Skip to comments.228 Feared Dead as Air France Jet Is Lost Off Brazil
Posted on 06/01/2009 4:48:26 PM PDT by Cincinna
An Air France passenger jet traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared and was presumed to have crashed after its electrical systems malfunctioned during a violent electric storm on Sunday evening. Officials said Monday that a search had begun for the wreckage in a vast swath of the Atlantic Ocean.
Experts were at a loss to explain fatal damage to a modern jetliner from either lightning or turbulence, even that of a tropical storm.
Air France is extremely distraught and the whole team of Air France is suffering, Pierre Henri Gourgeon, the chief executive of Air France-KLM, told reporters in Paris. We would like to say to the relatives of the victims that we are totally with them and will make every effort to help them.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said: Its a tragic accident. The chances of finding survivors are tiny.
The plane, an Airbus 330-200, was carrying 216 passengers, 9 cabin crew members and 3 pilots, the airline said. In all, people of 32 nationalities were on the plane, most of them Brazilian or European. There were also two Americans, the airline said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
There's only three kinds of turbulence: light, moderate, and severe. I only encountered moderate turbulence once. (I really didn't think it was that bad, but that's what the folks ahead of me were calling it.) When I did, the non-pilot who was riding with me kissed the ground after we landed. These guys supposedly encountered severe turbulence; and then the bomb went off, I guess.
“Some people have no clue.”
At this point no one knows for sure with the information that is public.
The scenarios will narrow rapidly as more information is gathered.
I’m just telling you what I heard. I’m not a pilot or an authority on it and I can’t even tell you what I was watching. I just heard that planes fly through storms all the time and don’t vanish. Since this one did, they are wondering about other “issues” - i.e. a bomb.
“...but HOW CAN an airliner disappear?!?! “
Back in the 90s, when dh was deployed aboard ship, two of the a/c launched and took off into the night sky. Within minutes, one of the planes disappeared. There were no distress calls made. It was believed that the pilot perhaps, experienced vertigo and hit the water. The pilot in the other plane circled back to locate his squadron mate, and others were called in for assistance in the search.
Nothing was found. The entire MEU was halted and rescue teams searched for 24-48 hours - and they were RIGHT there! They had the exact area within a few square miles. No debris was found anywhere.
So...I’m just saying.
I spilled my coffee when I saw a breaking news report on the overhead TV about an A330 lost over the Atlantic. Say again, please...
I have been listening to the media talking heads and the aviation experts for about an hour since waking from my nap. Overall, I think the mainstream coverage is within the proverbial ball park on this one. I cannot believe I am saying this...
But, here are two things being reported with which I will disagree:
1. (Media says,"A bolt of lightning cannot, by itself, bring down a modern airliner.") A bolt of lightning could easily wreck an aircraft and cause a crash by itself. Yes, lightning strikes on aircraft occur everyday. I have been struck many times over my career. Usually, it is a non-event causing only minor damage or none at all. However, if an aircraft is in the vicinity of a very large thunderstorm, it could be struck by a super bolt of lightning reeking total havoc with disastrous results.
2. (Media says,"Turbulence cannot, by itself, bring down a modern airliner.")Turbulence could easily wreck an aircraft and cause a crash by itself. Severe turbulence in the vicinity of a very large thunderstorm, or even a lesser one, has to be experienced to be believed. I have been inside thunderstorms several times in my career. It is unavoidable when you are a professional pilot. Anyone who disagrees with the previous sentence has not flown enough miles or has been very lucky. As a Line pilot, I go to great, even extreme lengths to stay out of thunderstorms for obvious reasons. Passengers pay me to deliver them safely to their loved ones.
A thunderstorm is a violent and scary entity. It has the power, and I mean real power, to easily rip the wings from an A330, or any other make or model of aircraft. No problem whatsoever.
On the automatic radio messages sent to Mother... Yep, Fi-Fi will send a message to the mainframe (think H.A.L.) when certain key malfunctions have occurred. It is a design feature of the Airbus Industries aircraft. Think you can hide a pesky malfunction from Mother so that you can do that last turn of the day and get home to Momma? You better be careful.
I will put forward two scenarios that may have happened to this jet:
First- Struck by a super bolt which fried the electronics causing depressurization, loss of electrical power and finally, a high altitude upset in IFR conditions (dark, turbulent, scary) leading to catastrophe.
Second- Encountered severe turbulence between or in thunderstorms. Airframe damage and/or failure leads to depressurization, loss of electrical power and finally, disaster.
Whatever happened, it was not pretty. The pax were terrified and the pilots were surely fighting until impact.
An A330 has crashed in the Atlantic... That fact is unbelievable.
Life on the Line continues...
Thanks for the material from FL390, very good info from an obviously informed source on airline ops.
And, just because it hasn’t appeared in this thread yet: If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going.
Speak for yourself. I've seen the weather radar, and heard reports that they encountered severe turbulence. Have you seen what Andrew did to Homestead, or Katrina did to New Orleans? If the atmosphere wants to destroy an airplane it can. I've also heard reports of decompression, which would mean a hole somewhere; and then the plane would be extremely vulnerable to being finished off.
You heard this from an idiot. Planes do not fly through severe turbulence all the time. The fact is they hardly ever fly through severe turbulence. Planes divert, even for moderate turbulence, if they can. And the smart ones turn around in the face of severe turbulence. (Just in case you don't know, severe turbulence is when unsecured items will fly around the interior of the plane. I've never encountered this on any flight, private or commercial.)
There may be another explanation that the media hasn’t picked up on. There have been known control issues with the Airbus 330. A Qantas 330 experienced control issues from a faulty air data inertial reference unit (ADIRU) last October. Here is a link to the article;
Here is another article from Aviation Week on the same incident:
Maybe they fly over it? Not sure.
I’m not leaping to the conclusion that it was a bomb, just saying that I wouldn’t neccessarily poo poo the idea.
Thanks for the ping. Interesting thread. Thanks to all posters.
Condolences to family and friends of all who perished.
Thunderstorms can go up to 40,000 ft, you don’t just “fly over it”.
Commercial airliners cannot overfly very large thunderstorms which reach above 60,000 feet. Some people do know about this stuff. You should just read, and not make uninformed speculation.
Yes. Someone else commented that, that you can’t overlfy. I thought you could sometimes.
But look, I really don’t need a hand-slapping from you on what I should do. This whole board is composed of people reading and speculating.
Excuse me lady. We try to keep it to informed speculation. You're new here. Step back and observe for a while.
Are you a pilot? I have read what has been posted on the thread by people who know. I appreciate the insights.
I don’t think anyone knows for sure what brought the plane down yet. I had heard on the news (not that the news is always informed, but at least it’s the news) that there were people wondering if it could have been a bomb. They made the point that planes aren’t usually brought down by storms.
Plane lossses over the ocean are extremely rare.
There was supposedly a terrorist plan to blow some planes up while they were in the air.
There was speculation in the media, there was some speculation on the thread. It’s only natural and doesn’t hurt a soul.
In fact, the article posted contains THIS sentence:
“Experts were at a loss to explain fatal damage to a modern jetliner from either lightning or turbulence, even that of a tropical storm.”
You responded to the original poster, who is a very nice person, with THIS gem:
“Yeah. And the terrorist just thought to wait until they flew through severe turbulence to camouflage his actions. Or do you think it was someone in a dingy in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a missile that could reach 35,000 feet?
Some people have no clue.”
That was sweet of you, wasn’t it? You failed to consider what some people can speculate with free minds. That maybe there was a bomb on board.
But don’t worry. I don’t have any more to say on the thread. I appreciate the knowledgeable comments, but you have been nothing but RUDE from the beginning. And you might be an “enlightened expert”, but you have still been rude from the beginning. And I haven’t seen any evidence that you are any more informed than anyone else here.
People are just commenting on the article that was posted, but maybe go make yourself a cardboard badge that says “Board Police” or something productive...
I think I implied as much in post #21 on this thread which was addressed to you. FTR, I'm inactive now and I've only flown single engine planes. I do have an instrument rating.