France 447 Crash Update
As of June 4th, 2009
June 4th, 2009,
- Brazilian search crews fished the first debris from a crashed Air
France flight out of choppy Atlantic waters on Thursday amid concern
the plane may have flown through a storm at the wrong speed.
Airbus declined to comment and the French air accident investigation agency, which has to validate any such recommendations, was not available for comment..
Pilots often slow down when entering stormy zones to avoid damaging the aircraft, but reducing speed too much can cause an aircraft's engines to stall..
A Brazilian Lynx helicopter picked up a luggage pallet and two buoys before returning to a navy frigate sent to the area to help with the rescue, Brazil's air force said..
The crews also found yellow, brown and white items that appeared to come from the inside of the aircraft..
Searchers have found several debris sites spread out over 90 km (56 miles), a sign the plane may have broken up in the air..
The Air France A330-200 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it plunged into the Atlantic four hours into its flight. Air France has told relatives of the 228 people on board there is no hope of survivors..
Experts have been mystified by the sudden crash of a modern airliner operated by three experienced pilots, with theories on the cause ranging from extreme turbulence to a loss of cabin pressure to possible computer system faults..
Three Brazilian navy ships are searching the area about 1,100 km (680 miles) northeast of Brazil's coast, but have yet to reach the debris. Searchers have seen no traces of bodies..
"We were giving priority to finding bodies, but as we haven't found any we have time to collect the debris," Air Force Brigadier Ramon Borges Cardoso told reporters in the northern coastal city of Recife. "If we find bodies, we will stop everything and bring them here.".
From a base on the islands of Fernando de Noronha, a sparsely populated volcanic archipelago 370 km (230 miles) from Brazil's coast, 11 air force planes have been carrying out search operations over a 6,000 sq km (2,300 sq mile) area..
Several hundred relatives and friends of the passengers crammed into the Candelaria church in Rio on Thursday morning, crying and hugging each other..
"Those who are missing are here in our hearts and in our memories," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told them..
SUDDEN, BRUTAL CRASH.
Brazil's defense minister Nelson Jobim said on Wednesday the presence of long fuel stains in the water could mean the crash was not caused by an explosion, which would have burned the fuel..
Jobim's remarks undercut speculation that a bomb may have blown up the plane in mid-air, a possibility intelligence services and security analysts say seems unlikely..
French authorities have not excluded the possibility of foul play. With the flight data and voice recorders probably at the bottom of the ocean, officials are worried they may never discover what caused AF Flight 447 to drop out of the sky..
The crash appears to have been sudden and brutal..
Spanish newspaper El Mundo said a transatlantic airline pilot reported seeing a flash of white light at the same time the Air France flight disappeared..
"Suddenly we saw in the distance a strong, intense flash of white light that took a downward, vertical trajectory and disappeared in six seconds," the pilot of an Air Comet flight from Lima to Madrid told his company, the newspaper reported..
The plane sent a series of automatic messages in the space of four minutes indicating system failures and a sharp dive, specialist magazine Aviation Herald said on its Web site, citing Air France sources..
The messages started arriving at 0210 GMT on Monday, indicating the automatic pilot had been disengaged, and ended at 0214 with an advisory that the cabin was at "vertical speed.".
A problem with the aircraft's speed could be part of the puzzle, but one expert said it was doubtful whether any of the plane's flight readings were accurate in its final moments..
"Was the airplane going slowly or was it indicating that it was going slowly? There's a big difference." said John Cox, President of Washington aviation consulting firm Safety Operating Systems.
Provided catch4all.com, Sandra Englund
Debris Confirms Crash Of Air France Flight 447
are emerging about the disappearance of an Air France flight from Brazil
to France in the early hours of Monday.
Flight AF 447 left Rio de Janeiro, bound for Paris, at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday 31 May.
aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 with registration F-GZCP, had been in operation
since April 2005.
|TUESDAY 2 JUNE||
2009 GMT: Brazilian defence minister confirms that debris spotted in the Atlantic is from the Air France flight.
1230 GMT: Debris is sighted by Brazilian search planes looking for the missing airliner 650km (390 miles) north-east of Brazil's Fernando do Noronha island. .
|MONDAY 1 JUNE||
1810 GMT: Air France releases the full passenger list, showing that most of those aboard are Brazilians or French. There are 32 nationalities in all.
1651 GMT: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the prospect of finding survivors from the flight is "very slim".
1632 GMT: An Air France spokesman confirms there are 80 Brazilians on board the missing plane, as well as German, Italian, American, Chinese, British and Spanish citizens.
1515 GMT: It is reported that most of the 228 people on board the missing airliner are Brazilian, while at least 40 are French and 20 are German, according to a French minister.
1303 GMT: Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he fears British citizens may be on board the aircraft.
1213 GMT: Air France suggests the electrical fault may have been caused by the plane suffering a lightning strike.
1142 GMT: Air France confirms it received a message about an electrical fault from the aircraft.
1140 GMT: Brazil's air force says Flight AF 447 was "well advanced" over the Atlantic Ocean when it went missing.
1116 GMT: Senior French minister Jean-Louis Borloo says the plane would have run out of fuel by this point, and adds: "We must now envisage the most tragic scenario." He rules out a hijacking.
1036 GMT: Air France confirms it is "without news" from the aircraft.
1017 GMT: Brazil's air force confirms a search and rescue operation is under way near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.
0935 GMT: Paris airport officials announce to the public that flight AF 447 is missing.
0910 GMT: Aircraft was due to land at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
0715 GMT: Air France decided "the situation was serious", according to the airline's chief executive Pierre Henri Gourgeon. Plans to establish a crisis centre are drawn up.
0214 GMT: According to the airline, an automated message was received indicating an "electrical circuit malfunction" on board.
0200 GMT: The aircraft crossed through a "thunderous zone with strong turbulence" according to an Air France statement.
0148 GMT: AF 477 leaves zone of radar surveillance off the Fernando de Noronha islands, about 350 km (217 miles) off the coast of Brazil.
0133 GMT: Last radio contact with flight AF 447, according to the Brazilian air force.
|SUNDAY 31 MAY||2200 GMT: AF 447 takes off from Rio de Janeiro's Galeao International Airport, heading for Paris Charles de Gaulle.|
Debris Confirms Crash Of Air France Flight 447
As of April 2009, Airbus Total Orders, 557, Total Deliveries are 343, and 341 A330-200 Planes are in operation.
Reported by Catch4all.com, Sandra Englund
Air France plane AF447 (A330-200) disappears off radar over the Atlantic
" Flight was on its way from Brazil to Paris with 228 on board; Brazil says automatic message from plane reported loss of pressure as well as electrical fault "
from Brazil missing over Atlantic AP Video Monday, Jun. 01, 2009 10:44AM
EDT An Air France jet carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris
is missing after running into lightning and strong thunderstorms over
the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil began a search mission off its northeastern
coast. (June. 1)
PARIS, France (CNN) -- An Air France plane feared to have crashed in the Atlantic with 228 people aboard reported electrical problems in stormy weather before it lost contact, the airline said Monday, describing the loss as a "catastrophe."
Officials said the Airbus A330-200 sent automated messages of electrical failure and pressure loss as it hit turbulence, vanishing from the radar early in its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Brazil and France have scrambled search and rescue aircraft on both sides of the Atlantic, but with a vast area to scour, there were dwindling hopes of finding survivors.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his "very deep concern" over the loss of flight AF447. Sarkozy was reported to be heading to Charles de Gaulle where a crisis center has been set up for grieving relatives.
The loss of
a relatively new model of one of the aviation sector's most reliable
and state-of-the-art aircraft has stunned analysts who say it would
take extremely violent weather to bring down such a large jet.
The last known
contact with the plane -- carrying 126 men, 82 women, seven children
and a baby, plus the crew -- was at 0133 GMT Monday (8:33 p.m. Sunday
ET), according to the Brazilian Air Force.
France's ambassador to Senegal told CNN affiliate BFMTV that French military aircraft had been dispatched to search the west African country's coast.
Air France has set up a hotline in connection with the incident: 0800 800 812 in France, or +33 157021055 for international callers.
Th airline's CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told a news conference: "I can say without doubt that this is a catastrophe." He said: "The entire Air France company and its staff are very moved and affected by this."
has also set up a hotline: 0800 800 812 in France, or +33 157021055
for international callers.
CNN air travel
expert Richard Quest says the twin-engine plane, a stalwart of transatlantic
routes, has an impeccable safety record, with only one fatal incident
involving a training flight in 1994.
Source by: Keller reported from Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France. Associated Press reporters Emma Vandore, Laurent Lemel and Laurent Pirot in Paris; Marco Sibaja in Brasilia, Slobodan Lekic in Brussels, Belgium; Barry Hatton in Lisbon and Airlines and Transportation Editor Greg Stec in New York contributed to this report.
-- French President Nicolas Sarkozy told families of those aboard Monday that "prospects of finding survivors are very small."
The area where the plane could have gone down is vast, in the middle of very deep Atlantic Ocean waters between Brazil and the coast of Africa. Brazil's military searched for it off its northeast coast, while the French military scoured the ocean near the Cape Verde Islands off the West African coast.
If all 228 were killed, it would be the world's deadliest commercial airline disaster since 2001.
Sarkozy, speaking at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, said the cause is unclear and that "no hypothesis" is being excluded. He called it "a catastrophe like Air France has never before known."
"(I met with) a mother who lost her son, a fiancee who lost her future husband. I told them the truth," he said.
Sarkozy said "it will be very difficult" to find the plane because the zone where it is believed to have disappeared "is immense." He said France has asked for U.S. satellite help to locate the plane.
Chief Air France spokesman Francois Brousse said "it is possible" the plane was hit by lightning, but aviation experts expressed doubt that a bolt of lightning was enough to bring the plane down.
Air France Flight 447, a 4-year-old Airbus A330, left Rio Sunday night with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board, said company spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand.
The plane indicated it was still flying normally more than three hours later as it left Brazil radar contact, beyond the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, at 10:48 local time (0148 GMT, 9:48 p.m. EDT). It was flying at 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and traveling at 522 mph (840 kph).
About a half-hour later, the plane "crossed through a thunderous zone with strong turbulence." It sent an automatic message fourteen minutes later at 0214 GMT (10:14 p.m. EDT Sunday) reporting electrical failure and a loss of cabin pressure.
Air France told Brazilian authorities the last information they heard was that automated message, reporting a technical problem before the plane reached a monitoring station near the Cape Verde islands. Brazilian, African, Spanish and French air traffic controllers tried in vain to establish contact with the plane, the company said.
Brazilian Air Force spokesman Col. Jorge Amaral said seven aircraft had been deployed to search the area far off the northeastern Brazilian coast. Brazil's Navy sent three ships.
"We want to try to reach the last point where the aircraft made contact, which is about 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) northeast of Natal," Amaral told Globo TV.
Meteorologists said tropical storms are much more violent than thunderstorms in the United States and elsewhere.
"Tropical thunderstorms ... can tower up to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters). At the altitude it was flying, it's possible that the Air France plane flew directly into the most charged part of the storm - the top," Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com, said in a statement.
Portuguese air control authorities say the missing plane did not make contact with controllers in Portugal's mid-Atlantic Azores Islands nor, as far as they know, with other Atlantic air traffic controllers in Cape Verde, Casablanca, or the Canary islands.
In Washington, a Pentagon official said he'd seen no indication that terrorism or foul play was involved. He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject.
The 216 passengers included 126 men, 82 women, 7 children and a baby, Air France said. There were 61 French and 58 Brazilians; 30 other countries were represented, including two Americans.
In Brazil, sobbing relatives were flown to Rio de Janeiro, where Air France was assisting the families. Andres Fernandes, his eyes tearing up, said a relative "was supposed to be on the flight, but we need to confirm it," Globo TV reported.
At the Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris, family members declined to speak to reporters and were brought to a cordoned-off crisis center.
Air France said it expressed "its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew members" aboard Flight 447. The airline did not explicitly say there were no survivors, leaving that subject to Sarkozy.
Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said the pilot had 11,000 hours of flying experience, including 1,700 hours flying this aircraft.
Experts said the absence of a mayday call meant something happened very quickly.
"The conclusion to be drawn is that something catastrophic happened on board that has caused this airplane to ditch in a controlled or an uncontrolled fashion," Jane's Aviation analyst Chris Yates told The Associated Press. "Potentially it went down very quickly and so quickly that the pilot on board didn't have a chance to make that emergency call."
But aviation experts said the risk the plane was brought down by lightning was slim.
"Lightning issues have been considered since the beginning of aviation. They were far more prevalent when aircraft operated at low altitudes. They are less common now since it's easier to avoid thunderstorms," said Bill Voss, president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, Alexandria, Va.
He said planes have specific measures built in to help dissipate electricity along the aircraft's skin, and are tested for resistance to big electromagnetic shocks and equipped to resist them. He said the plane should be found, because it has backup locators that should continue to function even in deep water.
If all 228 people were killed, it would be the deadliest commercial airline disaster since Nov. 12, 2001, when an American Airlines jetliner crashed in the New York City borough of Queens during a flight to the Dominican Republic, killing 265 people. On Feb. 19, 2003, 275 people were killed in the crash of an Iranian military plane carrying members of the Revolutionary Guards as it prepared to land at Kerman airport in Iran.
The worst single-plane disaster was in 1985 when a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashed into a mountainside after losing part of its tail fin, killing 520 people.
"Our thoughts are with the passengers and with the families of the passengers," said Airbus spokeswoman Maggie Bergsma.
She said it was the first fatal accident of a A330-200 since a test flight in 1994 went wrong, killing seven people in Toulouse.
The Airbus A330-200 is a twin-engine, long-haul, medium-capacity passenger jet that can hold up to 253 passengers. There are 341 in use worldwide, flying up to 7,760 miles (12,500 kilometers) a trip.
The A330-200 was developed to compete with the Boeing 767-300ER. The A330-200 is similar to the A340-200 or a shortened version of the A330-300. With poor sales of the A340-200 (of which only 28 were built), Airbus decided to use the fuselage of the A340-200 with the wings and engines of the A330-300. This significantly improved the economics of the plane and made the model more popular than the four-engined variant.
Its vertical fin is taller than that of the A330-300 to restore its effectiveness due to the shorter moment arm of the shorter fuselage. It has additional fuel capacity and, like the A330-300, has a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 233 tonnes. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 12,500 km (6,750 nautical miles).
Power is provided by two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. All engines are ETOPS-180 min rated. First customer deliveries, to ILFC/Canada 3000, were in April 1998. It is being used in more than 15,000 airplanes.
The A330-200 is the newest member of Airbus' widebody twinjet family and is a long range, shortened development of the standard A330, developed in part as a replacement for the A300-600R and a competitor to the 767-300ER. The Boeing equivalent is currently the 767-300ER and in the future will be the 787-8.
The 767-300ER is the extended-range version of the -300. It first flew in 1986 and received its first commercial orders when American Airlines purchased several in 1987. The aircraft entered service with AA in 1988. In 1995, EVA Air used a 767-300ER to inaugurate the first transpacific 767 service. The -300ER has a takeoff run of up to 11,800 ft (3,600 m). The 767-300ER can be retrofitted with blended winglets from Aviation Partners Boeing. These winglets are 11 ft (3.4 m) long and will decrease fuel consumption an estimated 6.5% on the -300ER.
Although media shows that it may be very difficult to find the plane because of the zone, thoughts and sincere prayers for those of who are related this incident and hope there is better news to come....
Reported by catch4all.com, Sandra Englund, June 1st, 2009
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