Saturday, May 21, 2016

EgyptAir: a fire on board just before the crash – Le Point

This is crucial information to understand what led to the crash of EgyptAir flight MS804. The Airbus A320 that crashed Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board sent automatic messages indicating smoke near the cockpit of the aircraft. The information was reported Friday by the American media. If Egypt has refused to confirm or deny the Saturday morning in Paris, the BEA, he has confirmed. So there was a fire on board. But the cause of it is unknown and can not be elucidated only through the black boxes. But if the thesis of the attack seemed privileged so far, that of the technical problem is not discarded nearby. For three days after the crash, no claim has occurred.

Seon messages sent by the device, “an intense smoke triggered alarms in the front part of the device, where situated vital parts of its interior electronics, “according to the Wall Street Journal , citing sources close to the investigation unidentified. “The error messages last about two minutes, alerting the crew about smoke detected in the toilet compartment and a” located under the floor of the airplane cockpit, according to the Wall Street Journal . “That compartment contains a crucial part of the flight control computer” of the device, according to the messages, began to “malfunction,” said the daily, noting that these indications “are not sufficient to determine whether the aircraft was a victim of a bomb or other causes unexplained “.

‘cabin smoke from”

“There were alerts on smoke aboard the flight MS804 EgyptAir in the minutes before it crashed in the Mediterranean, “said CNN his side, indicating have obtained this information from a screenshot provided by an Egyptian source. She said that these warnings were sent “via the ACARS system,” which allows the exchange of information between an aircraft in flight and the operational center of the airline. In Paris, the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), which has dispatched three investigators in Egypt, confirmed Saturday that there had been “ACARS messages sent by the plane indicating that there had smoke in the cabin shortly before the break data transmissions “

specifically, on a modern aircraft such as the A320, besides the black boxes, a third recorder. – QAR Quick Access recorder – captures data which can then help to manage the maintenance of the aircraft. Most companies that connect to QAR ACARS aircraft communications addressing and reporting system that automatically transmits by radio the data to the ground maintenance center. Thus, a known fault can be repaired more quickly during the stop. We remember that in the crash of the Rio-Paris ACARS messages had expressed icing of the Pitot probes before the fatal stall A330 of Air France. Since then, international authorities recommended airlines to generalize these automatic data communications when an anomaly appears to board the plane.

Questions still unanswered

The ACARS the MS804 has sent alerts “smoke detector”, issued he seems by sensors located in the front of the unit. In the absence of details, it can be the toilet, or the cockpit of this famous electronics bay which houses many flight systems. Similarly, we can not know at this stage if it is a technical failure or malicious act of activating a bomb. The BEA also added Saturday: “It is far too early to interpret and understand the causes of the accident until we have found no wreckage or flight recorders. “

READ also EgyptAir Crash: the black boxes, a decisive element

According to Philip Baum, an aviation specialist quoted by the BBC,” the machine’s instruments are extinct. ” “All this is beginning to show that it probably was not a diversion, there is probably no fight in the cockpit, it is probably a fire on board. Now, whether a fire technical origin, a short circuit or a bomb that exploded on board, we do not know, “he ruled. The bomb that exploded aboard the Russian charter October 31, 2015 had disintegrated instantly the plane, causing what experts had described as “explosive depressurisation” because of the high altitude of the flight at that time, about 11 kilometers, and leaving no chance to the driver to issue a distress message.

We do not know what time the signal was sent, this information is still hidden by EgyptAir. These alarms, which are necessarily appeared to pilots in the cockpit, have probably arisen after the last radio contact, 2 h 26 (Paris time), with the Greek control center whose plane was leaving the area. During this last contact, the crew seemed serene. The flight MS804 suddenly disappeared from radar screens while flying without apparent problem and clear skies, the eastern Mediterranean. The plane was carrying 66 people, including including 30 Egyptians and 15 French. Airline seats and suitcases were recovered Friday off the coast of Egypt.


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