FlightAware Discussions

unresponsive aircraft


A TBM-700 going from Rochester, NY to Naples, FL is not responding to radio calls. F-15s are trailing it now, almost to Cuba. They say the windows are frosted over.

Thoughts for the people on board and their families. It doesn’t sound good.

How would it work if the F15s are tracking the plane and it goes over Cuba? Do American based aircraft normally fly in Cuban airspace?

They just said on CNN that the F-15s will not go in to Cuba’s airspace.

It looks like the TBM-700 has about 1600nm range. That will put them on the other side of Jamaica, if it was fully fueled. Very sad to see.

What does the destination change from KAPF to TADPO mean?

TADPO is an intersection off of Key West. I guess that’s the blue dotted line that goes back to the northwest.

I know nothing about how planes operate so forgive me if this is impossible. Could a plane be designed with an auto pilot like system that would take the plane down to safe altitude if it sensed a loss of cabin pressure/oxygen?

Some business jets have such a system. Off the top my head Gulfstreams, Dassault Falcons with the EASy2 upgrade, Citation Mustangs (and maybe the CJ4?) all have it. It works by utilizing the existing autopilot system. The problem is that the aircraft needs to have auto-throttles to maintain the automated descent so pistons and turboprops aren’t really candidates for such a system. IIRC Cirrus developed an auto descent mode for their planes but I have no idea how it would work.

Why is that the case with pistons and turboprops?? Prop pitch??

There just aren’t any prop aircraft out there equipped with auto-throttles. The C130J Herc is the only one I can think of.
There really isn’t much of a need on props since they typically fly short segments and managing power settings on them is simple to begin with. Jets use them to alleviate workload during long cruise segments and when things get hectic near the ground.

When it comes to an emergency descent the name of the game is to get down IMMEDIATELY. That’s why I’m curious how Cirrus’ system goes about it. I would assume the autopilot just selects a lower altitude and begins a descent with Indicated Airspeed Hold mode set at it’s max speed. The problem is that you’d still be at cruise power which would result in a relatively shallow and leisurely descent to a safe altitude to avoid overspeeding and ripping the wings off.

In contrast, jets with auto-throttles can make very aggressive automated descents. I only have experience with Dassault’s Honeywell EASy2 ADM (Automatic Descent Mode) but I believe Gulfstream’s system is very similar. The autopilot commands a 90 degree turn to the left letting the nose fall through during the bank, auto-throttles chop the thrust to Idle, and a dive at Vmo/Mmo -10 knots commences down to 15,000 feet and then recovers at 250 knots. It’s triggered whenever a decompression is detected (under certain criteria) whether the crew is incapacitated or not. This frees them up from the task of maneuvering the airplane and lets them focus on the emergency at hand. Pretty neat system.

Edit: Here’s Dassault’s brochure page for ADM- das.falconjet.com/apex/f?p=2000:2594:0::NO:::

Thanks Tiptank!