The Air France Flight 447 crash

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Deepak, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Deepak

    Deepak B3D Yoddha
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    Just saw this...

    So that means ZERO progress. Where/why did it disappear/crash? No debries found, no bodies, no traces. Condolences to the families of the victims!
     
  2. tongue_of_colicab

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    You know, this is why I hate the KLM selling out. Everybody always keeps talking Air france. Not air france, its called air france KLM! please show some respect for what used to be my countries beautifull blue white planes.

    Anyway, sad thing ofcourse. Im not too suprised they didnt found anything yet, depending on what happend pieces could be scatterd miles from where the accident happend and stuff that does come floating up probably spreads very fast in the open sea. What I find strange though is that they suddenly found a other plane... Doesnt somebody keep track of where crashed planes are?
     
  3. Cheezdoodles

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    My mother actually commuted regularly for 2 years with this particular air france route. (She worked in Brazil, lived in Norway, so atleast 1-2 times per week she used this route for part of the way. Only stopped when she changed jobs.)
     
  4. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    I think people should have some patience for the investigation team. 7 years ago a China Airlines airplane disappeared on Taiwan strait mysteriously. It also happened very quickly and the crews did not report any anomaly before the accident. It's a very popular flight between Taipei and Hong Kong, so you can see that why people wanted to know the answer immediately.

    Taiwan strait is much smaller and debris was found quickly, but it still took them nearly a month to locate the black boxes. There are also radio data which shows how the airplane went down. Nevertheless, there were many crazy ideas about how the airplane went down, including a theory stating that the airplane was hit by a meteor. The investigation concluded that the reason for the crash was metal fatigue due to a faulty repair 20 years ago.

    The Air France crash is more difficult to investigate because the area is much bigger and there is no radio data AFAIK. They need to find black boxes as quick as possible, which is even more difficult than the case of China Airline crash, but don't rule out the possibility just yet. The investigation techniques progress a lot during the years and I think eventually we'll know something about it and hopefully we can improve the safety of flight even more.
     
  5. Ike Turner

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    Yup, patience is the word. Besides sending an AWACS plane France has also send one of their nuclear submarines to try to locate the black boxes.
     
  6. infinity4

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    apparently it is so deep as mount everest that it may be really difficult
     
  7. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Sounds like a lighting strike is the most likely cause for this, seeing how just about only that could kill all communications and as they were flying in a storm (I think this was confirmed at some point). What happened then, no-one knows, but considering that now the first bodies and pieces of wreckage are starting to be found, the plane probably crashed into the sea rather violently.
     
  8. Anarchist4000

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    Lightning strike or the plane simply broke in half mid flight. Even a lightning strike shouldn't be able to take out the redundant systems without some serious design flaw.
     
  9. RudeCurve

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    I find it quite absurd that whichever company design black boxes have not the technology to build in a signal beacon?
     
  10. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    Of course it has a signal beacon, but a signal beacon has its limit. If it's in deep ocean, you'll have to be very close to it to actually receive its signal. Also, in most black boxes the signal beacon can last only about a month.
     
  11. Anarchist4000

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    The task of designing something to survive a fall from high altitude and have a giant antenna survive said fall are somewhat incompatible. Then of course you need to power it for so long and transmissions can take a good deal of power. The battery also needs to survive the fall which is also problematic.

    Now why someone hasn't attached a GPS transponder that triggers at the first time of trouble I don't know. They said the aircraft sent messages just prior to the crash, why those didn't include a GPS position is beyond me.
     
  12. tongue_of_colicab

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    Yes I read that before going down it sent about 24 automatic errors messages. I believe it had to do with the autopilot.
     
  13. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    I've read a report saying that some airplanes have a GPS report system which can continuously report its GPS coordinates through satellite. However, they said it's "too expensive" so not all airplanes have this system installed. On the other hand, as you said, they can just attach the GPS coordinate with the messages, but a few minutes of time between the crash and the messages sent can mean a very long distance for an airplane.
     
  14. RussSchultz

    RussSchultz Professional Malcontent
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    Satellite phone: $1000
    GPS: $200

    While there's no doubt it COULD be much more expensive due to regulations and integration, it seems it would be relatively simply to make a device that would report its position every minute or so, use very little bandwidth, and very little power.

    Or hell, modulate something over the AM band. Or whatever band they use to communicate audibly. There's only about 1Kb of info that needs to be transferred.
     
  15. Sxotty

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    If it were just wired to planes electrical system it could die when the electrical system fails. If you add batteries and make it able to survive intact you would bump the price up a significant amount probably. It would not help once you went down as when the water is hit the signal is dead, but it would probably make the search area orders of magnitude smaller to begin with.
     
  16. RussSchultz

    RussSchultz Professional Malcontent
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    I'm assuming that knowing where the plane was within a minute of it losing power would be much more useful than not and having to search over thousands of square miles.
     
  17. Mariner

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    I agree with Russ here. Heck, many new mobile phones contain GPS hardware, so how expensive could it actually be to rig up a fricking airliner with GPS tracking, especially when you consider the vast amounts of money associated with air travel?
     
  18. Sxotty

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    I agree with Russ too :) That is why I said that the search area would be orders of magnitude smaller and was worthwhile. I was just saying that it might make the most sense to just wire it in and then you know where the plane went down roughly instead of spending way more to give it independently source power so you can know the exact spot it hits within 10 meters.
     
  19. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    Since airplanes already have GPS devices on board (even those small "flying washing machine" Cessna 182 has them), the only problem is about the satellite channels. I can imagine that airlines do not think it's worth the trouble because it's only really useful on cross ocean flights, otherwise radar data is generally available, and ground controller should normally know where the airplane is. Since crash on a cross ocean flight is a extremely rare event, that's probably why they think it's "too expensive."

    On the other hand, maybe they can use some sorts of short wave or something if satellite is really expensive. And even if it's expensive, they can enable it only on cross ocean flights where it's the most effective (and cross ocean flights are generally the most profitable). Maybe they'll do this after this crash.
     
  20. 3dilettante

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    I can't speak to the practicalities of flight tracking via satellite network, which would be necessary for the vast distances involved beyond land, except to say that it seems to apparent that it is not done.

    That being said, the airlines historically have proven themselves spectacularly cost averse and the hardware cost and whatever operational overheads of a satellite uplink incurs would probably be resisted.
     
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