VOCA

An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.

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777 in MB

777 in Melbourne:

The atsb report in part shows:

Summary

During the approach, the autopilot commanded a high rate of descent. The crew disconnected the autopilot and manually continued the approach.

The investigation is continuing.

 

Aircraft details

Aircraft manufacturer: Boeing
Aircraft model: 777-3ZGER
Aircraft registration: VH-VPH
Serial number: 37943
Operator: Virgin Aust. International
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity
Damage to aircraft: Nil
Departure point: Los Angeles, USA
Destination: Melbourne, Vic.

 

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The following report by Ben Sandilands is disturbing:

Virgin Australia 777 in sudden brief dive near Melbourne Airport

 

A Virgin Australia 777-300ER at LAX: Wikipedia Commons

The ATSB has somewhat tersely announced an investigation of an apparent autopilot failure in a Virgin Australia 777 ‘near’ Melbourne Airport last Thursday 15 August.

It says that “during the approach, the autopilot commanded a high rate of descent. The crew disconnected the autopilot and manually continued the approach.”

On the face of it, this was a matter of pilot vigilence paying off.  Airliners have been crashed by pilots that take too long to recognise automation failures or anomalies, and all credit to the Virgin Australia crew. They did what they are trained to do, which is to always be situationally aware of what is going on in an airliner, and to intervene when anything isn’t right, which is undoubtedly vital when close to the ground.

But for all its brevity, the ATSB says it will take until January next year to make its final report. This is a 361 seat Australian airliner of a type widely used world wide.  The ATSB is required to post a preliminary report no later than 15 September.

It should by then have cleared up what components in the 777′s systems caused this failure, and determined if other factors might have been in play.

That is what the world expects of a safety investigator.

An important issue for an incoming responsible minister after the 7 September election is not just correcting the appalling management of the ATSB as abundantly documented by the Senate committee inquiry into the ATSB’s disgraceful and flawed report into the Pel-Air crash, but its resourcing.