10 Responses

  1. Jamie Freed
    Jamie Freed at |

    Too cold to not manually turn on the pitot tube heaters on the Antonov if the initial reporting is correct. Interesting pilots online say the 727 and 737 classic also had manual heating switches but on more modern jets now they go on when engines are on.

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      Yeah….with the Antonov that mistake cost a lot of lives. Very unfortunate. And I agree that it is mildly surprising that functionality was manually controlled rather than simply part of the system. Though the SSJ incidents raise questions about the automated option, too.

    2. Jamie Freed
      Jamie Freed at |

      Seth Miller Indeed. And not just a cold climate issue…it would just appear at lower altitudes in cold weather as at cruise, obviously even more freezing.

  2. Joel Anderson
    Joel Anderson at |

    So is it primarily just an issue with Russian built jets then?

    During both of my trips there this winter it was warmer than Minnesota (granted, not a very high bar).

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      In this case the Russian built jets in Moscow are the ones with issues reported. Sukhoi claims other types were similarly affected but I haven’t seen any regulatory reports on that front. I also haven’t looked too hard.

  3. Karen Johnson
    Karen Johnson at |

    As I recall, there was an Air France flight from Rio to Paris that crashed in the Atlantic due (probably) to ice in the pitot tubes. Is there any other way to determine an aircraft’s airspeed?

  4. Thomas
    Thomas at |

    Pilots are trained for this, especially American military pilots. With a set pitch and power setting climbing/descending/level flight you can garentee the aircraft will roughly maintain safe speed for flight until checklist can be run to solve the problem and safely land. Safe speed you ask? Somewhere between clean maneuver and max placard which in most cases with jet/turbojet planes is a window of 150knots.

  5. Jamie Baker
    Jamie Baker at |

    Seth, pitot issues and associated speed discrepancies are not a reason planes should crash, and there have been several “warm climate” examples of this. Appears to be poor airmanship, no?

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      I think it is a bit of both. It has to be.

      Pilots need data to make sure they’re operating within the right ranges of speed, altitude, attitude, etc. Some of that should also be possible without the indicators at a basic level but expecting pilots to run their systems that way regularly is also a bad way to play IMO.

      It is definitely very cold at altitude so it cannot only be the cold weather causing the issues. At the same time, however, the melt/freeze cycle can certainly contribute to the issues. Ice in a pitot tube has proven fatal several times now.

    2. Jamie Baker
      Jamie Baker at |

      And don’t forget wasp nests. Brought down a 757.