Author Topic: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*  (Read 104409 times)

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2009, 11:03:46 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.


Air France 447 may not have been anywhere near the debris site then.  I think the observations by the pilot and passenger of Air Comet has to be used to try to triangulate a possible location to at least do a cursory search for debris.

Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2009, 11:15:50 PM »
Based on the weather report that was issues and the location of Air Comet flight, wouldn't it make sense he had tried to navigate around / out of the storm path?

Offline backyard billy

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #52 on: June 04, 2009, 11:19:18 PM »
First of all Hi I'm new!

Second, the wife of a man who was on board AF447 reported he hated to have his cell phone on and had it turned off most of the time. Well when she calls it, it rings no one picks up. I know when my cell phone is turned off it sends people to my voicemail, if the cell was underwater I wouldn't expect it to ring... what if they crashed on the ground and not in the sea.

Some of the passengers texted their loved ones and the only way that could be possible is if they were close to a place with cell towers, what are the chances this place crashed on one of the Islands in Fernando de Noronha ? I would hope that's where rescuers would look first.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 11:26:56 PM by backyard billy »

Offline Hollis

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #53 on: June 05, 2009, 12:51:06 AM »
I'm going to stretch my neck out here just a wee bit, but based on the information availble at this point, here is my analysis of what happened.
Airxcraft is cruising 522 mph at 35,000 ft altitude.
Line of heavy/severe thunderstorms ahead with tops from from 40,000-50,000 ft..
Aircraft penetrates storm line.
Satellite data shows vertical updrafts of 100mph in that area. (Equates to 8800 ft/min ROC, or vertical gust load of 148 ft/sec).
Per FAR 25.341, wings and tail surfaces are designed to withstand gust loads of 66 ft/sec at sea level, lesser at altitude (due to air density factor), plus a 1.5 safety factor, but no less than 2.5 Gs, and not necessarily more than 3.8 Gs. At 35,000 ft., the gust limit would be about 30-35 ft/sec. (that's one mighty sharp jolt - been there, done that).
Doesn't take a rocket scientist, but doing the math, the aircraft encountered  airloads far in excess of it's design limits, by a factor of at least two or more.
Result? In-flight structual failure. (Probably of the fuselage somewhere aft of the wing). Just my opinoin.



Offline backyard billy

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #54 on: June 05, 2009, 01:20:03 AM »
Doesn't take a rocket scientist, but doing the math, the aircraft encountered  airloads far in excess of it's design limits, by a factor of at least two or more.
Result? In-flight structual failure. (Probably of the fuselage somewhere aft of the wing). Just my opinoin.


I like your analysis but it scares the hell out of me to think a plane can encounter these conditions up there. Do you think an all composite wing could have made a difference here ?

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #55 on: June 05, 2009, 06:50:16 AM »
I'm going to stretch my neck out here just a wee bit, but based on the information availble at this point, here is my analysis of what happened.
Airxcraft is cruising 522 mph at 35,000 ft altitude.
Line of heavy/severe thunderstorms ahead with tops from from 40,000-50,000 ft..
Aircraft penetrates storm line.
Satellite data shows vertical updrafts of 100mph in that area. (Equates to 8800 ft/min ROC, or vertical gust load of 148 ft/sec).
Per FAR 25.341, wings and tail surfaces are designed to withstand gust loads of 66 ft/sec at sea level, lesser at altitude (due to air density factor), plus a 1.5 safety factor, but no less than 2.5 Gs, and not necessarily more than 3.8 Gs. At 35,000 ft., the gust limit would be about 30-35 ft/sec. (that's one mighty sharp jolt - been there, done that).
Doesn't take a rocket scientist, but doing the math, the aircraft encountered  airloads far in excess of it's design limits, by a factor of at least two or more.
Result? In-flight structual failure. (Probably of the fuselage somewhere aft of the wing). Just my opinoin.




Based on your experience, are you surprised that the pilots entered the storm line and did not turn back?

Offline vianded

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #56 on: June 05, 2009, 08:31:09 AM »
Line of heavy/severe thunderstorms ahead with tops from from 40,000-50,000 ft..
Aircraft penetrates storm line.
Satellite data shows vertical updrafts of 100mph in that area. (Equates to 8800 ft/min ROC, or vertical gust load of 148 ft/sec).

I thought there is a whather radar on board. is that correct? and from what I heard from an actual pilot when there are "severe" storms the radar DOES NOT recognizes the severity of these cells. if this is correct... why would a pilot enter this situation and not deviate from plotted course?

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #57 on: June 05, 2009, 09:26:56 AM »
I am hearing different things on how abnormal the weather pattern was that night for the area.

From the NYtimes:

"At AccuWeather.com, a commercial weather service, forecasters calculated that thunderstorms in the region of the crash could have generated updrafts in the range of 100 miles per hour, although Daniel G. Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist, conceded that this was not unusual weather."




Offline SooLineRob

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #58 on: June 05, 2009, 12:09:58 PM »
^^^

Interestingly, The Weather Channel has a very good piece regarding the weather aspect. It was posted on their site under "Today In Weather" section, Friday, June 5, 10:44 EDT. The data is indicating the weather AF447 encountered was rather MILD...

www.weather.com

P.S.: I couldn't link to the specific story, so visit TWC's home page.


Offline jedgar

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #59 on: June 05, 2009, 12:35:33 PM »
It's quite amazing how conflicting all of the reports are. Bad weather, mild weather, found wreckage, didn't find wreckage, bomb, not bomb, in storm, out of storm, low airsped, unknown airspeed.. amazing.. I think in reality, no one has a clue what is going on... and in my mind, that is more worrying than anything else.


Offline MathFox

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #60 on: June 05, 2009, 02:19:23 PM »
It's quite amazing how conflicting all of the reports are. Bad weather, mild weather, found wreckage, didn't find wreckage, bomb, not bomb, in storm, out of storm, low airsped, unknown airspeed.. amazing.. I think in reality, no one has a clue what is going on... and in my mind, that is more worrying than anything else.
People are trained by the media that they won't get attention if they say "I don't know", "It's too early to draw conclusions" or "We'll know more once we've analysed the wreckage and black boxes". What really infuriates me are the officials that report information that's later confirmed wrong.

[I like to end my rant on this topic here and turn to more constructive contributions.]
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 02:22:12 PM by MathFox »

Offline aviator_06

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2009, 02:48:40 PM »
Very Sad to hear.

Offline Hollis

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2009, 03:16:00 PM »
From Accuweather.com today:

Flight 447 encountered two thunderstorms prior to the crash. The first storm was south of the main cluster, and Flight 447 would have been hit by moderate to severe turbulence from that storm. A few minutes later, the aircraft entered the main cluster of explosive thunderstorms and was hit by severe turbulence. At this point, the updrafts and downdrafts would have been hitting the airplane from below and above. The severe turbulence may have started a chain of events that ultimately led to the crash of the plane.

While lightning may have been occurring at the top of the storm cluster, turbulence would have been the greater of the two weather factors that started the events. It is possible that lightning did strike the airplane during the severe turbulence, given the storms were towering to 50,000 feet.


Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #63 on: June 05, 2009, 03:44:52 PM »
From Accuweather.com today:

Flight 447 encountered two thunderstorms prior to the crash. The first storm was south of the main cluster, and Flight 447 would have been hit by moderate to severe turbulence from that storm. A few minutes later, the aircraft entered the main cluster of explosive thunderstorms and was hit by severe turbulence. At this point, the updrafts and downdrafts would have been hitting the airplane from below and above. The severe turbulence may have started a chain of events that ultimately led to the crash of the plane.

While lightning may have been occurring at the top of the storm cluster, turbulence would have been the greater of the two weather factors that started the events. It is possible that lightning did strike the airplane during the severe turbulence, given the storms were towering to 50,000 feet.



I understand this to be typical weather patterns for this time of year.

I am not sure weather was the primary factor, especially if they had already encountered two storms.

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #64 on: June 05, 2009, 04:53:04 PM »
"Separately, a Spanish newspaper quotes the crew of an Iberia Airbus A340 that flew seven minutes behind AF447 on the same track. According to the crew, air traffic control failed to contact the Air France jet after 1:33 a.m. zulu in spite of trying several times. The Iberia pilots - who deviated 30 miles east from the track to circumnavigate thick clowds - then tried to get in touch with their French colleagues, too, but did not succeed either. The pilot of a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 that had passed the region 30 minutes earlier said that he had to fly several detours to avoid heavy weather, but otherwise described the flight as routine."

"At 2:10 a.m. zulu, the autopilot was either switched off by the pilots or automatically. The function is switched off automatically if speed drops by some margin below a previously defined minimum."

Aviation weekly.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 05:01:20 PM by Saabeba »

kea001

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #65 on: June 05, 2009, 08:30:21 PM »

This one's an eye-opener:


"I was reading your excellent page on Flight 447. I'm not a meteorologist but I feel like I have an interest in this case:

In April 2006, I flew on a charter flight from Fortaleza to Budapest. A half an hour or so after departure ? i.e., more or less at the location where Flight 447 went down, we suffered massive turbulence. I've experienced significant turbulence before, but this was something of a different order. I think we may eventually have stalled, because it felt like the plane just stopped, and then we suddenly took a dive ? all the women and children were screaming by this time.  Fortunately, the dive ended after a minute or so. (Then the pilots took the plane up and up to a far higher altitude.)"

Andy G----
Budapest



Another good story:

Captain Paul Guidry/UAL
Marvelous analysis put together very quickly. One comment to pass along to the group:  Supercooled liquid IS possible at T < -43 C.  I have direct experience with this.  In the 1990s I was a dropsonde scientist on the NASA DC-8.   We were flying in an heavily electrified MCS over the Coral Sea during genesis of TC Oliver.  We were at 11.3 km and the corrected OAT = -44 deg C.  The flight crew called to our attention the fact that they were observing large liquid drops impacting the windshield.  At first I discounted this b/c the windshield is heated.  But minutes later having flown through the region, we lost cabin pressure.  Not explosive, rather gradual, but enough that the crew was rapidly becoming hypoxic.  Our leading theory was heavy rime icing of the cabin outflow valve.   An emergency descent was sufficient to melt the ice and restore cabin pressure.   Such heavy riming can only be accounted for by abundant supercooled water.  This corroborates the windshield observation.   We were also operating in a heavily electrified area (as measured by our e-field mills) which further corroborates the presence of intense updrafts lofting large amounts of water, and very likely into a very well-developed mixed phase region.

Thought this might provide some interesting commentary... and the textbooks sometimes get it wrong.

Dr. Jeff H-----

from:
http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/comments.shtml

In response to:
Air France Flight 447:
A detailed meteorological analysis
by Tim Vasquez
Revised June 4, 2009
http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 08:39:33 PM by kea001 »

Offline blavatsky3

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #66 on: June 05, 2009, 09:07:28 PM »
Why haven't military submarines been deployed to locate the pinger on the Flight Data Recorder so that deep submersibles can do their stuff ?

The accident happened 1st June, 2009

Who are they trying to fool ?

It seems they want us to believe it was a safe Aircraft A330-200.

So much hi-tech but still can't find it ?

I bet if it had a tonne of gold on it they would have found it by now...

the ADIRU was made by Honeywell according to two sources I found and not the Northrop Grumman version which caused problems on Qantas Flight 72 on October 7th, 2008 near Western Australia.

Joseph Mangan claimed he knew of a defect on the AIRBUS which could cause a catastrophic depressurization.

see here

http://markcole.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/joe-mangan-in-jail-in-austria-for-whistle-blowing/

and this one

http://web.archive.org/web/20061101075640/http://www.joe-mangan.com/
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 09:10:23 PM by blavatsky3 »

Offline joeyb747

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #67 on: June 05, 2009, 10:00:53 PM »
Here is another idea...

The lines below are from the article from FOX News at the bottom.

"One theory of the crash is that the tubes feeding speed sensors may have iced over, confusing plane computers and causing the plane to fly too fast or slow in rough weather."

"The memo sent Friday says Air France has been replacing instruments known as pitot tubes and will finish in "coming weeks." It does not say when it started."

"The plane's creator, Airbus, is warning airline crews to follow standard procedures if they suspect speed indicators on their crafts are faulty, suggesting that technical malfunction may have played a role in this week's Air France crash, Reuters reported."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,525181,00.html

I saw something similar to this the other day while looking at the news on my phone. This is the closest I could find to what I read on my phone...here it is in a nutshell:

The pitot tube heaters failed.
They were flying is an obviously moist environment.
The pitot tube iced over, causing erroneous readings in the cockpit.
This caused the aircraft to eventually slow, and stall.

Not my idea...just found it interesting. One of those ideas that make you scratch your chin, and say "Hmmm...". Just wanted to toss it up for debate.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 10:04:46 PM by joeyb747 »

Offline delta092b

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #68 on: June 05, 2009, 10:03:59 PM »
Why haven't military submarines been deployed to locate the pinger on the Flight Data Recorder so that deep submersibles can do their stuff ?


They have. The French have one en-route to the area already.

Offline vianded

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2009, 10:36:31 PM »
from all the talking and speculating going around.... I get this:
under certain wheather conditions an aircraft will pretty much break apart. It sounds that these conditions occur quite frequently in certain regions.
Please someone tell me I'm wrong 
because I fly couple of times per year to south America and I will be extremely concern when we get some turbulence!

Offline atcman23

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2009, 10:37:45 PM »
I think this topic went from "I wonder what caused it to crash" to "who can we blame and for what?" pretty quick.  "It seems they want us to believe it was a safe Aircraft A330-200?"  What is that supposed to mean?  It's not like those aircraft drop out of the sky weekly?  Actually, it's the first major Airbus A330 crash I can recall.  And it is a safe aircraft.  The fact that it crashed in the middle and one of the deepest parts of the Atlantic makes it pretty difficult to find an airplane.  Yeah it's a big plane but the ocean is much bigger and finding a FDR/CVR on the ocean floor over 3 miles down is probably harder than finding a needle in a haystack.  There is a submersible on the way to the crash site.  Unfortunately boats don't travel fast so it takes time.

I've kept up with the news on this accident and read many articles since it has occurred and watched posts on here.  And finally, we're getting into the time period where all the crazy ideas start blossoming.  Of all of them posted here, I think the Accuweather.com article makes the most sense.  Which is rare, I usually don't agree with Accuweather, however, the article makes sense given the thunderstorms that typically occur along the Equator.  Those storms are rather intense, and are unlike "normal" storms that we experience here in the U.S.  That is why pilots are supposed to avoid severe and extreme turbulence.  It can and will cause structural damage to an aircraft.  It doesn't matter if it hit a storm once or three times with strong turbulence.  Yeah, maybe the aircraft hit two prior storms with strong turbulence however, once it hit the next round of turbulence, it was either stronger than the turbulence prior or just as strong and with a weakened airframe, was enough to cause structural failure.  Also, given the take from another post from a dropsonde scientist with a similar experience, it actually gives the Accuweather article a better argument.  We could even be looking at a severe turbulence and icing event (we'll never know if the aircraft received any icing, however, unless the FDR/CVR gets recovered and the pilots discuss icing).  With such intense updrafts, massive amounts of moisture and very cold temperatures, icing could form very quickly.  

While they don't know what speed the aircraft was traveling at (again, we won't know until the FDR is recovered), I think Air France's panic reaction to replacing pitot tubes on its fleet is rather premature.  It costs lots of money to replace such a system and it's not just replacing a probe either.  You're also replacing several aircraft instruments that depend on ram air from the pitot tubes to operate.  And there's nothing new to pitot tube icing.  That's why pitot tubes are heated.  Yes, it's possible that the heaters failed and iced over, in which case, yes, the aircraft computers would give false readings.  Even the old analog gauges would give false readings, so the computers in this case didn't cause the error.

Again, as most are saying, I think we're going to find that a series of small events occurred before the one catastrophic event occurred.  I also think that, given the news we've had more recently, those small events happened rather quickly.

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #71 on: June 05, 2009, 11:13:44 PM »
Actman,

If the Spanish newspaper account is correct, an A340 (very similar plane) flew on the same track a few miles behind and a 747-400 flew 30 minutes prior.  They were avoiding the darkest clouds.  This appears to be standard procedure this time of year.

Questions I have:

1)  Why would AF447 not communicate with the Iberia plane and air traffic control?

2)  Why no Mayday or other communication?

3)  Why would they fly right into a storm when other traffic that night was flying around the storms?

I believe weather was the ultimate factor, but what lead to the lack of communication and the decision (if intentional) to fly into the terrible storms?  It is like a car that crashes into a tree.  Yes the tree did the damage, bu what lead to the trajectory toward the tree?

I realize this is pure, and probably misinformed, speculation at this point.

Offline backyard billy

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2009, 11:21:28 PM »
from all the talking and speculating going around.... I get this:
under certain wheather conditions an aircraft will pretty much break apart. It sounds that these conditions occur quite frequently in certain regions.
Please someone tell me I'm wrong 
because I fly couple of times per year to south America and I will be extremely concern when we get some turbulence!


I would fly to Miami then take a connecting flight to Europe.

Offline Saabeba

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #73 on: June 05, 2009, 11:27:57 PM »

"At least 12 airplanes shared the trans-Atlantic sky with doomed Air France Flight 447, but none reported any problems, deepening the mystery surrounding the cause of the plane's disappearance.

Airlines confirmed that at least a dozen aircraft departed roughly at the same time and traversed approximately the same route, but did not report problematic weather conditions. This has led some aviation experts to suggest that technical problems on the airplane might be the main cause of the crash, though they may have combined with weather conditions to create serious problems."

"In addition to Flight 447, Air France had four other Paris-bound flights that left in the same broad time frame from that part of the world, according to an airline spokesman. One flight left Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at 1620 hrs local time.

At that same moment, another Air France flight left nearby Sao Paulo. A third Air France flight left Buenos Aires, Argentina, at 1750 hrs, also heading for Paris. A final Air France flight left Sao Paulo at 1910 hrs., almost exactly when the doomed flight took off from Rio.

All of these flights took a similar route toward Paris, heading first toward Recife on the east coast of Brazil and then continuing northeast over the Atlantic. None of the other flights experienced anything unusual, the spokesman said. All arrived in Paris the next day, with no significant delays of any kind.

That same evening two Air Iberia flights bound for Madrid, Spain, left Brazil at about the same time as Flight 447; one departed from Rio de Janeiro and another from Sao Paulo, according to officials at Iberia. Those flights also reported no problems.

It was the same story for one British Air flight and three Air TAM Brazil flights, all of which flew routes similar to the missing plane.

Although none of the other flights are known to have reported weather problems en route, aviation experts said weather can change suddenly and vary over short distances, so one plane might experience conditions far worse than another."

Either very localized, unexpected conditions, or a serious technical malfunction.  If the heater for the Pitot tube failed, the pilots may have inadverdently slowed the plane due to an incorrect plane speed reading down to the point where the auto-pilot disengaged, and it was too late to avoid the clouds or save the plane.


Offline backyard billy

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Re: *Air France jet missing over Atlantic*
« Reply #74 on: June 05, 2009, 11:29:42 PM »
Can someone tell me why GPS can't be used to get an approximate speed, or at the very least provide a backup indicator so that the pilots can sense if something is wrong with the pitot tubes?

*Edit: I googled my question and I'm a little embarrassed for asking it... didn't realize the difference between ground speed and air speed (I'm a Noob).
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 11:46:56 PM by backyard billy »