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09 June 2009

Air France Flight 447 Update for 9 June 2009

By Tuesday June 9th, the number of bodies recovered increased to 28, and a substantial amount of wreckage has been recovered, including the vertical stabilizer. The bodies and wreckage were recovered about 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northeastern coast, and about 45 miles (70 kilometers) from where the jet was last estimated position. Equipment for locating the beacons attached to the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder is not yet in place, but will be in the next few days.

Naval forces from Brazil, France, and the US will all be actively involved in this search. In other developments, Air France revealed that their entire A330 fleet had been scheduled to have part of their airspeed measuring system replaced, specifically a device called a pitot tube. While some Air France A330 aircraft had the replacement done, the accident aircraft had not. There is no indication that the this device was related to the sequence of events that led to this crash. will continue to provide updates to the accident investigation as more information becomes available.

Initial Reports on This Event (4:10)

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Additional Resources
Accident Investigation Updates and Resources
Fatal Events for Airlines from Europe
Fatal Air France Plane Crashes
Other A330 Crash Events
Air France Wikipedia Page
Flight 447 Accident Wikipedia Page

1 comment:

  1. For the last ten years there hasn’t been a technical reason why the digital flight recorder data isn't sent in real-time to the ground (see the BBC/Equinox video “The BOX”, 2000, on the flight recorders). Using a remote aircraft flight recorder, with-in a couple of seconds, you have the planes position/location, its attitude, velocity, etc. safely stored on the ground and used for flight safety, aviation security and cost reduction. This data used in real-time could have also prevented 9/11 (see

    "We don’t know what went wrong on Flight 447, but we would sure know where the plane went down, why it went down and possibly could have saved lives."

    Getting to the crash site early may save lives, getting the DFDR can prevent recurring fatal crashes. It’s not just position that’s needed it’s all of the data sent to the recorder that is critical to ascertaining the root cause of a crash and should be available to prevent some of the crashes from occurring.

    Telemetering the flight data to the ground in real-time would assures that we have the data - in many crashes the flight data isn't recovered (e.g. 9/11, et al) or has errors in it since no one is looking at it, or using it in real-time to find malfunctions. Yet, this valuable digital flight recorder data (DFDR) data has been left to the autopsy mode for post mortem simulations and not utilized proactively in real-time to save lives. Yet, the real-time data has been intentionally withheld and stored on operational planes for fear of aviation industry litigation.

    A year prior to 9/11 I spoke in NY at the International Aviation Safety Association meeting on preventing crashes like golfer Payne Stewart’s decompression crash. Nothing was done by the FAA or industry and we got 9/11 (hijacking is about ten percent of aviation fatalities) and the 2005, 100 fatality, Helios decompression crash. When a plane deviates from its approved flight plan we now have the ability to securely take remote control of it and land it safely at a designated airfield. We presently have remote pilot vehicles (RPVs) flying over Afghanistan that are controlled/piloted from continental United States (CONUS). Currently we are utilizing secure high bandwidth communication networks (for our RPVs, submarines, AWACS planes, etc.) and there isn't a logical reason for not making that technology available for cargo and carrier aircraft. The cost of 9/11alone is ten times the cost of putting in a safe system and yet nothing has intentionally been done.

    Billions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary airport runway expansion programs to reduce fatal ground incursions. These incursions wouldn’t even occur if the flight data was shared so pilots and air traffic control had better visibility. But because the digital data isn’t shared automatically the pilot sees only a fraction of the information necessary to prevent a crash and the same hold for the air traffic controllers (ATCs). Crashes such as Tenerife (583 fatalities), Comair (49 fatalities), etc. are directly caused by the lack of visibility due to not sharing the DFDR, ATC and airport runway data in real-time. The real-time use and sharing of the DFDR data to prevent crashes is more important then its present post mortem autopsy mode of operation.

    This, Air France flight 447, is another example of horrific crashes that possibly could have been prevented and saved lives. We surely would be able to use the flight data to prevent recurring crashes of this type and to minimize the anguish of the passengers families and the cost and time of trying to recover the recorders. The data used in real-time: reduces the cost of flying; prevents recurring fatal crashes; prevents a host of fatal crashes that aren’t directly related to Air France Flight 447, and keeps our nation safe and secure.

    Sy Levine

    Remote Aircraft Flight Recorder and Advisory System (RAFT) patent #5,890,079, 3/30/1999