AF Press Release – Folha – Drifters – US Airways Flight 1549 – 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibit

UPDATE: 7 MAY 2010:

Air France Flight 447: Unsuccessful Searches And Pitot Maintenance (UPDATED) Black Boxes Located?

I will prepare an upcoming separate post reviewing the entire BEA report and new speculation/rumors however, one translation item that keeps coming up on the aviation message boards over and over again is the meaning of  “ligne de vol”.  The BEA investigators determined that there was no in-flight break-up and that the airplane appears to have hit the water “en ligne de vol” with a strong vertical deceleration.

A commenter heard an interview of the BEA director on the French Radio France Inter after the press briefing:

Directly questioned by the journalist about the meaning of the wording “ligne de vol”, the BEA director clearly explained that the choice of his words was probably not the best, but that he clearly meant “normal attitude” meaning with “wings level” with “no significant roll”.

So to close the dabate, and with French my primary language, and having heard the explanation on France Inter directly from the guy, by “en ligne de vol” he definitely meant “normal attitude, with wings level”


AF 447: Progress Report from the French Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA)

Paris, 02 July 2009 – 16:57 local time

Air France has taken careful note of the progress report published by the French Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) concerning the AF 447 accident. In presenting the initial facts, this report constitutes an important stage in the inquiry.

It is also a very important step for the relatives of the victims, who, like Air France, are impatient to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.

It is, of course, of capital importance for Air France to find the flight and voice recorders – “black boxes” – which would enable the investigators to analyse the causes of the accident, whatever these may be. No effort must be spared in achieving this end, and Air France thanks the French Authorities for continuing their sea search with unprecedented resources. Air France would also like to thank the Brazilian authorities for the sea searches they have carried out at the scene of the accident.

All the elements of the investigation produced by the French Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) will be fully and immediately taken into account by the airline. Flight safety is of prime concern to Air France, as can be seen from the ongoing efforts of every sector of the airline using all its resources to improve it even further.

Following the publication of the progress report, Air France wishes to point out that:

* In Airbus’ recommendation of November 2008, superseding that of September 2007, the replacement of the Thalès AA Pitot probes by Thalès BA Pitot probes was no longer put forward as a solution to the icing problems.

* On 15 April 2009, Airbus recommended evaluating in real operating conditions the results of a series of laboratory tests on the Thalès BA Pitot probes.

* On 27 April 2009, rather than waiting for the results of this evaluation, Air France decided to equip its entire fleet of Airbus A330s and A340s with the Thalès BA Pitot probes.

Air France is, of course, continuing to cooperate fully with the Authorities, and reiterates its commitment to total transparency with regard to the investigators, its passengers and the general public.


06/07/2009 – — 17h26 17h26 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

Body of Director of Vale do Rio Doce, victim of flight 447 arrives in Counselor Lafaiete (MG)


1221282-5060-atm17The body of the former manganese alloys director of the area of Vale do Rio Doce, the engineer Marco Antônio Mendonça Camargo, 44, of the 228 victims of Flight 447, should arrive on Monday evening. The Director Lafaiete in Minas Gerais. Mendonça boarded the Airbus A-330 of Air France on May 31 in Rio and went on a business trip to Paris. Of the 51 bodies recovered, 43 are identified.

According to City Councilor Lafaiete, the body of the engineer will be veiled from 22h in the second gym Poliesportivo Agostinho Neto fields in the neighborhood Carijós. Throughout the night, the wake will be reserved for the family. From 6am on Tuesday (7), the gym will open to the public, according to the city.

Father Jose Maria Coelho parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição will present Mass in honor of the director of Vale do Rio Doce at 15h Tuesday. The funeral is scheduled for Mendonca at 17h in the cemetery Nossa Senhora da Conceição in the city.

The spokesman of Vale do Rio Doce said the engineer was in the company for nine years and was appointed director in 2007. Mark was married to a journalist, who is also an official of the Valley, Renata Mendonça Mondelo and had two children: a 11 months of this union and another of 13 years, the first marriage.

The Municipality of Lafaiete Director is preparing a safety plan for the wake with the PM (Military Police) and the Municipal Guard of the city. The council also declared official mourning for three days from now.


Authorities identify eight more victims of Flight 447 Air France

Folha Online 04/07/2009  – —  14h44 14h44 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

The Federal Police and Department of Social Defense in Pernambuco confirmed Saturday that the identification of eight more bodies of victims of the crash of Air France flight 447. According to authorities, the bodies are of three Brazilians – two men and a woman – and five foreigners, all women.

So far, 43 victims are identified of the 51 bodies found. Also recovered were more than 600 parts and structural components of the aircraft, and baggage of the occupants of the plane. The black box, however, was not found.

Identifications of the latest victims were made by analysis of fingerprints, the dental and DNA tests. Two of them were identified from dental examinations in combination with DNA, by a combined fingerprint and DNA with the other five only by DNA testing. By request of family, the identity of the victims is preserved in secrecy.


03/07/2009  – —  17h14 17h14 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

Body of TJ’s psychologist who was on flight 447 is buried in the area west of the Rio


The body of the psychologist TJ (Court of Justice) Rio Simone dos Santos Elias Jacome, 41, one of the victims of Flight 447, was buried around 17h this Friday in the Garden of Saudade cemetery in Sulacap in west Rio The administration of the cemetery, about 50 people attended the wake ceremony, which started around 16h in the chapel F.

Simone was an official had nearly eight years in court and served on the River Vara of Children, Youth and Elderly in Eleven Square in the center. She embarked on the Air France Airbus with two friends, who were also employees of the TJ.

Like Simone, the servants of Moscone Márcia Faria, 49, and Sonia de Amorim Maria Esteves, 57, also worked in the Vara of Children, Youth and Aged. According to the advice of the court, the three traveled on vacation to Paris.

Already Sonia Amorim, 57, was Commissioner of Justice and was nine years in the Court of Childhood Rio Still no information on the location of the bodies of them.



Trajectories of drifters from 11 May to 11 June 2009, with locations at the time of the disappearance of Air France flight 447 (starts) on May 31 and at time of first discovery of debris on June 2 (circles). The approximate location of the debris on June 2 is indicated by a blue square. Shading indicates microwave sea surface temperatures on May 31, 2009.


Surface drifter data was used to help locate wreckage from Air France flight #447. Shortly after the disappearance of Air France flight 447 on May 31, 2009 and the discovery of debris on June 2, the Drifter Data Assembly Center, in Miami, Florida, was contacted by the Hydrographic Center of the Brazilian Navy and French researchers from IFREMER, for in situ, near real time data from surface drifters in the area where the plane disappeared while crossing the Atlantic ocean in route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France.

Surface drifter trajectories are useful to estimate how far currents carried the floating debris from the crash site, where heavier equipment such as the “black box” recorders sank. Several drifters were indentified in the area, and to further populate the area, and obtain higher resolution current measurements,to help the search teams locate additional debris and bodies, the Hydrographic Center of the Brazilian Navy deployed five more drifters near the area of the crash on June 14.

This active collaboration with the Brazilian Navy and IFREMER follows a long history of cooperation between AOML and international partners.

These drifter data are available in real time along with currents derived from altimetry sea height anomaly fields at:


What’s a drifter?

A modern drifter is a high-tech version of the “message in a bottle”. It consists of a surface buoy and a subsurface drogue (sea anchor), attached by a long, thin tether. The buoy measures temperature and other properties, and has a transmitter to send the data to passing satellites. The drogue dominates the total area of the instrument and is centered at a depth of 15 meters beneath the sea surface.

Lumpkin, R. and M. Pazos, 2006: Measuring surface currents with Surface Velocity Program drifters: the instrument, its data, and some recent results. Chapter two of Lagrangian Analysis and Prediction of Coastal and Ocean Dynamics (LAPCOD) ed. A. Griffa, A. D. Kirwan, A. J. Mariano, T. Ozgokmen, and T. Rossby.


A reminder of the significant damage inflicted on an airframe even during a successful ditching – US Airways Flight 1549 (Airbus A320-214 – N106US  January 15, 2009).


NTSB Structures Group Chairman’s Factual Report:…026/418719.pdf

See photos 12 through to 15 showing bulkhead and rear tail cone damage looking aft from frame 70. Displacement of the tail cone and bulkhead rupture would appear to be the result of the hydraulic action created by water ingress through the damaged underside (FR50+ photo’s 16, 23, 24 in Attachment 2 – Addendum 1).

Attachment 2:…026/418716.pdf

Attachment 2 – Addendum 1:
Damage to underside:…026/419640.pdf

Attachment 4:…026/420144.pdf

Attachment 1 to the Factual Report Figures:…026/418699.pdf

See also:
FAA Report AR-95/54 Transport Water Impact and Ditching Performance:…026/419887.pdf

Original src:
CD List Of Contents

HT:   PPRuNer poster – BJ-ENG

The Ice Particle Threat to Engines in Flight (pdf)

44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 9 – 12 January 2006, Reno, Nevada:

*Jeanne G. Mason – Boeing Commercial Airplanes , Seattle WA, USA, 98124
*J. Walter Strapp – Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin St., Downsview, ON, M3H 5T4, Canada
*Philip Chow – Honeywell International, 111 S. 34 St., Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 85034

Abstract:  This paper discusses jet engine power loss and damage due to ingestion of ice particles. In the mid-90s several commercial airplane jet engines experienced more frequent power loss in ice particle conditions, resulting in a focused investigation, and a greater awareness that led to recognition of similar events on other aircraft. Since the mid-90s, events have been more numerous, and costly, and have generated greater industry interest. These events have been predominately associated with flight at high altitude near deep convective systems, often in tropical regions. Data are presented from flight-testing and an event data base to support the contention that the events are caused by ingestion of high concentrations of ice particles, and that super cooled liquid water is either of secondary importance or not required. The basic theory of how ice accretes in the engine by this process is described. Complex issues facing industry to mitigate the problem, and simulation of the ice particle environment are discussed.

Industry Challenges – Avoidance of Ice Particle Encounters

The tools available to the pilot of a commercial jet to identify regions of potentially high ice particle

concentration are limited. It is clear from the engine event database that the on-board weather radar does not show significant returns for these events at altitude, although in some cases the pilot was diverting around areas of high reflectivity associated with a large convective storm. Lawson et al. (1998)1 described a model of a single thunderstorm with maximum IWC in a core area of maximum radar reflectivity at altitude, and with rapidly decreasing IWC away from the center. They reported that at distances > 30 km from the center, IWC was expected to be less than 1 gm-3.

It is prudent to assume that flight in the close vicinity of a thunderstorm may lead to high IWC encounters that can lead to engine events. However, it is also clear from the event database that this model is not sufficient as a general avoidance strategy. The database includes complex cases of multiple convective cells with perhaps merged anvil regions (e.g. section V tropical storm case study), and cases where there was no high reflectivity core at flight altitude. Furthermore, pilot reports of the sudden onset of a strong weather encounter without warning and without a significant radar return suggests that the aircraft may have encountered a new convective impulse imbedded in the convective outflow region, implying that such regions of engine threat may be randomly encountered in areas of convective cloud rather than associated with an identifiable core region at altitude.

Today’s pilot is not typically on guard for these conditions, because his/her training is focused on  dentifying conventional icing and storm targets which provide strong radar returns. Manuals that are provided with on-board weather radar explain the use of the system to identify and avoid regions of high reflectivity. Regions where ice particles exist without radar returns are presented as a hazard for potential turbulence.

While current procedures do not expressly avoid regions with high ice particle content, following the recommended procedures for thunderstorm avoidance, where possible, may help avoid these conditions. Pilots are advised to avoid reflective regions by at least 20 nautical miles, and are advised not to overfly convective cells. The high reflectivity below the aircraft from rain returns associated with these cells may be a good indicator of high ice particle concentrations aloft, since that rain would often have formed from falling ice particles.

The onboard radar is sensitive to rain, but not nearly as much to the ice particles, because ice particles are much less efficient radar scatterers than water drops. In this regard, at high altitude, the pilot must tilt the radar down to scan for high reflectivity rain below and determine the existence and position of a convective cell, and gage the altitude of the high-reflectivity region. The height of the cell above this region, if not visible, may only be inferred. Convective cells often lift to the tropopause, which can be as high as 60,000 ft in the tropics.

If the top is not visible, it is prudent to conclude that it exceeds the aircraft cruise altitude, and the cell should be avoided by circumnavigation. When avoiding convective cells by circumnavigation, flight upwind of the cell is recommended to avoid the spreading anvil downstream and to limit exposure to high ice particle content conditions. The gain function may be used to artificially enhance the color of lower reflectivity targets, which may be useful to confirm the extent of the convective cell, however increasing the gain will not reveal the smaller ice particles that may make up most of the ice particle mass.

Given their training, the density of air traffic, the frequency of storms in the Asia-Pacific region, and the increasing difficulty for a pilot to obtain an alternate routing to avoid convective weather, it is just not practical for pilots to avoid all high ice particle content conditions.

It is clear from the event data, that the high altitude regions of high ice particle content in weather systems such as isolated deep convective clouds, complexes of convective clouds, and tropical storms, even those that are being carefully monitored by meteorological agencies, are being penetrated by commercial aircraft.

Pilot interviews indicate that these conditions are routine and not perceived as a threat due to lack of airframe icing and only moderate turbulence. The most effective solution therefore is to make the engine capable of flight in these conditions.

Modeling of the ice accretion process

In addition to the technology requirements associated with properly simulating ice particle size distributions for engine testing, there is a need for research focused toward the development of a calibrated model of the interaction of ice particles with the engine inlet air stream in flight and in the test facility. The trajectory path of potentially larger ice particles of irregular shape versus smaller ice particles of more uniform shape must be accounted for in establishing icing certification test conditions.


1 Lawson, R.P., Angus, L.J., and Heymsfield, A..J., “Cloud Particle Measurements in Thunderstorm anvils and Possible

Threat to Aviation,” J. Aircraft, Vol. 35, No. 1, 1998, pp. 113-121.

2 “Turbojet, Turboprop and Turbofan Engine Induction System Icing” Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular 20-147, February 2, 2004

3 McNaughtan, I.I.,”The Analysis of Measurements of Free Ice and Ice/Water Concentrations in the Atmosphere of the

Equatorial Zone,” Royal Aircraft Establishment (Farnborough) Technical Note No. : Mech. Eng. 283, 1959.

4 “Flight in Ice Crystal Clouds,” Aeroplanes and Rotorcraft Joint Airworthiness Committee, Paper 733, Leaflet 714Y,

August 1958.

5 Black, R. and J. Hallett, “Observations of the Ice Distributions in Hurricanes,” J. Atmos. Sci., Vol. 43, 1986, pp. 802-822.

6 Jorgensen, D., and M. LeMone, “Vertical Velocity Characteristics in Oceanic Convection,” J. Atmos. Sci., Vol. 46, 1989, pp. 621-640.

7 Stith, J. L., J. E. Dye, A. Bansemer, A. Heymsfield, C. Grainger, W.W. Petersen, and R. Berticelli, “Microphysical

Observations of Tropical Clouds,” J. Appl. Meteor., Vol. 41, 2002, pp. 97-117.

8 Abraham, J., J. W. Strapp, C. Fogarty, and M. Wolde, “Extratropical Transition of Hurricane Michael,” Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., Vol. 85, 2004, pp. 1323-1339.

9 Holland, G.J., T.D. Keenan, and G.D. Crane, “Observations of a Phenomenal Temperature Perturbation in Tropical Cyclone Kerry,” Mon. Wea. Review, Vol. 112, 1984, pp. 1074-1082.

10 Strapp, J.W., P. Chow, M. Maltby, A.D. Bezer, A. Korolev, I. Stomberg, and J. Hallett, “Cloud Microphysical

Measurements in Thunderstorm Outflow Regions during Allied/BAe 1997 Flight Trials,” 37th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit , Reno, NV. , Jan. 11-14, 1999, AIAA 99-0498.

11 Joe, P. and R. List, “Testing and Performance of Two-Dimensional Optical Array Spectrometers with Greyscale,” J.

Atmos. Oceanic Technol., Vol. 4, 1987, pp.139-150.

12 Korolev, A.V., S.V. Kuznetsov, Y.E. Makarov, and V.S. Novikov, “Evaluation of Measurements of Particle Size and

Sample Area from Optical Array Probes,” J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., Vol. 8, 1991, pp. 514-522.

13 Baumgardner, D., and A. Korolev, “Airspeed Corrections for Optical Array Probe Sample Volumes,” J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., Vol. 14, 1997, pp. 1224-1129.

14 Korolev, A.V., J.W. Strapp, and G.A. Isaac, “Evaluation of the Accuracy of PMS Optical Array Probes,” J. Atmos.

Oceanic Technol., Vol. 15, 1998, pp. 708-720.

15 Reuter, A., and S. Bakan, “Improvements of Cloud Particle Sizing with a 2D-grey Probe,” J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., Vol. 15, 1998, pp. 1196-1203.

16 Strapp, J.W., F. Albers, A. Reuter, A.V. Korolev, U. Maixner, E. Rashke, and Z. Vukovic, “Laboratory Measurements of the Response of a PMS OAP-2DC,” J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., Vol. 18, 2001, pp. 1150-1170.

17 Gardiner, B. A. and J. Hallett, “Degradation of in-cloud Forward Scattering Probe Measurements in the Presences of Ice Crystals,” J. Atmos. and Oceanic. Technol., Vol. 2, 1985, pp. 171-180.

18 Field, P.R., R. Wood, P.R.A. Brown, P.H. Kaye, E. Hirst, R. Greenaway, and J.A. Smith, “Ice Particle Interarrival Times Measured with a Fast FSSP,” J. Atmos. and Oceanic Technol., Vol. 20, 2003, pp. 249-261.

19 Korolev, A.V., and G.A. Isaac, “Shattering during Sampling by OAPs and HVPS. Part 1: Snow Particles”, J. Atmos. And Oceanic Technol., Vol. 22, 2005, pp. 528-542.

20 McNaughtan, I.I, and F.J. Bigg, “Development and Calibration of the Pitot Type Ice Concentration Meter,” Royal Aircraft Establishment (Farnborough) Technical Note No: Mech. Eng. 281, Feb. 1959

21 Strapp, J.W., L. E. Lilie, E. Emery and D. Miller, “Preliminary Comparison of Ice Water Content as Measured by Hot Wire Instruments of Varying Configuration,” 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Nevada, 11-13 January 2005, AIAA-2005-0860

22 Hallett, J. and G.A. Isaac, “Aircraft Icing in Glaciated and Mixed Phase Clouds”, 40th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Nevada, 14-17 January 2002, AIAA-2002-0677

23 Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Part 25, Washington, D.C., January 1, 1997


25 Al-Khalil, K., “Assessment of Effects of Mixed Phase Icing Conditions on Thermal Ice Protection Systems”,

HT:  takata@ PPRuNe Forums