Tarom Airbus: automatic mode switch escaped the commandant's notice

From:         Francis.Jambon@imag.fr (Francis JAMBON)
Date:         21 Oct 94 13:47:47 
Organization: LGI-IMAG, Grenoble, France
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This is a shortened translation of an article published in Le Monde, date
16-17/10/94, p. 9.

Le Monde is considered by many as the major and most-respected french daily
newspaper. It always has very documented and accurate reports.

Thanks to Francis Jambon for help with the translation of technical terms.

In-flight stall of an A310 Airbus
An automatic mode switch escaped the commandant's notice

The investigation commission shed more light this friday on the incident
that involved an A310 of the Tarom airline on the 24th of september over
the Orly parisian airport. It appears that the aircraft which was in
"landing approach" mode was too fast. This triggered a "mode" switch
response from the aircraft. In other words, the aircraft started to go
upwards to slow itself down.
The aircraft was flying at 364 kilometers per hour (226 mph or 202 knots),
slightly over the speed limit of this configuration which is 360 kmph (224
mph or 200 knots). This triggered the automatic response. The pilot tried
to counter its effect and thus started a process that provoked the stall of
the aircraft. This new information lead the french civil aviation authority
(DGAC) to decide to inform immediately the french airlines that use A310s
and A300-600s equipped with the same protection mechanism. The DGAC asked
the airlines to draw the attention of the crews on the required observation
of established speed limits. Airlines should also make sure that the crews
are perfectly-well informed of the logics of the protection system that
automatically triggers in case of abnormal speed.

Disclaimer: I speak for no one and I have no link whatsoever with the
companies cited in this message.

Translated by
Daniel Salber, Grenoble, France, Daniel.Salber@imag.fr

Post by
Francis JAMBON  -  E-mail: Francis.Jambon@imag.fr 
Interfaces Homme-Machine / Human-Computer Interaction
Tel./Phone: (+33) 76 51 48 54  -  Fax: (+33) 76 44 66 75
LGI-IMAG, B206, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble cedex 9, France