAX, is built around a blend of the old the new, and it is often this blend of the two that leads to complete confusion when something goes wrong. Perhaps the blend of misrigged ailerons and properly functioning roll spoilers is what saved them, but it is also what probably made the situation so hard to identify.

                        (Again, it appears that the spoilers were deactivated (or not armed) on landing. Perhaps this is how they finally regained enough control to land.)

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                        • #13
                          After congratulating these crew members for this amazing feat, giving them medals, raising statues and giving them a high monetary bonus, let's fire them for not catching such an important basic and obvious thing in the pre-flight checks, especially after the plane had undergone major maintenance. The synoptic page that should be used during the control checks is very obvious. I may even understand someone missing a fully inverted system (where all the controls go right when you turn the wheel left), but the spoilers going up and the ailerons down on the same wing should have raised all kind of red flags even if peeked with the peripheral vision.

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Synoptic Page (Photo: GPIAA, retrieved from The Aviation Herald)

                          --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                          --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                          • #14
                            Wow, it happened to an A320 too. These very rare occasions where having 2 independent flightsticks can be a good thing.

                            https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...a-a320-130318/

                            --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                            --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                            • #15
                              Gabe,

                              You said you didn't understand how when they 'knew' the aileron was 'backwards' it still went all over the sky for so long...

                              try this, yes the 'impact' on a bike is more immediate, but this dude knew the controls were 'backwards'

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzD...ature=youtu.be

                              Vaz

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