Skip to comments.French: Air France plane hit the sea belly first
Posted on 07/02/2009 5:38:12 PM PDT by BenLurkin
Air France Flight 447 slammed into the Atlantic Ocean, intact and belly first, at such a high speed that the 228 people aboard probably had no time to even inflate their life jackets, French investigators said Thursday in their first report into the June 1 accident.
Problematic speed sensors on the Airbus A330-200 jet that have been the focus of intense speculation since the crash may have misled the plane's pilots but were not a direct cause, Bouillard said...
The plane was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it went down in a remote area of the Atlantic, 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) off Brazil's mainland and far from radar coverage.
The speed sensors, called Pitot tubes, are "a factor but not the only one," Bouillard said. "It is an element but not the cause," Bouillard told a news conference in Le Bourget outside Paris.
Other elements that came under scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the crash, such as the possibility that heavy storms or lightning may have brought down the jet, were also downplayed in the BEA's presentation.
Meteorological data show the presence of storm clouds in the area the jet would have flown through, but nothing out of the ordinary for the equatorial region in June, Bouillard said, eliminating the theory that the plane could have encountered a storm of unprecedented power. Other flights through the area shortly after Flight 447 disappeared didn't report unusual weather, Bouillard said.
"Between the surface of the water and 35,000 feet, we don't know what happened," Bouillard acknowledged. "In the absence of the flight recorders, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions."
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...
Aggravated stall, AKA flat spin is the only thing that could explain this. Stall’s are caused by insufficient air speed. At least they’ve narrowed the scope of what they’re looking for.
BUT ... IIRC the VS was found FAR from the presumed impact area (debris field), leading one to infer that perhaps the VS ‘fell off’ before the ‘flat spin’. who knows
Two cases of empennage “falling off” Airbuses. Not good.
Shades of the Lockheed L-188 Electra problems.
Those poor folks. It seems to me that a dive from 35,000’ has got to be a very long flight of terror.
So, were there victims found with clothes ripped off or was that a false cover story? How could victims be found naked if the plane went down basically in tact?
While certainly not the ‘only thing’, the flat spin is a big possibility.
Especially with reports of 100mph updrafts.
Another thing that could cause a flat spin is if the vertical stabilizer breaks off.
It's not uncommon for passenger's clothes to be ripped off and for them to be found at least partially naked in more conventional crashes. The famous crash off the coast of Africa that was caught on tape back in the 90's, also had bodies wash ashore that were naked, or partially naked.
It's the inertia of the impact that sometimes strips bodies of clothing, shoes and jewelry.
I thought the same. However, (a poster whose moniker I forget mentioned this) the tail floats.
It could have drifted on the currents, which would explain it being found far away.
My reason for thinking the tail broke off first, is that it was found so intact.
If the rest of the plane’s parts are twisted and distorted, why is the tail in one piece?
Yes, in addition to a lack of sufficient airspeed, loss of a major control surface, like a vertical stabilizer or even a partial loss of a wing, could also cause an aggravated stall.
What happens to a plane if you go through a 100mph updraft, and then when you suddenly exit, your indicators go bonkers?
And you are totally on IFR.
Terrorists took over the cockpit and augered it in through incompitence! Or the Airbuust lost its tail like AA582 and was not controllale, but then the Pilots shoulda had time to call a Mayday!
What happened to all the early on “proof” that it broke up at high altitude - e.g. bodies were stripped of clothing from having fallen from high altitude, etc...?
That is my question, why then no MAYDAY?
This is why this new information is so puzzling. We have an aircraft, like all passenger aircraft, that is designed to return to straight and level flight. And, assuming this happened at altitude, 35K feet is more than enough real estate to regain control of the aircraft and resume level flight - assuming that the airplane was controllable and under power.
Also, a commercial airliner is not built to withstand the stress of a 30K foot (or more) flat spin. I can't imagine it not breaking apart, at least big parts of it, before it hit the water.
While the bottom to top crushing of the fuselage is an interesting and enlightening clue, it leaves many, many questions unanswered.
Icing shouldn’t have been a problem because the pitot tubes all have heaters on them. Unless they find the FDR we may never know.
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