This is from CNN. It’s good to finally know what happened on that night. Hopefully we will learn more as the investigation progresses.

The Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that crashed in 2009 plummeted 38,000 ft in just three minutes and 30 seconds because pilots lost vital speed data, France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said Friday.

Pilots on the aircraft got conflicting air speeds in the minutes leading up to the crash, the interim reports states. The aircraft climbed to 38,000 ft when “the stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled,” the report says.

Aviation experts are asking why the pilots responded to the stall by pulling the nose up instead of pushing it down to recover.

Miles O’Brien, a pilot and aviation analyst, said: “You push down on the wheel to gain air speed, perhaps they (pilots) were getting information that the air speed was too high. Pulling the nose up will exacerbate an aerodynamic stall.”

The speed displayed on the left primary flight display were “inconsistent” with those on the integrated standby instrument system (ISIS), the report says.

The aircraft experienced some “rolling” before stalling and then descending rapidly into the ocean. The descent lasted 3 minutes and 30 seconds and the engines remained operational, said the report. It plunged at 10,912 feet (3,300 meters) per minute.

At the time of the descent, the two co-pilots and captain were in the aircraft cockpit.

In tech’s golden age, why can’t black boxes do more?

Ricahrd Quest, CNN’s aviation analyst, said: “For whatever reason the aircraft speed sensors failed and the A330 went into a high altitude stall. The pilot’s actions were unable to recover the aircraft and some might say, made the bad situation worse.

“The actual falling from the sky will have been horrific. This plane fell out of the sky.”

All 228 people aboard the Airbus A330 Flight 447 were killed on June 1, 2009.

The pilots lost contact with air traffic controllers while flying across an area of the Atlantic Ocean known for constant bands of severe turbulence.

Air crash investigators at the Paris-based BEA have been working on the theory that the speed sensors, known as pitot tubes or probes, malfunctioned because of ice at high altitude.

Since the accident, Air France has replaced the pitots on its Airbus fleet with a newer model.

The report quotes some of the pilot’s conversation — who were not named — and reveals that they were aware of the upcoming turbulence and storm.

Four hours and six minutes into the flight, one of the co-pilots, referred to as PF, called the cabin crew, telling them that: “In two minutes we should enter an area where it’ll move about a bit more than at the moment, you should watch out… I’ll call you back as soon as we’re out of it.”

The report said that four hours and 10 minutes into the flight: “The autopilot [and] then [the] auto-thrust disengaged,” and co-pilot PF said: “I have the controls.” The report said the stall warning sounded twice in a row.

At four hours and 10 minutes into the flight the other co-pilot, referred to as PNF said: “So, we’ve lost the speeds.” A second later the stall warnings sounded again the report said.

At about this time, “The speed displayed on the left side increased sharply,” the report said. The aircraft was then at an altitude of about 37,500 ft.

The report said that at this time co-pilot PNF tried several times to call the captain back to the cockpit.

The aircraft then climbed to 38,000 ft and at around four hours 11 minutes and 40 seconds into the flight, the captain re-entered the cockpit. During the following seconds all of the recorded speeds became invalid and the stall warning stopped, the report said.

Co-pilot PF said “I don’t have any more indications”, and the co-pilot PNF said “we have no valid indications.”

About a minute later co-pilot the PF said “We’re going to arrive at level one hundred.” This is a height of 10,000ft. About fifteen seconds later, the data recorder indicate “simultaneous inputs by both pilots on the sidesticks.”

The recordings stopped at four hours 14 minutes and 28 seconds into the flight. A full investigation into the crash is expected next year.

Airbus, manufacturers of the A330, said: “The BEA’s work constitutes a significant step towards the identification of the complete chain of events that led to the tragic accident. Airbus is committed to continuing to provide support to the BEA investigation with the objective of identifying all potential lessons to be learnt,” according to the Press Association.

Earlier this week French air crash investigators said they would be able to identify two bodies recovered this month from the crash site. The recovery team is now working on retrieving all the bodies, French officials have said.

In early May search teams found the crucial “data recorders” from the wreck site, estimated to lie at a depth of between 2,000 to 4,000 meters (6,562 to 13,124 feet).

via CNN

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We may be closer to knowing exactly why Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic on a trip from Brazil to France on the night of July 1, 2009.

The memory unit that could hold the answers to all the questions of flight 447 was recovered from the crash site on Sunday. the news was announced by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA).

The Remora 6000, a remote controlled submarine located the memory unit on Sunday morning. 6 hours later, the memory unit was lifted on board the search ship Ile de Sein.

On Wednesday, the Remora 6000 found the orange-colored flight data recorder’s chasis. Unfortunately, the memory unit was not attached when it was found.

Hopefully the data on the memory unit is still intact and it will be used to officially determine what caused flight 447 to crash. Already though, some people are skeptical that the memory unit contains readable information because it has been submerged so far down below the ocean’s surface for over 23 months.

Phil Seymour, a British aviation consultant with the International Bureau of Aviation said “If you were to throw a computer into the ocean, imagine how all the parts would eventually split and you have the corrosive effects of seawater and the depths involved…It may be that the more wreckage they find will help them to piece it all together, which bit by bit could help them build a picture of what caused the plane to come down”.

Martine Del Bono, a spokeswoman for the BEA believes otherwise. She thinks that there is a good chance that the memory unit still holds retrievable data. We hope so.

The world needs to know what caused Flight 447 to crash. I’m very happy that all parties involved were persistent and never gave up. Hopefully we will learn the true answer soon.

Thank you to all that sent this in.

via BEA, MSNBC, CNN

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Bodies from Air France Flight 447 are found

by Jonathan on April 4, 2011

After 3 failed searches, millions of dollars spent, hundreds of lives lost, thousands of friends and family hurt, and the world watching, investigators have found the wreckage and some bodies from Air France Flight 447.

The wreckage was located less than 6 miles north of Flight 447’s last know location. Side-scan sonar detectors attached to an unmanned submarine discovered a field of debris across the ocean floor nearly 600 miles off the coast of Brazil.

Black and white images which you can see below were taken by the Remus 6000, one of the unmanned submarines that is being used to comb the ocean floor for the wreckage. The parts photographed include parts of the fuselage, landing gear, wings, and engine.

In addition to finding parts of the plane, officials from the BEA also said multiple victims were clearly visible in from the high-resolution pictures taken by the Remus 6000. There are plans to recover the bodies and to identify them. Investigators said that it could take up to a month before special recovery vessels arrive on site to begin removing bodies and debris.

Jean-PAul Troadec, director of the BEA said that investigators were now focusing their efforts on locating and retrieving the plane’s flight data and voice recorders. The flight data recorders may hold the answers to the actual cause of the crash. At the moment, investigators do not know if the recorders remained attached to the plane or if they were separated upon impact.

Nobody knows if the data in the flight recorders are even readable at this point. They have been submerged for almost two years and also under a lot of pressure.

via Guardian.co.uk, CNN, BEA, France 24

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Parts of Flight 447 found in Atlantic

by Jonathan on April 3, 2011

First, I hope that everyone is doing OK. I know that it has been a while since information was posted. But believe me, it wasn’t because Flight 447 was forgotten. There are many things that are going on in my life at the moment and keeping this site updated was unfortunately not priority number 1.

Parts of Air France FLight 447 have been found in the Atlantic Ocean. The parts were found by investigators taking part in the fourth search of the plane’s wreckage and black boxes. The fourth attempt to locate the black boxes and plane began last month.

The BEA said on Sunday night that parts of Flight 447 were discovered crew of the Alucia, one of the search vessels that is taking part in the recovery effort. “These elements were identified by BEA investigators as belonging to the wreckage of the A330-220 plane, flight AF447″ said the BEA.

Certain news site say French investigators did not identify the parts that were discovered. But one site, the Sidney Morning Herald, quoted BEA director Jean-Paul Troadec saying that the wreckage consisted of “engines and certain elements of the wing”.

A new search for the wreckage and black boxes of flight 447 was launched on March 25.

via CNN, Sidney Morning Herald, Guardian.co.uk

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Airbus issues new warnings on speed sensors

by Jonathan on December 21, 2010

Airbus has issued a warning to pilots about a dangerous potential malfunction of its speed sensors, also known as Pitot Tubes, on aircrafts like the Air France A330 that crashed into the Atlantic, killing all 228 on board.

The warning was sent to about 100 operators of its A330, A340-200 and A340-300 long-range, widebody aircraft.

Justin Dubon, a spokesman for Airbus, said on Tuesday that the warning advised pilots NOT to re-engage the automatic pilot following false readings from airspeed indicators until after they have double-checked the readings.

Airbus has discovered that in some cases, two Pitots can give matching, incorrect speed date, which could lead pilots to re-engage autopilot prematurely.

Source: CBC.CA

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Hello everyone. It has been a very long time since any news about AF447 was released. Well, there is some good news!

On Thursday, the French Government announced that investigators will start a brand new search for the Air France flight 447 wreckage and black boxes. The new search effort is scheduled to start sometime in February. Thierry Mariani, France’s junior Transport Minister said “the best equipment currently available” would be used during this upcoming search effort.

Air France, Airbus, and the French Government has already attempted to recover the data boxes, unsuccessfully, 3 times. Over 600 pieces of debris has been recovered, but the main data boxes have yet to be recovered. They’re hoping that this search will yield better results.

Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200 went down in the Atlantic Ocean on on June 1, 2010 while traveling in heavy thunderstorms from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 225 passengers and crew were killed.

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Sorry for posting this so late. I just found out about it today via a news alert.

From Bloomberg News:

The Air France Flight 447 crash inquiry is reviewing pilot instructions issued by Airbus SAS for dealing with instrument failures of the kind implicated in the accident, according to the lead investigator.

France’s BEA air-accident investigation bureau is examining the directive to climb in response to the loss of airspeed data, Alain Bouillard said in an interview. Air France said it has restricted use of the procedure in thin air at high altitudes on concern that it may increase the risk of a mid-air stall.

The emergency maneuver “can lead to a reduction in speed” when carried out at cruising level, Air France safety chief Etienne Lichtenberger said in an interview. “The risk of a low- speed stall is significant at high altitude, so it’s not a good idea to reduce speed.” Airbus said it stands by the guidance.

The switch leaves Air France at odds with the drill still applied by other airlines. In its preliminary findings, the BEA blamed erroneous airspeed data for system failures logged by automated transmissions from the A330 airliner en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, minutes before it plunged into the mid- Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board.

The Airbus maneuver instructs pilots to climb at a five- degree pitch attitude — the aircraft’s angle above horizontal — when airspeed readings become unreliable anywhere above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Only later in the procedure are they told to check whether it’s safe to level off.

‘Hard to Fathom’

When cruising at or above 35,000 feet, Flight 447’s last known altitude, pulling up the nose and climbing is an inappropriate response to speed-sensor failures, according to pilots and independent experts.

“It’s hard to fathom why they would suggest that,” said Hans Weber, president of Tecop International Inc., an aviation consulting firm based in San Diego, who has given safety advise to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and companies including Airbus parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co.

“If you’re at high altitude and you carry on climbing at five degrees for too long you will lose control of the aircraft,” Weber, a physicist by training, said in an interview. “It’s what pilots call the coffin corner — you’re quickly running out of lift in the thinner air.”

The BEA is “looking at the pertinence of these procedures” and may suggest a review even if the plane’s flight recorders, which might indicate what caused the crash, aren’t found, Bouillard said in the June 18 telephone interview. “It’s one line of inquiry — but it’s still too early to say whether anything needs to be improved or changed.”

‘Piloting Sense’

Cedric Maniez, a pilot who flies A330s for Air France, said knowing when to follow the Airbus drill was a “matter of good piloting sense.”

When airspeed data is lost at high altitude, “you don’t touch the pitch attitude, you just try to keep it level with constant thrust,” Maniez said. “Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing what happened aboard Flight 447 or to what extent the unsuitability of this emergency maneuver might have played a role.

Three search operations have failed to recover the black- box flight recorders.

Jeremie Teahan, a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency, which certified the maneuver and reviewed it again after the crash, said the authority has “not found any issues with the Airbus procedures for the time being.”

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said in an e-mail that “strict adherence to these approved procedures remains the best way to manage unreliable airspeed situations.”

New Instructions
Four days after the crash, Air France gave its pilots new instructions that contradict the Airbus procedure for coping with airspeed-data loss.

When the problem occurs at safe cruising altitude, pilots should “maintain the same pitch attitude and engine thrust,” according to the June 5, 2009, memo signed by Lichtenburger and three other executives. Crews should then troubleshoot “without carrying out the emergency maneuver.”

Most pilots realize that there is no need to climb when already at cruising altitude, Lichtenberger said. Air France issued the memo because it nonetheless “felt there was a risk that pilots might follow the Airbus procedure to the letter.”

Air France also raised the issue with Airbus and EASA officials after its own tests showed that maintaining the five- degree configuration could slow an A330 from 270 knots to 230 knots in about two minutes, Lichtenberger said. “That means you’re getting closer to stalling speed.”

Stall Warnings

With an estimated mass of 205 metric tons at the time of the crash, the Airbus A330 would have had a stalling speed of about 170 knots, data from the manufacturer show.

According to the final radio transmissions, the failure of Flight 447’s airspeed sensors, or Pitot tubes, caused the autopilot to shut down about four minutes before a rapid loss of altitude, recorded in the final message. Debris analysis and post-mortems of the 50 bodies show that the plane hit the water belly-first in a near-vertical plunge, investigators say.

The BEA has documented 13 other cases of high-altitude airspeed-data loss, of which nine resulted in stall warnings. Some of the crews — all of which managed to overcome the problem — had begun and then abandoned the emergency climb maneuver when the alarm sounded, Bouillard said.

The BEA has also called for further study of atmospheric ice crystals that may be capable of disabling Pitot tubes for longer periods and at higher altitudes than previously thought possible.

“When Airbus wrote the instructions they were probably of a mind that the emergency would occur well below cruising altitude,” Tecop’s Weber said. “There tends to be an assumption that the chances of encountering real atmospheric problems are very much reduced at high altitudes.”

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NOVA Working on Air France 447 Documentary

by Jonathan on June 2, 2010

The PBS science/documentary show NOVA is working on a documentary about the crash of Flight 447. The documentary will air sometime in the fall on PBS.

“The job of our film is to try, by piecing together the known evidence, to come up with some conclusions and a credible explanation of what could have happened,” says executive producer Julian Ware. “But obviously we can only be certain if they find the black boxes.”

One of the questions the film will raise concerns the degree of automation in modern aircraft and pilots’ consequent ability to handle emergency situations. Pilots are encouraged to fly on autopilot and otherwise rely on fly-by-wire systems because it saves fuel. But it means that pilots are “task-underloaded,” Ware says.

“When these automated systems fail, suddenly pilots go from a low-task saturation to an enormous overload task saturation, and they don’t have the flying hours now to deal with the situation,” Ware says. Nor do they necessarily know how to cope with a stall. “It’s no reflection on the pilots,” Ware says; it’s just that practicing recovery from a stall is not something pilots can train on in commercial flight simulators, which cannot reproduce stalls because of the extreme forces involved.

NOVA is the highest rated science series on television and the most watched documentary series on public television. It is also one of television’s most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over.

On May 30, the BBC aired a documentary on flight 447 titled Lost: The Mystery of Flight 447.

Source: Inside Nova Blog

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You Will Not Be Forgotten

by Jonathan on May 31, 2010

To all the the victims of Flight 447: We haven’t forgotten you; may you rest in peace.

To all the families and friends of Flight 447 victims: Stay strong. We all hope that one day we will have complete answers to this tragedy. We are all in this together.

To Joseph “Jojo” Owondo: Everyone misses you. So many people have written, from all over the world asking about you.

Here’s a song from 29 year old Juliana de Aquino.

We miss you all, and you will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace.



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1 year after the crash of Air France flight 447, some families of the 228 that lost their lives are demanding a new search for the flight data and voice recorders, and for answers.

Jean-Baptiste Audousset, the president of the French families association Mutual Aid and Solidarity AF447, speaking at a Paris news conference, said “our grief and our distress remain constant”. He also added that “the trauma is even more terrible because we still do not know how their last moments of life were spent”.

Families from victims’ associations based in Germany, France, Italy, and Brazil are prepared to mourn the loss of their loved ones 1 year after the sad tragedy.

A series of ceremonies will be help throughout Paris to remember the victims of flight 447.

On Monday night, a service will be held at the Notre Dame Cathedral. On Tuesday, victims will be remembered by a ceremony at the Paris Floral Park and by a monument in their memory at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris.

Dominique Busserau, the transport minister wrote to the families of the victims and promissed to do everything possible to find answers, except the possibility of a new search.

On top of a new search, some families are upset at the speed at which the BEA has gone forward with the investigation. They are also asking to have access to all documents and data concerning the search and for the inclusion of international experts to aid in the inquiry.

Source: Associated Press

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