Thy mystery of Air France Flight 447 continues to grow each day, hour by hour.   The GPS coordinates were included in many of the ACARS messages. This makes it clear Air France knew exactly where the jet was at key moments as it entered the tropical convergence zone, and as expected, the crew were trying to navigate around the storm cells as shown by deviations from the nominal flight path.

Le Monde is reporting that the state prosecutor has opened in Paris, Friday June 5, a judicial inquiry against the disappearance of the Airbus A330 Air France between Rio de Janeiro and Paris for “involuntary homicide, prosecutors said. The investigation was entrusted to the magistrate Sylvie Zimmerman.

A letter should also be sent to each of the families of 228 victims “to inform them of this criminal proceeding, the appointment of associations for aid to victims and commitment of civil procedure to the appropriate court in Instance of Paris, “the prosecutor added. Another letter from the Civil Section of the prosecution will also be sent to their families to “provide all relevant information on the civil procedure,” says the prosecution, which invites families to join the civil section of parquet 01-44-32 -67-00 or 01-44-32-57-04.

In the same Le Monde article, it says: MORIN: “NOT ON THE RIGHT TO EXCLUDE THE TERRORISM”.  What does this mean?  Has the official investigation taken a different direction?

While the terrorist scenario was rejected by the authorities, the Defense Minister, Herve Morin, maintained Friday that “we 0n’avait not allowed to exclude terrorism.”

In another Le Monde article, “The Brazilian Army Has Begun To Recover The Wreckage”, confirms wreckage from Flight 447 has been found:

A first fragment, one end of the hold baggage has been retrieved by a helicopter at 550 km northeast of the archipelago Fernando de Noronha and transported to the city of Recife, to be considered.

The 2nd article also confirms the Spanish pilot seeing a burst of intense white light:

…The Spanish daily El Mundo quoted, for its part, the testimony of a Spanish pilot said he saw “a burst of intense white light that followed a downward path and vertical and has dissipated in six seconds,” near the supposed area and time of the crash of flight Rio-Paris Air France. The Spanish newspaper that “the pilot puts on the table one of the assumptions mentioned as a cause of the accident: the explosion of a bomb aboard the plane.”

AF447_flight_main

The graphic above shows the cloud cover and the zone of seasonal and often severely turbulent weather the flight was crossing is clearly visible. The topography includes the lights of Rio de Janeiro from which it departed and Paris where it was headed and level of moonlight over which the satellite cloud scan is projected are computer generated.

AF447Weather

The location of AF447 on transmission of final automatic message alerting vertical cabin speed and preceding flight path overlaid on satellite data on cloud cover and height as near to that moment as broadcast by BBC 1.

acarsaf447d

This Le Monde article states that the Air France Airbus was flying at a speed of “erroneous” and disintegrated in flight, according to the messages received (See Above) and provides a basis summary:

At 23 hours, twenty minutes before the entry of the Airbus in the airspace of Senegal, the pilot sends a message that crosses a zone of severe turbulence in cumulonimbus clouds charged with electricity and winds. Weather satellites show that the winds blowing at 160 km / h.

The problems start at 23 pm when 10 message indicates disconnection of the autopilot. It is unclear whether this has been done by the crew or whether it was caused by security systems. This disconnection occurs, in fact, automatically when the computers detect a serious breakdown.

The crew wanted to deviate from its path to avoid the most dangerous? If so, the operation looked delicate. According to a pilot quoted by the Estado, manual control of an airplane at high altitude is “extremely difficult”. One thing is sure: from this moment, Airbus is controlled manually.

At the same minute, a message informs that the “fly-by-wire”, ie the electrical flight controls that activate the flaps and ailerons, passes on the “alternative law”. This emergency power is activated automatically in case of multiple electrical outages. The aircraft then retains enough power to fly, but several systems to control the stability of the device are deteriorated. In such a situation, an alarm sounds to alert the cabin crew.

A 23 h 12, two other messages have reported equipment failure in two fundamental ADIRU (Air Data Inertial Reference Unit) and ISIS (Integrated Standby Instruments System). These computers provide vital information on altitude, speed and direction of flight.

A 23 h 13, new messages indicate electric faults in the main computer (Prim1) and auxiliary (Sec1) flight. The ultimate message is sent to 23 h 14. He said: “cabin vertical speed. This is an indication of failure, cause or consequence of an in-flight.

Since this writer does not speak French, I’m not sure if the below is simply a bad French to English translation:

The information in the Brazilian press contrasts with the caution displayed by the BEA in charge of the investigation. At a press briefing, Wednesday, June 3, Paul-Louis Arslanian, director general of the Bureau, stressed the difficulties of the investigation “had only begun and will not be easy.” He added: “We have already collected lots of stuff.”

There is growing concern that both Air France and the French Government will do all in its power to protect the Airbus name and as others have pointed, their early statements about not locating the black box recorders will allow the French Government to lay all blame on pilot error – flying into massive storm cells which stressed the jet beyond its design limits.

There will still be questions however about aircraft system failures – multiple computers, sensors, probes, fly-by-wire technologies, composite materials, etc.  Moreover, the absolute reliance on automation in Airbus aircraft not only can increase pilot workloads but amplify the risk of loss of control when all of these automated systems fail or at least briefly malfunction.

The BEA website has the following:

The investigation may lead the BEA to make safety recommendations: they are proposed actions considered relevant to aviation safety based on the findings of investigators and, as stated in the European Directive 94/56 / EC does not constitute a presumption of blame or liability.

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