O Globo Articles

Recent Chatter: CVR/FDR Search – USN NR-1/SOSUS – Security



Flight 447: Authorities establish ‘probable point’ the fall of the Air France Airbus

O Globo Publicada em 12/06/2009 (English Translation)

RIO – Commands of the Navy and Air Force reported, in this collective granted Friday, which, although still not possible to determine the exact point of collapse of the Air France flight 447, the vessels are equipped with sonar sweep of an area approximately 65 km radius from the position you were last contact of the aircraft, which is considered by authorities as the “point of likely fall.” That is about 850 kilometers of Fernando de Noronha.

The likely “the fall” is what we have placed as the last reported position of the aircraft. It is an area of approximately 65 km radius from the position where he was last reported. This is the area that is computed as the most likely “the fall”, and is where the French ships are starting to work with the sonar – said.


Flight 447: Six more bodies are in French ship. Air and Marine show the wreckage of the Airbus A-330 Air France

O Globo Agências internacionais Publicada em 12/06/2009 (English Translation)

RIO – The commands of the Air and Navy to coordinate the search for bodies in the crash of Flight 447 reported this Friday that they are aware that there are six more bodies on board the amphibious ship Mistral French, but these bodies are only computed officially when the ship arrives in Brazil. The Mistral is the limit between the area of searches of Dakar and the Brazilian area.

… The pieces, which were taken to the capital of Pernambuco a C-130 Hercules aircraft will be analyzed by a French technician who arrives in Brazil on Sunday, March 14th Responsible for investigating the causes of the accident, he will make an initial expertise of parts and assess whether the wreckage will be taken to France or to complete skill will be held in Brazilian territory.

Preliminary findings showing that no bodies had burns

Part of the tail of the plane found at sea which is seen by experts as important for research will also come to Recife on 14.

… The Frigate Constitution, which should arrive at Fernando de Noronha in the early hours of Saturday with three bodies recovered in the searches and shipped on Thursday, then travel to the Port of Recife with wreckage and personal objects collected in the ocean and are already in Fernando de Noronha.

When brought to Recife, some bodies that had been collected in Fernando de Noronha are to be delivered to the Medical Legal Institute to be given to the work of identification procedure. For tomorrow 20 bodies are expected to come here – informed of Recife, the tentente-Brigadier Ramon Cardoso.

061312_CHB_20090612134102670APThe forecast of arrival to the capital of Pernambuco frigate Constitution is next Sunday, June 14, the aircraft parts (debris) will be available to the authorities responsible for investigations of the causes of the accident through the Bureau d’enquêtes et D ‘ analysis pour la Securite de l’Aviation Civile (BEA). The personal items (luggage) rescued, according to notes of the commands of the Navy and Air Force, are of legal liability of Air France.

Director of the Department of Control of the airspace of the Air Force, Lieutenant-Brigadier Ramon Cardoso also said that new AF447 wreckage was sighted by the aircraft moved to points west of the original search.

Direct the search for the most probable information, and we have a sighting of wreckage, and the vessels are being directed to that place – he said.

Debris seen this Friday is in an area of jurisdiction of Brazil, and will be carried by ships to Recife, where are the first parts of the aircraft taken from the sea. This Friday some vessels gathered some wreckage and personal belongings in the searches.

Cardoso said that the search will be continued on Saturday in the same area indicated by the R-99 crawler.

The area of search will remain the same in view of information R-99 indicate that the debris remains in this area, basically the limit between the area of Dakar and the Atlantic area of control – said Cardoso.



O Globo Agências internacionais Publicada em 12/06/2009 (English Translation)

The team’s search FAB and Navy, with help from ships and aircraft from France, has rescued 44 bodies of victims of flight AF 447, which was dropped when the route Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board. According to Brigadier, up to the 20th would still be possible to find bodies.

Direct the search for the most probable information, and we have a sighting of wreckage, and the vessels are being directed to this place.  Today was not any sighting [remains], only to wreck. But that does not mean it is not possible to find more bodies.

The brigadier said that the planning of forces are ready to continue the operations until the 25th, but emphasized that from the 17th there will be a meeting every two days between Navy and FAB to evaluate the findings that are happening and decide to continue of searches. According to Lieutenant Brigadier Cardoso, the families of the victims will be the first people to be informed of the decision to terminate the search.

The searches can be carried further forward than the 25th. In logistic work almost always with a week more. The moment there is no possibility of finding more bodies and wreckage, only that the searches will be closed. What will determine this are technical positions and the possibilities we have to find some prey that take us further forward.

In Recife the identification of the first 16 bodies is recovered. According to the Federal Police, there is no provision for the closure of the identifications. Another 20 bodies that were in Fernando de Noronha, which passed by a preliminary verification, are the way to the capital Pernambuco, while the frigate Constitution carries three bodies to Fernando de Noronha.

This Friday, relatives of two victims met with authorities of PF, the Secretary of Social Defense of Pernambuco and forensic science, which explained the technical reasons that do not allow family members try to achieve the identification of bodies, as well as the belongings collected.061312_CHB_20090612134102670AP

On the identification of bodies, the state in which they are no guarantee that any positive indication from the family is conclusive,” he said in the PF release.

“The attempt of identification of belongings and clothes of victims is not possible, it is impossible to ensure that two or more people are not like clothes or attire had similar effects.”

French Ambassador travels to Brazil to meet with families of victims




Below are the most recent on-line aviation chatter and message board discussions.  Please understand the below are only chatter/discussions among aviation professionals world-wide and should not be considered fact until all official information is released by Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Disinformation (BEA).


CVR/FDR Search Chatter

The French submarine Emeraude is likely to have just as good passive listening capabilities as the US Navy Los Angeles class submarines – and may even have the identical equipment installed.

There are no news reports of any Los Angeles Class US Navy Submarines (or any other US Submarines) deployed to the area. Not saying that they might not be there. But the US Navy has not announced any.

The US Navy has announced that they have provided two sets of special listening gear and operating crews to be mounted on two surface vessels (One French and One Brazil) that were developed for such searches. The key part of these systems can be lowered to a considerable depth – and might be towable at slow speeds. Those should already be installed on their ships and on the way to that area by now – and were expected to be in the search area roughly this weekend.

The submarine and these two ships with the special listening gear have a great advantage over surface listening as they will operate below the surface noise and surface thermal layers (thermoclines) where they will have a far more effective range.

The amount of search area each day is limited because while the submarine can go a lot faster – it then creates a lot of noise which interferes with the passive sonar (listening) gear.

Active sonar is of no use in locating the black boxes pingers. You are just listening!

Active sonar from the surface – or even from the sub – is unlikely to locate any wreckage on the bottom of the ocean due to the depth involved. You will not have the resolution – even if the bottom was smooth – with this gear at that depth.

Once the black boxes are located by passive sonar – additional deep water radars on cables or submersibles can be brought into play to map the bottom and find wreckage. Close up side scan radar is the most effective.

The US Navy NR-1 often reported that they could find a soda (or beer) can buried in sand or silt 1 mile away. After approximately 40 years of service the NR-1 was retired November 2008. It had a reported maximum depth of 3000 Ft, and underwater mission times of up to 30 days (food and water limited).

I know of no replacement for the NR-1 and the US Navy has recently also transferred its other known deep sea diving subs to civilian organizations citing budget and mission priorities.


There has never been a military need to establish coverage off the area of this crash. I am sure that type data was looked for, but since we have heard nothing, it is very unlikely usable information could be obtained from SOSUS.

The SOSUS arrays are pretty old, and while some have been updated, most were allowed to degrade and go out of service. The US Navy now uses SURTASS ships – towed arrays – for coverage areas when a military need comes up for an area where static arrays do not cover.


SOSUS (Wiki): SOSUS, an acronym for SOund SUrveillance System, was a chain of underwater listening posts located across the northern Atlantic Ocean near Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom—the so-called GIUK gap. It was originally operated by the U.S. Navy for tracking Soviet submarines, which had to pass through the gap to attack targets in the Atlantic. Other locations in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean also had SOSUS stations installed. It was later supplemented by mobile assets such as SURTASS becoming Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS).


From the descriptions in the media – that is what the US Navy is loaning to the French/ Brazilian searchers. Along with arrays, there will be vans with the necessary equipment to interpret that data and civilian maintenance and operations techs.


In addition, even if the US (or someone else) has a surveillance system that located the crash location I am far from convinced that such information would be provided. Such a system would be classified above Top Secret (deep black) and significant intelligence capability would be revealed by providing the crash location.

I am quite convinced that the US maintains additional surveillance beyond the known SOSUS array areas. I am sure that I am not alone in that.

Oh and for a related underwater surveillance topic on towed arrays (not related to this crash): Anyone for playing cat and mouse: just who is the cat and who is the mouse?



HELLO MEDIA! Let’s review: you don’t need the aircraft to become a Die Hard-sized fireball to cause an in-flight breakup. A much-smaller, confined explosion, or even a non-incendiary one (like an accidental one from a cylinder of compressed inert gas carried on the aircraft), could cause a hull breach sufficient to cause a loss of structural integrity at altitude.

Pan Am 103 was brought down by an incendiary device in a tape player in luggage inside a metal luggage loading container, and the concussion from that little device caused a hull breach; there was no fireball. Had that Shoe Bomber guy succeeded, same thing.

Security measures today are designed to try to prevent even very small explosions, because, in the right place (wherever that is, and I assume “they” know) a small explosion is enough. That 16 bodies, found near each other, had no evidence of damage from flame is hardly enough to suggest that there was “no explosion”. There are still over 200 bodies out there, so lets not be so quick to judge.

But can we assume that the breakup did not come from an explosion (intentional or accidental) yet? No, no, no.



Why Is  The Above  Photo Getting Special Attention From Aviation Officials?




Related Links:

Queens, NY – American Airlines Flight with 206 People Diverted to Canada after Fire

OPNAVINST 5750.12E (pdf)

Sub collides with sonar array towed by U.S. Navy ship

How do airliners dump toilet waste?

Aircraft Lavatory

Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS)