Stall midflight

Hello IF Community,
I was recently on a flight from Barcelona via Milan to Singapore and it was all very normal I had a normal flight plan, autopilot was on and I had been in the air for about 6 hours and definitely had enough fuel left for the flight. When I went to sleep overnight everything was still normal. In the morning, however, I realized that I had crashed. I looked at the replay and here’s what happened. I was at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet over Iran when suddenly, without warning, the plane started shaking badly. The shaking got so bad that the plane tipped completely to one side and I got a stall. Now to my question. I just concluded from the replay that it must have been quite strong winds and I wanted to ask if anyone knows exactly how strong the winds have to be to take an Airbus A350 out of the sky.

Hi, well explained and good question.

Winds can never be too strong to prevent sustaining perfectly normal flight. Even a 300kt wind (if possible) would not take an aircraft out of the sky.

But, that’s with a very critical condition: the wind has to be steady, or at least relatively steady, and any changes in wind speed and direction have to be sufficiently gradual (gusty is ok, but within some moderation).

The enemy of staying in the air when you are relatively high and heavy (even if it carried you most of the way), is more out of the ordinary rapid change in wind direction.

If the wind changes too rapidly the aircraft at some point of extreme will not be able to catch up to the change in wind drift fast enough.

If you are watching when this happens, the sudden change may decrease your IAS so much that the autothrottle can’t keep up with the speed of change.

The thing about being high and heavy, even if it works for most conditions, is that it still decreases your safety margin to make in through excessively rapid changes in wind speed.

Are you able to share the replay so we can have a look!

You can do so using this website:

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I had exactly the same thing happen MEL-HND.
Watched the replay many times, no idea hat caused it.

Can you upload?

Actually I would Upload the replay, but unfortunately it says that the Website is not working.

Hello, thanks for the detailed explanation. I hadn’t thought about changing the direction of the wind. I always thought that sudden wind direction changes are only possible at lower altitudes. Also because I have never experienced these changes of direction at such high altitudes (until now), and this is the first time it has happened to me. But good to know for the future. From now on I will probably pay attention to how high I fly and with what weight.

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Happened to me in the A350, thanks for explaining!

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Because in IF we’re often not watching during long duration cruise at altitude, we lose the irl situation of an on duty pilot able to detect an outlier weather event like a rapid change in wind, when we’re relatively more vulnerable with weight maxed for the current cruise altitude.

A bit less load or altitude might be the solution to keep a more robust saftey margin for such events when we can’t be there to continuously be on watch.

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