--- 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 ---
If smoke were present, you would expect the pilot to initiate an emergency descent and turn off the airway. If the fire propagated (as in Swissair Flt 111) you could expect the crew to eventually lose flight control.
Another thing to ponder: When avionics smoke is detected, the SMOKE light comes on on the EMER ELEC PWR panel on the overhead. This is actually a button to take GEN 1 offline and set the emergency electrical configuraion. In EMER ELEC CONFIGURATION, you lose (among a lot of other things) SEC 2 + 3, FCU 2, window anti-ice and SATCOM. Although this seems like less of a fit than a #2 DC bus fault.
The lack of claims of responsibility by any terror group and these ACARS messages are making me skeptical of a bomb or attack theory. This may turn out to be something quite different.
If the leaked ACARS messages are from the very beginning of the main problem I think there was a very strong fire / highly heated airflow in front of the right pilot's seat and those ACARS messages in fact indicate window overheating that cannot be controlled (e.g. cooled) by the window heating computers. The smoke of this disaster was sensed after a minute by front lavatory smoke detector and seconds later by sensors in the avionics compartment. Right now I cannot think of airplane's equipment in that area that can produce such fire/heating/dissipated energy for the given time frame even if supported by 100% oxygen from the masks.
Embarassingly bad reporting by the New York TImes:
At 2:26 a.m., a message indicated that both the right fixed cockpit window and the right sliding cockpit window had a sensor fault.At 2:26 a.m., a message indicated that the right cockpit window had been opened.
The last message had to do with the spoiler elevator controller, which essentially controls the flaps responsible for pitch and roll control. The computer controlling these failed as well.
The last message had to do with the spoiler elevator computer, one of three fully redundant computers that control some of the flight surfaces responsible for roll control and provides a back-up for pitch. One of these computers failed as well.
Has the cargo manifest been released?
This is a failure of the window heat sensors. It has nothing to do with OPENING THE WINDOW!
I'm almost completely convinced now that the R ANTI ICE and R WINDOW SENSOR faults are due a fault (or partial fault) of the DC2 bus and have nothing to do with the windows themselves.
An avionics electrical fire would explain that. Every fault on the ACARS list involves the DC 2 bus.
This may or of course may not be relevant, but I was recently reading the NTSB report on ValuJet 592 and it contains a lot of discussion about ways of dealing with smoke in the cabin and cockpit. One of the points they make is that Douglas had done studies on the DC-9 (and yes I know the a/c in this accident was not a DC-9) and found opening a cockpit window (after depressurizing the aircraft) to be an effective way of clearing smoke in the cockpit (http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/A...ts/AAR9706.pdf, page 50 and others).
Be alert! America needs more lerts.
Reports are saying the smoke alarms went off for about 3 minutes before the point of impact (or point of possible break up of the structure, just throwing that in there to cover every possibility). In the forward cabin toilet as has been mentioned I think.
Now that doesn't really necessarily mean the fire lasted 3 minutes but rather could have started much earlier and spread until it was eventually detected by that toilet sensor. To the point it was pretty much too late to do anything about at least in a sense that the plane could divert to Crete or another Greek island, or Turkey before it was rendered inoperable to fly. Or could the fire really have only lasted 3 minutes and done so much damage in such little time? Because obviously once it was detected action was taken to descend it seems.
I would think they would have smoke detectors/sensors in reasonable places that a fire commonly occurs, but just how many of them are there and exactly where are they on the A320. The lavatory is one of the common places for a fire so it makes sense there would be one there.
I am very tired, so I hope I make sense. And I am glad this seems to not be terrorism for once.
Oz media now citing an ATSB report from 2009 that showed concerns of the window sensor detector unit overheating in 12 Airbuses.
If the DC2 BUS did die because of this would all radios be disabled? I'm just thinking that if I were PNF I'd be getting a message out about smoke in the plane?
The problem with these detectors is that even when they do 'go off', ACARS isn't informed and ground/investigators don't know about itThe main cabin and cockpit are covered by the human smoke detectors.