Topic of the Week: Air France Wreckage Found

It looks like search teams have found most of the wreckage from the Air France flight that went down off the coast of Brazil back in 2009. Anyone want to guess what they’ll be able to figure out from this?

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13 Comments on "Topic of the Week: Air France Wreckage Found"

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matt weber
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The answer may turn out to be ‘NOT MUCH’. I have two concerns about the FDR and CVR even if they are recovered. We have already had several accidents in which the data from both recorders was never captured because of complete loss of electrical power on the aircraft prior to impact. The secondary issue is just how tolerant the storage system is to 2 years of salt water exposure at deep ocean depth/pressure. This is an area where the old magnetic tape storage materials may have been crude by current technology standards, but was in fact remarkably robust. It… Read more »
cstclair
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I agree with Matt, it will though be interesting to learn how the FDR & CDR have made out in these conditions so that the next generation might be made more durable. And, as the old adage goes, any new information gleaned might shed light on this mystery.

David SF eastbay
Member

I had not heard about them finding wreckage. But what a sad topic to end the week with, the reminder of the death of 200+ people.

From the wreckage they should be able to tell from what part of the plane did or did not cause a problem like an explosion or something.

Sean
Guest

I’m guessing that if they find the flight recorders they’ll just confirm the theories that have already been proposed. The accident was probably similar to what happened to China Airlines flight 006, where a slight mechanical problem combined with poor crew resource management almost led to disaster. Here they most likely had non-critical mechanical problem + CRM difficulties + horrible turbulence and weather which together was enough to cause this accident.

J Norman
Guest

I was just watching the Nova special on this a couple of weeks ago. I agree it may be tough to discern a whole lot because of the salt water but I think the forensics people will find enough to point to the pitot static system like it has on other A330s.

Ace_dc
Guest

Just goes to show that Nessie is a fake. With this technology, they should have found her by now, right?

Steve
Guest

Well put

rrmalik
Member

@Sean: On what basis do you make the claim that poor crew resource management contributed to the crash of AF447? That seems like complete speculation to me.

Sean
Guest
@Rahul, The theory I mentioned is detailed in the Nova special on flight 447. It is speculation. However it’s speculation based on the few facts known about the case and the historical causes of aviation accidents. The two main “facts” known about the case are: 1. The Pitot tubes failed, depriving the plane of altitude and speed information. and 2. The plane impacted the water belly first and intact. Pitot tube failure alone shouldn’t be enough to bring down an airliner, and the plane hitting the water belly first indicates that it was likely in a controllable state. Combine these… Read more »
Ace_dc
Guest

Frankly, I found that there is a lot of money able to be spent in tragedy. How many millions spent on this second effort? Couldn’t be spent on research for better technology?

Sean
Guest

You could argue that the money spent on the search is money being spent on better technology. They need to find out what happened to the plane to know what better technology could have prevented the accident.

Elliott P.
Guest

The article states that a judge handed down a preliminary decision that Airbus can be charged with manslaughter due to this case. Now THAT is a topic for a Friday discussion. Seems ridiculous to me.

sander.mertz
Member
What this will give the investigators is more data – data on how the airplane came apart and information on the wreckage itself, which can say a lot about the accident. It’s VERY premature to discuss pilot error. Don’t forget they were in an area of severe thunderstorms when they began receiving erroneous airspeed information. That is a significant factor that needs to be considered, in my opinion. There seem to be a number of contributing factors that made the situation the pilots faced very difficult and complicated. I hope the FDR and CVR are both recoverable and have retrievable… Read more »
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