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Author Topic: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*  (Read 104457 times)

Offline SooLineRob

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2009, 02:30:03 PM »
Brief synopsis from various sources as of 6/2/09, 12:40 CDT:

No voice message was received from AF447 indicating trouble.

PIREPS (PIlot REPorts) and passenger comments from other aircraft ahead of, and behind, AF447 indicated light to moderate turbulence while transitting the area of thunderstorms where AF447 went missing/failed to check in with a postion report. The weather conditions were "normal" for this region.

A Brazil-bound TAM flight observed "orange light(s) on the ocean surface" near where AF447 went missing, but was unaware the flight was missing until after their arrival in Brazil. Although the sighting was reported, it was done so from memory and somewhat vague as to the exact position. The TAM flight observed the "light(s)" about 30 minutes after AF447 went "missing", and along the planned route.

Automated ACARS messages received from AF447 began about 02:10Z; AutoPilot disengaged, Alternate Law flight mode.

02:11Z to 02:13Z, multiple faults regarding ADIRU (Air Data and Inertial Reference Unit) and ISIS (Integrated Standby Intsruments System).

02:13Z PRIM 1 (PRImary) and SEC 1 (SECondary) computer faults.

02:14Z Cabin vertical speed advisory, last message recieved.

Reports from Brazilian Navy indicate two differnet sightings of debris about 30-60nm apart, including a "drum", orange throwable life preserverer/flotation device, "seat(s)", and oil/kerosene on water surface. Due to the multiple different languages and sources involved, the use of quotation marks indicate the "translation" into English. These sightings are in the general area where the TAM flight observed "orange light(s) on the surface".

Due to the location, helicopters are unable to reach the sights. Fixed wing aircraft are coordinating the search with ships, both naval and merchant, to search the areas.

Please excuse any non-standard phraseology contained herein; I'm not a part of the aviation community. I've been following this tragic story over the last day, and have posted only the known "facts" that I've received from various media sources, for those of us "just tuning in" to this developing tragedy.

Offline Timfish

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2009, 03:27:48 PM »
While reading around the Net I found this post :

The following text is quote from PPRuNe Forums. (Professional Pilots Rumour Network)



I read somewhere that Air France 447's wing touched an A320 rudder in a taxi incident prior to departure. The A320's rudder was severely damaged, but AF447's A330 wingtip was not. AF447 departed, and is now missing.

First things first: Did the taxi incident occur?

Answers to big problems or issues are often simple. Here is one possibility: AF447's wing was weakened if not visibly damaged; the airplane suffered stresses during flight via flight in turbulence; the damaged, stressed wing broke off; the airplane plummeted into the sea.

What supports this?

1. Alleged taxi incident involving A320 and AF447.
2. Alleged time delay of four minutes from altitude to impact.
3. No calls from the pilots.
4. Sudden spurt of messages sent to base: multiple system failures.
5. Item 3. and 4. indicate an inflight breakup.
6. Airplanes don't fall out of the sky for no reason.


If this is true there seems to be an incident report  written-up on this and will be revealed   to the media

kea001

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2009, 04:19:45 PM »
First things first: Did the taxi incident occur?

What happened to Flight 447?

By Miles O'Brien

"The airplane that crashed last night - tail number F-GZCP - had no accidents or incidents in its history. It went into service on April 18, 2005 and had logged 18,870 hours. In 2006, its wing collided with the tail of an Airbus A321 on the ground at Charles de Gaulle Airport - the damage was classified as "minor". It was last in the hangar on April 16, 2009 for routine maintenance. No serious squawks reported."
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5505BF20090602


SIDEBAR:

Brazilian media confirms the names of the vessels providing assistance are the:

Lexa Maersk, last reported (UTC), 2009-Jun-02 1200
Jo Cedar, 2009-Jun-02 0000,
UAL Texas, 2009-Jun-02 0000,
Stolt Inspiration ???
with the farthest just 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the crash site.

http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/air-france-flight-447-commercial/




from: sailwx.info
http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shiplocations.phtml
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 04:51:06 PM by kea001 »

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2009, 06:52:45 PM »
"Brazil confirms Air France jet crashed in ocean
FERNANDO DE NORONHA, Brazil — Brazilian military planes found a 3-mile (5-kilometer) path of wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean, confirming that an Air France jet carrying 228 people crashed in the sea, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said Tuesday."

From story below:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20090601/Brazil.Plane/

Timfish may be on to something here...I am inclined to agree that the incident with the A320 had something to do with it.

The problem is we may never know... :cry:

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2009, 06:57:34 PM »
Here is a pic of the ill-fated A330-203...God Rest Their Souls...

Airbus A330-203 F-GZCP (cn 660) landing at Paris - Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) (CDG / LFPG)
on May 4, 2008.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-France/Airbus-A330-203/1371474/L/&sid=1928ad3104946f283a1b90e0469750cc

Offline makonyy15

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2009, 09:10:46 PM »
As previously mentioned, the previous contact with another aircraft could have definitely weakened the structure of the aircraft. Anything from turbulence (actual motion of the aircraft) to excessive airflows from manuevers/winds (air pressure induced stress) could have caused failure in the wing. It all depends on the actual maintainence/inspection that took place during its last trip to the hangar. Is this just a visual inspection and check of the control services and systems? If so, that won't expose internal/developing stresses or problems.

Once again, this is all speculation and IMHO as a mechanical engineering student. We won't know what happened until the black boxes are (if ever) received.

As a side note, airliners.net won't load for me (page cannot be displayed error). Anybody else having this problem?

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2009, 10:51:40 PM »
As previously mentioned, the previous contact with another aircraft could have definitely weakened the structure of the aircraft. Anything from turbulence (actual motion of the aircraft) to excessive airflows from manuevers/winds (air pressure induced stress) could have caused failure in the wing. It all depends on the actual maintainence/inspection that took place during its last trip to the hangar. Is this just a visual inspection and check of the control services and systems? If so, that won't expose internal/developing stresses or problems.

Once again, this is all speculation and IMHO as a mechanical engineering student. We won't know what happened until the black boxes are (if ever) received.

As a side note, airliners.net won't load for me (page cannot be displayed error). Anybody else having this problem?

I linked to a pic on the airplane involved in my last post. It loaded fine for me... :|

Does anyone know for sure which wing took the hit from the other airplane? Not that it matters...just wondering...

I'm still thinking about the incident with the A320...
If a crack had developed in the wing spar or a rib from that incident with the A320 in 2006, it may not have even been visible. Remember United 232? Tail engine fan disc failure...the hairline crack had been in the disc since it was manufactured, and was not visible under normal inspection procedures. I linked to the Wiki page below on UA232 if anyone wants to read it...check out the "Causes" section...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_232

« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 11:04:03 PM by joeyb747 »

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2009, 11:13:09 PM »
Full disclosure: I'm not a pilot or even work in this industry (I'm a wedding photographer) but I do have a huge interest in aviation and love reading about flying/aviation.  One thing I was thinking about in regards to the collision thing:  I know wings structurally are made to take a lot of stress (correct me if I'm wrong) and the mesh structure inside of them can deal with A LOT of flex, but I was also under the impression that even under a massive internal structural collapse the wing was built to function. You'd have to have massive external damage to do anything to the wing? I'm not sure if I sound really stupid here, as I said, this isn't my field, just wondered! But then, I guess under enough force, anything will buckle right! :)

I'm very keen to follow this whole story. And thanks for this awesome forum and a great community of people. :)

The only stupid question is the one you never ask! :wink:

Add in violent thunderstorms, wind shifts, updrafts, downdrafts, lightning, hail...etc...
If the wing was weakend, and if the wind shifted just right, and if it was hailing...anything is possible at this point.

Accidents can never be blamed on one thing...they are a culmination of events.

We may never know what truly happend to this airplane, her crew, and pax... :cry:

Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2009, 11:24:21 PM »

The only stupid question is the one you never ask! :wink:

Add in violent thunderstorms, wind shifts, updrafts, downdrafts, lightning, hail...etc...
If the wing was weakend, and if the wind shifted just right, and if it was hailing...anything is possible at this point.

Accidents can never be blamed on one thing...they are a culmination of events.

We may never know what truly happend to this airplane, her crew, and pax... :cry:

Right, funny how that is almost always the case with everything in life (a culmination of events). Why are planes not fitted with GPS units? From everything I've read almost everything is still radar?

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2009, 08:21:43 AM »

The only stupid question is the one you never ask! :wink:

Add in violent thunderstorms, wind shifts, updrafts, downdrafts, lightning, hail...etc...
If the wing was weakend, and if the wind shifted just right, and if it was hailing...anything is possible at this point.

Accidents can never be blamed on one thing...they are a culmination of events.

We may never know what truly happend to this airplane, her crew, and pax... :cry:

Right, funny how that is almost always the case with everything in life (a culmination of events). Why are planes not fitted with GPS units? From everything I've read almost everything is still radar?

Aircraft have GPS for navigation. Most modern GPS can display weather and terrain. And the ELT is kind of a GPS...more like a homing beacon. Some aircraft have satellite tv on them! As far as control, I know it's still transponder/radar based...that part of the q would be better answered by one of out ATC members...

Offline sykocus

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2009, 09:54:23 AM »

Right, funny how that is almost always the case with everything in life (a culmination of events). Why are planes not fitted with GPS units? From everything I've read almost everything is still radar?

An airliner such as this undoubtedly had GPS, but that doesn't necessarily tell anyone else where you are. Just like if you are lost in the woods with a GPS receiver you're going to be the only one who knows where you are. There is technology out called ADS which sends the position of the plane periodically via satellite. Overall the system works much like the way the Air France received automatic messages about the different system faults with the plane. ADS is fairly new technology and not every plane has it. There are probably even fewer air traffic control facilities that are set up to receive ADS info. I don't know about Air France specifically, but the A330's from the operators I deal with do have ADS. However given the fact that there was so much uncertainty about their location it sound like they weren't logged into anyone that was receiving their ADS position reports.

Offline atcman23

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2009, 10:19:02 AM »
I don't think the incident from 2006 is going to play much into this accident.  It was almost 3 years ago and being that these planes fly often, at some point it would have come up under an inspection.  Since Airbus has had structural failures in the past, they are subject to some more intense structural failures during certain inspections. 

Since oceans are large, and we do not have a GPS system in place that works two ways (it just tells you where you are at, not you and another party), oceanic navigation is all non-radar and is based upon pilot position reports.  They are required to report over certain points and then tell the controller when it expects to arrive at the next point.  They still have radio communication with controllers via HF radio.  The aircraft likely had a GPS unit it uses to navigate, but it would work much like the GPS unit in a car.  Also, since we're dealing with different countries here, it comes down to what that country uses to track aircraft as well.

I'm not sure on ELT requirements outside of the U.S., but here in the U.S., commercial airliners are not required to be equipped with an ELT since they are scheduled flights and in contact with ATC and usually under radar coverage.  If you look at Part 91 of the FARs, you'll find several exceptions to carrying an ELT.  There is no standardized requirement that every U.S. registered aircraft carry an ELT.  If the place was flying over water, it would need one that would be waterproof, such as an EPIRB (used on boats), that would activate as soon as it entered water.  But ELTs and EPIRBs have very limited battery life, usually about 24-48 hours.

I think that they are going to have a near impossible time trying to get a lot of information on this crash.

Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2009, 01:41:41 PM »
There is an interesting story over on Salon about it: http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2009/06/02/askthepilot322/

What's also interesting is that the Sun Newspaper (oxymoron alert) is reporting a bomb was called in for that flight the day before.. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2461858/Alex-11-named-victim-of-lost-Air-France-jet-Bomb-threat-made-to-Air-France.html

I find it totally fascinating that with all the technology in the world, we don't have a system currently in place that transmits gps data of all current trans Atlantic flights to a central system. I realize that is probably A LOT of data, and a very expensive thing to do, but man, if a A380 at capacity went down and had deviated heavily from it's FP.. scary stuff!

Thanks to for the great answers to my questions, really fascinating stuff! :D

Offline sykocus

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2009, 12:23:13 AM »


I find it totally fascinating that with all the technology in the world, we don't have a system currently in place that transmits gps data of all current trans Atlantic flights to a central system. I realize that is probably A LOT of data, and a very expensive thing to do, but man, if a A380 at capacity went down and had deviated heavily from it's FP.. scary stuff!

As I mentioned the system is there, it's the implementation that's the issue. Many planes still need to have the equipment installed. That would be quite a cost to the airlines both in money and probably weight. More weight of course equals more fuel which becomes more money. On the other end is the centralized system. Airlines pay for all the messages and they send via satellite, but there's a trade off. They get better air traffic service when flying over the ocean at less workload on the pilots. Also there's security issues to address. With all the fight information being sent to a single system regardless of airline, origin or destination there are going to be a lot of different companies and governments wanting a say in who can have access to all that data.

Offline LeoBern

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2009, 02:57:10 AM »
First condolences as to the loss of life. Also the acknowledgement that speculation being just that, speculation.

Two questions:
1)Its been reported that a drum was found among the debris field. Without knowing what it contained/contains is it at all common in long haul commercial flights (or ETOPS craft) to carry drums? (pressuming this was some sort of metalic drum that was floating on surface it seems odd, but it could be the description was lost in translation). I'm sure the cargo manifest is being looked over for everything including weight since it plays a big part in structural analysis.


2) Anyone with any experience concerning positive lightening strikes?  (just curious)


Comment
There are reports saying that Ocean depths may lead to never recovering the FDR/CVR: Given that Nereus very recently descended to the deepest part of the Ocean known to man and that there are at least several submersibles, including one owned by France, that can operate at or below the depths expected in this incident, hopefully the recovery wont be as 'almost impossible' as is being reported [we've come a long way from the SA 295 around 20 years ago]. This is a fairly interesting article germane to aviation and submersibles: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10057877-52.html

As for my conjecture, for what its worth at this point, weather seems to have been a factor but not an unavoidable causation.   
       



     

Offline atcman23

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2009, 08:17:57 AM »
Well a Southwest Airlines flight was struck by lightning yesterday over California and landed safely.  It did cause minor damage near the tail of the aircraft but did not affect performance, and the plane continued to its destination, I believe.  Aircraft get struck by lightning from time to time, and they are designed to withstand a strike.  With the Air France flight, I don't think lightning brought down this aircraft.  Since investigators are leaning towards an in-flight breakup, (which explains the pressurization problem), I think we could be looking at the aircraft hit extreme turbulence and got caught in a series of strong updrafts and downdrafts.  And we all know that aircraft and downdrafts do not mix (several accidents from years' past caused by the aircraft flying into a downdraft).  If the aircraft did break up in-flight, something would have to be structurally weakened first, and a strong updraft or downdraft would almost certainly allow that to happen.

I believe the "drum" that was reported ended up being one of the aircraft's life rafts.  The article that mentioned the "drum" was translated from a foreign language directly.  Later, I believe that mentioned that it was one of the life rafts, which are packed very tightly around the CO2 canister that inflates it.  They do float when not inflated (makes sense).  I don't think they were actually carrying metal drums, it's not something that's carried on commercial flights, not have I ever seen an aircraft carry them.  That is excluding cargo aircraft, which can basically carry anything (with several exceptions on contents).  While commercial airlines do carry cargo from time to time, it's usually not in large amounts and you're usually dealing with small types of cargo (mail, parcel post, etc.).

kea001

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2009, 08:22:32 AM »
From:  Times Online
June 4, 2009

Air France Flight 447 'may have stalled after pilot error'

"Airbus is to send advice on flying in storms to operators of its A330 jets, Le Monde reported today. It would remind crews of the need to maintain adequate thrust from the engines and the correct attitude, or angle of flight, when entering heavy turbulence."

cont'd here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6430398.ece

Detailing the last 4 minutes of crashed Air France flight AF447
Published 1 hour ago by ■ Michael Cosgrove ■ Digital Journal.com
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/273620
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 08:46:27 AM by kea001 »

Offline sykocus

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2009, 09:58:52 AM »


Comment
There are reports saying that Ocean depths may lead to never recovering the FDR/CVR: Given that Nereus very recently descended to the deepest part of the Ocean known to man and that there are at least several submersibles, including one owned by France, that can operate at or below the depths expected in this incident, hopefully the recovery wont be as 'almost impossible' as is being reported [we've come a long way from the SA 295 around 20 years ago]. This is a fairly interesting article germane to aviation and submersibles: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10057877-52.html

As for my conjecture, for what its worth at this point, weather seems to have been a factor but not an unavoidable causation.   
       



     

When the B52 crashed into the ocean out here last year, I didn't think they would be able to recover anything from the bottom. However the AF with the help of the Navy found a debris field and recovered at least some wreckage, but they didn't really go into much detail. That being said I think those depths were "only" about 5000 ft. Though I imagine finding the actual data and voice records of the Air France flight may be like looking for a needle in a haystack

Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2009, 11:47:04 AM »
From:  Times Online
June 4, 2009

Air France Flight 447 'may have stalled after pilot error'

"Airbus is to send advice on flying in storms to operators of its A330 jets, Le Monde reported today. It would remind crews of the need to maintain adequate thrust from the engines and the correct attitude, or angle of flight, when entering heavy turbulence."

cont'd here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6430398.ece

Detailing the last 4 minutes of crashed Air France flight AF447
Published 1 hour ago by ■ Michael Cosgrove ■ Digital Journal.com
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/273620


Fascinating, I'd like to see the data that got leaked to the media... From what the times said though, I don't think it's fair to say disengaging AP would lead to an air stall? They would need airspeed data wouldn't they?

kea001

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2009, 03:19:36 PM »
They would need airspeed data wouldn't they?

Yeah. Good point.

UPDATE:

French say Air France plane speed not known
1 hour ago

The Accident Investigation Agency says only two findings have been established.

  • the series of automatic messages sent from Flight 447 were "incoherent" regarding the plane's speed.
  • the plane's route Sunday night was spotted with stormy, unstable weather.

The agency warned against any "hasty interpretation or speculation" about the crash. The French newspaper Le Monde had reported, without naming sources, that the Air France plane was flying at the wrong speed.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5joGheNCY3Cf68i1JUAHWObE2tGGQD98K0EM05



AF447 mid-air breakup evidence raises new discussions about the last signals sent to Paris
http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2009/06/03/af447-mid-air-breakup-evidence-raises-new-discussions-about-the-last-signals-sent-to-paris/



The Urgent Need To Reform The FAA's Air Traffic Control System
by Robert W. Poole Jr. - Mar. 2007
Part 3, Pg 6 - Obstacles to Implementing the Next-Generation System
http://reason.org/files/7e27c68e7675e8a599716bab220978f5.pdf



« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 05:21:37 PM by kea001 »

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2009, 07:13:02 PM »
Pure speculation here...

Given Pilot reports on that route of "normal conditions", the fact that there was no Mayday, the fact that this is a very new plane with a very experienced crew makes a bomb less than far-fetched.

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2009, 07:34:31 PM »
But I will also add that a bomb going off right as the plane entered very stormy conditions is a stretch.

kea001

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2009, 08:56:48 PM »
I love this:

Quote

Pilot saw 'white light' where Air France flight lost

The captain of a Spanish airliner claims to have seen "an intense flash of white light" in the area where Air France Flight 447 was lost, the El Mundo newspaper said today. The co-pilot and a passenger on the Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon also saw the light, it said, adding that a written report from the captain has been sent on to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish civil aviation authority.

"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 into six segments," the unidentified captain wrote.

The Air Comet flight's position at the time was at seven degrees north latitude and 49 degrees west longitude, whereas the Air France flight was estimated to be on the equator and 30 degrees west longitude, El Mundo said.

"Given the coincidence of time and place, I bring to your attention these elements so that they may be, possibly, useful in casting a light on the facts," the captain wrote.


Using the coordinates given, the distance between the two planes would have been 2,000 kilometres or the distance between Boston and Nassau, Bahamas. Captain must have darn good eye sight.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 09:23:00 PM by kea001 »

Offline vianded

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2009, 10:04:59 PM »
wow... now the Brazilian government is saying that items/wreckage/oil found does not belong to AF447! my heart really goes out to the victims and their families.

* I understand that the black boxes have a "ping" how close you have to get to it to start picking it up?

« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 10:54:49 PM by vianded »

Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2009, 10:58:48 PM »
Yah, I just saw that on CNN.. this whole incident is really blizzard... That's a pretty big Aribus, you'd think they'd find something fairly easily, I wonder how far off course they deviated. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/06/04/plane.crash/index.html