Disappearing Aircraft 5204

I had fairly well concluded that the most likely cause was a fire disrupting the electrical and control systems, when CNN now say the sharp left turn was pre-programmed 12 minutes before sign off from Malaysian Air Traffic control, which was followed fairly quickly by that left turn.

CNN claim to have this from an US official, from data sent back before the reporting systems went off.  It is hard to know what to make of it: obviously there are large economic interests that much prefer blame to lie with the pilots rather than the aircraft.  But if it is true then the move was not a response to an emergency.  (CNN went on to say the pilot could have programmed in the course change as a contingency in case of an emergency.  That made no sense to me at all – does it to anyone else?)

I still find it extremely unlikely that the plane landed or crashed on land  I cannot believe it could evade military detection as it flew over a highly militarized region.  Somewhere there is debris on the ocean.  There have been previous pilot suicides that took the plane with them; but the long detour first seems very strange and I do not believe is precedented.  However if the CNN information on pre-programming is correct, and given it was the co-pilot who signed off to air traffic control, it is hard to look beyond the pilots as those responsible for whatever did happen.  In fact, on consideration, the most improbable thing is that information CNN are reporting from the US official.

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5,204 thoughts on “Disappearing Aircraft

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  • James

    Could be relevant ?

    ATSB Report


    Subsequent to the occurrence involving VH-EBF, similar windshield overheating events in other Airbus A330 and A320 aircraft were reported. The aircraft manufacturer’s technical examination of those windshields concluded that contact between the braided wires within the terminal block, as well as the unintended migration of the PR1829 sealant had probably combined to trigger the reported events.

    Safety action from the aircraft manufacturer included a program to identify and replace all windshields that had been produced using the PR1829 polysulfide sealant within the electrical connector terminal block assembly. That program was initiated in early 2010 and extended to the replacement of approximately 1,500 units within the world-wide Airbus fleet. The ATSB have been advised that due to limited fleet-wide completion of the windshield replacement program, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) is considering the implementation of an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that will require all European operators of applicable Airbus aircraft to comply with the Airbus windshield replacement program.

  • James

    And another in 2011 (the above was a JetStar operated aircraft in 2009)

    Incident: Qantas A332 enroute on Mar 23rd 2011, fire in cockpit

    By Simon Hradecky, created Monday, Sep 12th 2011 12:53Z, last updated Monday, Sep 12th 2011 12:53Z
    The ATSB have released their Bulletin reporting that the crew noticed a smell in the cockpit and cabin when the aircraft was enroute at FL390 about 365nm northwest of Cairns. The crew actioned the checklists for smoke/fumes/avionics in an attempt to minimise the smell, cabin crew confirmed the smell had reduced.

    Following the smell and some arcing from the left hand windshield hearter a small flames became visible from the bottom left corner of the captain’s windshield. The flight crew donned their oxygen masks and discharged the cockpit’s BCF fire extinguisher successfully putting the flame out. An ECAM message “A.ICE L WSHLD HEAT” followed prompting the crew to action the relevant checklist prompting the crew to press the reset button for the window heat computer. About 20 minutes later another ECAM message “L WINDOW HEAT” occurred, although the crew actioned the relevant checklist 4 more events of arcing and flames from the bottom left corner of the captain’s windshield occurred over the next 6 minutes, all of which were extinguished by the crew.

    The operator’s maintenance advised the probe window heat should be de-selected although this was no guarantee the heating would be de-powered. The crew therefore decided to divert to Cairns reporting technical issues and extinguished fires on board. The aircraft landed safely in Cairn about 50 minutes after the first smell.

    The operator had already assigned the windshield for replacement according to an Airbus Service Bulletin, that required replacement as soon as spares become available. Following the event the windshield and the number one window heat computer were replaced.

    The ATSB annotated that the windshield replacement program, released following five windshield heat connector overheat events, was well ahead of permitted time, completion within the operator’s fleet to be completed by September 2011 with the SB requiring replacement until March 2012.

  • James


    Windows – Fixed Windows / Windshield Heating Connectors –
    Inspection / Replacement

    (SB) A330-56-3009

    The below is dated 21 OCT 2013

    Several operators reported cases of burning smell and/or smoke in the cockpit
    during cruise phase leading in some cases to diversion. Findings have shown
    that the cause of these events is the burning of the Saint-Gobain Sully (SGS)
    windshield connector terminal block.
    This condition, if not corrected, could significantly increase the flight crew
    workload which would, under some flight phases and/or circumstances
    constitute an unsafe condition.
    To address this unsafe condition, Airbus published 3 different Service Bulletins
    (SB) and EASA issued AD 2011-0242 (later corrected) which required the
    identification of the installed windshields and replacement of the affected part.
    Since issuance of that AD, a new occurrence in service led Airbus to identify a
    new batch of affected parts.
    For the reasons described above, this AD retains the requirements of EASA AD
    2011-0242, which is superseded, and requires identification and replacement of
    the additionally identified windshields.

  • James

    So that’s “two” A320’s “on fire” at “cruise altitude”….. one in 2009 and one in 2011.
    With others (5) noted as “having had issues”.

    Had the Egypt Air aircraft had it’s windscreen inspected/replaced ?

        • michael norton

          Four FRENCH police officers were killed in a helicopter crash in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

          MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Four police officers were killed in a helicopter crash in the Hautes-Pyrénées, a department in southwestern France, the country’s Interior Ministry announced.

          “Bernard Cazeneuve, the minister of Interior has learned with infinite sadness of the death this morning in the Hautes-Pyrénées of four servicemen of the National Gendarmerie,” the ministry said in a Friday press release.

          The cause of the crash remains unknown.

          “While participating in an exercise in the massif of Vignemale, the helicopter in which they [officers] were travelling crashed in circumstances that remain to be established,” the interior ministry said.

          According to local authorities, the wreckage of the helicopter has been found and a crisis unit has been activated in connection with the crash.

          FRENCH President Francois Hollande has expressed condolences to the families of the victims.


  • James

    My bad !

    They’re A330’s
    But the directive seems to cover the Airbus product A330 and A320.
    Apparently it’s the sealant used ( PR1829 ).

  • James

    “Subsequent to the occurrence involving VH-EBF, similar windshield overheating events in other Airbus A330 and A320 aircraft were reported”.

    Most certainly “cross fleet” checks required.

  • Pink

    Jame’s if you think this is something pertaining to the crash you should take it over to pprune or Jeff Wise or somewhere that can check it out, Q might have some feedback I wouldn’t have a clue .

  • James


    Pprune’s won’t be interested.
    It’s a pretty bizarre place. There aim is almost to “protect” the airline industry. They have an agenda.
    My post was removed.
    It was later posted by another. His was also later deleted.

    These are “official” directives.
    And they refer to 5 other (minor) incidents.
    Plus 19 other aircraft in the Airbus offering were “picked up”.

    The thing is, both Egypt and France point to “terrorism”.
    And yet both have a “vested interest” in it being “a bomb onboard”.

    A “bomb” on a “pressurised aircraft” would have a devastating effect, even though it may be “small”.
    The fact that “it ruptures” means the “pressurisation” does the job for you. It would simply tear it apart.
    This aircraft “flew on”. In fact it manoeuvred

    If it was “a fire ignited by electrical an fault”, then it has happened it has happened “very fast”. And that’s odd.
    Even with “smoke and fumes” a call (radio) could be made.

    I have one instance were by there was a “potential” “fire onboard”.
    It scares you…but you do have “time”.
    You smell it (in my case) first. Then “alarms” go off (as in lights and a chime).
    Contrary to popular belief…. you DO NOT reset the circuit breakers (some pilot do this and it’s wrong). If you have a problem and alarms, resetting the CB’s has just made the whole thing worse. It has “popped” and it has popped for a reason. By “reconnecting” (attempting to) the circuit, will/could cause major problems.

    Planes don’t just “fall out of the sky”…. but they do, if they have a problem. A “bomb” isn’t the only problem you have onboard. You have a “huge amount” of “electrics”.

    MS804 may have released it had “a problem”.
    It may have tried to solve this problem.
    It may have “made a call” stating it has a problem.
    Then…and only then, it may have “tried” to “get down” and “out of the way” of other traffic.

    If that is the “sequence” of events, then it is “highly likely” there was a “fire onboard”.
    Probably detected by “smoke and fumes” and by the sensors.

    There is no “fire suppression” in the avionics compartment (for obvious reasons), if you have a “runaway fire” in that area, you are pretty much “to yourself”. And you will lose systems.
    The “fault” previously described, can give rise to a “runaway fire”. In one of the cases, it had to be extinguished twice.

    But…. it was detected and extinguished. The aircraft landed safely.
    Say the fire did “alot of damage” before it was “put out”. Say it couldn’t be “put out”. What then ?

    Hopefully a speedy, honest and open investigation. Hopefully “the truth”. Hopefully.

    RIP the passengers and crew involved.
    Thoughts and prayers to the loved ones effected.
    If this was avoidable, it is beyond tragic.

    • michael norton

      Where are these engines actually manufactured?

      V2527-A5 110.31 24,800 4.8 : 1 32.8 : 1 1.613 3.2 2,359 1993 Airbus A319-133, A320-232, A320-233

      • michael norton

        Pilot of doomed MS804 jet spoke with Egyptian air traffic controllers ‘for several minutes about smoke in cabin before crash’ – despite official claim that there was no distress call

        The Daily Mail

  • R Wright

    What about the windshield connector over-heating and fire-source problem (WHC = Window Heating Computer)? Far too many windscreen-connector in-flight cockpit fires have occurred. MH370 and the current EgyptAir 804 may have suffered this fate. In 2009, following the in-flight fire on an Airbus 330-202, the Australian Safety Authority ATSB, after extensive investigation, advised excellent action to mitigate this fundamental A320 and A330 manufacturing problem, and advised the European agencies; eg: CASA, BEA, EASA, etc. The overheated windshield connectors is a long-running saga predating 2009 by many years. Its very questionable whether remedial work has been carried out on all affected planes and there is question on the authenticity, and originality, of the parts being used. Isn’t it time for all A320 and 330s to be recalled for windshield connector inspection and where defective pending effective replacement. The industry needs a shake up.

  • James

    24 May 2016

    Now THIS is what you’re dealing with !


    An Egyptian forensic official says human remains from the crashed EgyptAir flight indicate there had been an explosion on board.
    The official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue.
    He said all 80 pieces brought to Cairo so far are small and that “there isn’t even a whole body part, like an arm or a head”.
    The official added that “the logical explanation is that it was an explosion” but no traces of explosives have been found yet.

    End quote…..

    Spot the problem ?

    The “expert” says, “it looks like there was an explosion onboard”.
    Then states “…but NO traces of explosives have been found yet”.

    Has “terrorism” become the Number One “get out of jail free card” these days ?
    The Twin Towers fell down….terrorism did it
    Build 7 fell over….terrorism did it
    Plane crash….terrorism did it
    Accidentally bumped my car in the supermarket car park….terrorism did it
    Forgot to turn the iron off before going out….terrorism did it
    It rained last night…..terrorism did it

    RIP The Investigation, if this guy represents “The Experts”.

    Find the aircraft, look, analyse the debris, prepare the evidence, make a conclusion.
    Seems like we’ve skipped a few parts of the recognised process again…
    …..and have gone for “terrorism did it” again !

  • James


    Sitting on the tarmac, on a hot day, you COULD “over heat” your windscreen.
    There is a process to “reset” the system.
    On the ground, there is “low power” used. Up at cruise, there “more power” used.
    It’s automatic.

    In previous incidents, there has been alarms, alerts and even (I suspect) CB’s blown, but it appears “power” still was sent through the system (there has been a re ignition in one case and in an other several “burnt out” parts were found).

    So…in short (and I’m not sure), I’d say “No, the system is fully automatic in-flight”.

  • James

    Now the “media” is reporting other media !

    French media say “the plane COULD have spoken to Ciaro”.
    All other media report “the French media say the plane DID speak to Ciaro”.

    This is now becoming “bullshit on bullshit”.

    And meanwhile the Egyptians and French continue to run the investigation… into a French built aircraft owned by the state owned airline of Egypt.

    Okay ….it was a bomb. Box ticked. Move on !

    RIP The Investigation !

    • michael norton

      They know within a Hundred K square where the Egyptair Airbus crashed
      so how come they can’t “hear” the black boxes
      or is this going to be another never ending mysterious disappearance?

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