Happening's

Loading...
Loading...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What happened to Air France Flight 447


PARIS – France's transportation minister said Friday that French forces have found no signs of the Airbus A330 airplane that vanished over the Atlantic and urged "extreme prudence" about suspected debris taken from the ocean.

Dominique Bussereau said he regretted that an announcement by Brazilian teams that they had recovered plane debris from Air France flight 447 turned out to be false.



The Brazilian air force announced Thursday afternoon that a helicopter plucked an airplane cargo pallet from the sea that came the Air France flight, but then said six hours later that it was not from the Airbus.


Link

Wonder where it came from? Did FedEx have one that just fell out the door at 37,000 feet? I don't think so. You have to assume it came off a ship where it was being used for something on the deck. Now pallets aren't cheap or light so how did it get off the ship. I don't see a ship's crew throwing it over and if it was on deck, even if not lashed down, you have to assume it had no cargo on it if it was light enough for rough weather to blow it off the deck. So yes, I wonder where it came from.

I also wonder why the following isn't getting any real play in the press, although after a bunch of politicians get done trying, vainly in my estimation in Obamie's case, to pay respect to those who died on the 6/6/44 landing in Europe, it may get some discussion.

However, both pilots of an Air Comet flight from Lima, Peru, to Lisbon, Portugal, sent a written report on the bright flash they said they saw to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish civil aviation authority, the airline told CNN.

"Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds," the captain wrote.

Air Comet declined to identify the pilot's name but said he waited until landing to inform Air Comet management about what he saw. Air Comet then informed Spanish civil aviation authorities. The Air Comet co-pilot and a passenger aboard the same flight also saw the light.


And then we have this:

The aircraft's computer system did send about four minutes of automated messages indicating a loss of cabin pressure and an electrical failure, officials have said.


CNN Link

Ah, reporters and bureaucrats. You have to love their inability to write about technical things. Let me explain. If your coffee pot shorts out and kicks the circuit breaker for the kitchen's wall plugs, you have an electrical failure.
If the main circuit breakers kick and you lose power to the house, you have an electrical failure. The first is an aggravation. The second is a major problem.

So, loss of electrical power and loss of cabin pressure, intense white light observed followed by a descending (falling) trajectory (of the light) for about six seconds before it broke up (went out). And now this is added:

PARIS, France (CNN) -- Air France Flight 447 sent out 24 automated error messages -- including one saying the aircraft's autopilot had disengaged -- before it vanished with 228 people on board, aviation investigators said Saturday.


CNN Link1

Through this you have to assume that the error messages being sent for four minutes mean that the aircraft batteries were functioning and that the aircraft was, at least somewhat, structurally sound.

You also have to assume that the autopilot message means that it disengaged in error because the messages are called "error" messages. i.e. It wouldn't send a message if the flight crew disengaged it. That wouldn't have been seen as an error. That invalidates the arguments I have seen on the Internet about if the pilot should have. He didn't. It also calls into question the NY Post article referenced later in this post. I repeat. A pilot turning off the autopilot would not be seen as an error and wouldn't be reported in an error message.

So within four minutes we know that the auto pilot disengaged, electric power generation was lost and the cabin lost pressure. And we don't know in what order. But that very plainly argues for partial structural failure, loss of electrical power generation, of autopilot and major (complete?) structural failure that wiped out the batteries.

What else do we know?

At 11 p.m. (10 p.m. EDT), pilot Marc Dubois sent a manual signal saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" -- black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that carry violent winds and lightning.

Satellite data show that the thunderheads -- towering up to 50,000 feet -- were sending 100 mph updrafts into the jet's flight path.

"Such an updraft would lead to severe turbulence for any aircraft," AccuWeather said.

"In addition, the storms were towering up to 50,000 feet and would have been producing lightning. The Air France plane would have encountered these stormy conditions, which could have resulted in either some structural failure or electrical failure."


NYPost link

So we know that the aircraft was flying in some nasty weather. How long it had been prior to the radio message I don't know. But we know that it had been for ten minutes before the first error message was sent.

At 11:10 p.m., a cascade of horrific problems began.

Automatic messages relayed by the jetliner indicate the autopilot had disengaged, suggesting Dubois and his two co-pilots were trying to thread their way through the dangerous clouds manually.


Again, no. Turning off the autopilot by the pilot would not generate an error message. Failure of it would.

A key computer system had switched to alternative power and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged.

An alarm sounded, indicating the deterioration of flight systems.


Again some poor writing. The message might say an alarm was activated, but it wasn't heard by the computer message. And was the alternative power the aircraft batteries? And was the computer battery driven or from an external DC/AC Inverter?

At 11:13 p.m., more automatic messages reported the failure of systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the main flight computer and wing spoilers also failed.

The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., indicated complete electrical failure and a massive loss of cabin pressure -- catastrophic events, indicating that the plane was breaking apart and plunging toward the ocean.


Ten minutes is an awfully long time in an aviation emergency. All of this happening and the crew didn't yell Mayday? And there were three pilots on board. Or one pilot and two co-pilots. (I don't think the 330 has a Flight Engineer position. Could be wrong.)So I assume one is provided as a relief.

Four minutes is not very long in an aviation emergency if the aircraft is all over the sky and starting to break up.

Flying has been defined as hours and hours of sheer boredom followed by minutes of stark terror.

Did the pilot fly into a thunderstorm as violent as has been described? Hard to imagine. The crew was experienced, the 330 has lots of electronics and the area was well known to produce violent weather. While it is possible to get "boxed in" by bad weather, an experienced crew would not have let that happen. It would be interesting to see the thunderstorm (squall) line. Typically in the US weather moves west to east with squall lines basically north-south. As the poem goes:

There are old pilots and bold pilots
But very few old bold pilots.


So again I think the crew would have avoided any really bad stuff.

So what happened? Remember the Air Comet crew?

"Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds," the captain wrote.


So the A330 broke up a bit, caught fire and then burned itself out in about six seconds in an explosion seen as intense white light.

Interesting. But first we know that an object flying forward at around 400 knots will not drop vertically. It will continue to go forward, and slant down. (An object at rest will remain at rest, etc., etc.)

When jet fuel explodes/burns it does so in orange.



I had previously posted this:


Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged.

French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31.


Just a coincidence I'm sure.

In the meantime, what has happened to this story?

However, both pilots of an Air Comet flight from Lima, Peru, to Lisbon, Portugal, sent a written report on the bright flash they said they saw to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish civil aviation authority, the airline told CNN.

"Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds," the captain wrote.


Just a coincidence I'm sure.