Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Did Gordon Brown's Electronic Counter Measures suite cause the B777 to malfunction and crash at Heathrow?

The mystery of the January 2008 crash deepens with investigators reporting no evidence of mechanical failure. Investigators also ruled out the possibility that fuel froze during the flight or was contaminated, or that birdstrike was to blame.

So what caused the engines to fail to produce enough thrust on the final approach? The engines were still operating (though at idle) when crash crews attended. The thrust levers were at full (or may be go round) position. So what might have happened? Given the aircraft had fuel, it was not contaminated and the engines were operating...?

I have had reports that at the time as the aircraft passed over a perimeter road, (by an extra-ordinary coincidence) it passed low and directly overhead British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's car detail; delivering Brown and his entourage to Heathrow. This cavalcade apparently travels with a significant and powerful electronic counter measures (ECM) package to jam (fry) roadside IED's, deflect and avoid incoming missiles and so on. Here is one Vendor of this technology.

Did the PM's ECM package interfere with the engine management controls (called FADEC) on the B777. FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) has been in operation for decades - first operated on the B767 and the B777. It has had millions of miles of trouble free motoring and is apparently extremely robust in an operational sense.

FADEC power plant operation provides for independent engine operations, therefore any FADEC problem would not normally lead to a double engine failure. Unless of course, the problem existed in the parameters and/or the engine control information provided to the FADEC due a malfunction [or possibly ice] or maybe after being subjected to extremely high intensity electromagnetic radiation from a nearby source.

Given ice has been ruled out - and there was a double malfunction; could an ECM response have contributed?

So far all reports about this crash have covered the outstanding airmanship by the crew to limp the stricken aircraft at a very low altitude and low speed over the perimeter fence and crash land with no loss of life (or serious injuries) AND the complete bafflement as to what caused this aircraft to crash - given the fabulous operational record to date its type.

Perhaps there will be no conclusion entered? If Brown's security measures contributed will that fact ever see the light of day.

Makes you wonder though doesn't it?

Good thing in NZ the PM's new Prius fleet (sorry 7 Series) may not have the surplus power to operate a bug zapper let alone a ECM suite.

Personally I find my (GSM) cellphone inoperable on many sections of SH1 so the potential for cell phone jammers here might be restricted to our prisons.

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