UPDATE II (As Of: May 26, 2010)
The Seabed Worker departed the Zone 2 search area for Praia, Cape Verde Islands at about 24/1930z and at 25/0635 was at 5°31’36”N 29°20’32”W Hdg 028.6°T Spd 13.0 knots.
The research of AF 447 saw the conflict of experts
INFO LE FIGARO – The third season of research should be completed Tuesday morning on a failure. The BEA and the army opposed to the position of the wreckage.
The drama of the AF 447 is a mystery for now. The third season of research should be completed Tuesday morning on a failure because the investigators are currently on route Recife in Brazil without being able to locate the wreckage. Yet, despite two months of operation in the South Atlantic, the uncertainty has never been greater, as the experts disagree on the position of the device.
Background. On April 28, investigators returned to Recife to BEA after one month of research at sea after a crew change, they go back to finish searching the area for the third campaign. This area of 2500 km2 was defined from the study of drift of aircraft debris and the bodies of victims recovered in June 2009. A week later, once the theater. The army announced that it detected the signal from the black box: it is a distributed signals heard in June by the nuclear submarine, the Emerald and managed to positively identify the signal emitted by the black boxes of ten months AF447 earlier. “We sent twenty Emerald positions when the signal was seen black boxes,” says one close to the matter. This new area south of the last known position of the device indicates that the Air France flight was turned around before crashing into the ocean.
The Seabed Worker, who participates in research 40 nautical miles further north, was immediately dispatched. It passes the new area in detail. In vain. “There was nothing to find in the south, said a member of the investigation. Everything has been raked. “Seabed The Worker then finish off again to explore the area of the BEA without broadening the scope defined by the army. “They spent 24 hours and no more on our area,” says a source at the Ministry of Defence. The ocean is vast and we are the only ones to offer a scientific data and tangible. ”
Reportedly, the Army has conducted tests in the Mediterranean with black boxes to identify their signal. According to a source close to the BEA, focusing on sounds recorded in June 2009, the Army had confused signals trials in the Mediterranean and those of the AF 447. She would have indicated an area that was not good investigators. “There has never been south of 447 AF, we lost one week, said a relative of BEA. The Navy wanted further work before announcing anything but the Ministry of Defence wanted to communicate quickly and we cut the grass under foot. ”
Since then, relations between the BEA, under the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Defence will be a bit cold. “The explanation of the army are unclear insists near BEA, and since it’s radio silence on the subject. Asked by the Figaro, the army has not this story:” We are The third deterrent to the world and we are not here to please public opinion, says a source at the Ministry of Defence. We have removed some positions, but we maintain that certain positions are communicated to BEA correct. They have not been explored: BEA prefer to say that the army was wrong rather than saying that we received the signal from the black boxes but no one may know where he ever comes. ”
The propagation of sound in water environment is indeed very complex. The black boxes of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last January off the coast of Lebanon were heard at 16 nautical miles from the crash site while recording only emit 5000. “If nuclear deterrence is hiding under water, is that this environment is complex,” said one source at the Ministry of Defence. Today we have the probabilities of position of the wreckage. ‘
A fourth round is planned
The failure of this third season does not mean that the wreckage of flight AF 447 will never be found. Indeed, a fourth phase of research could be organized after-school new data from the army and the drift models of aircraft debris. The BEA has been able to study up on the drift and returns with data finer than the models that have so far been exploited.
“It is sufficient that the BEA was mistaken from 0.2 to 0.3 knots (about 0.4 to 0.6 km / h, Ed) for our area is the same,” says a source at the Ministry of Defence. The echoes of the AF 447 will also be re-analyzed. The definition is complicated by their position on terrain and the phenomena of echoes. Asked by Le Figaro, a government source said “there is little chance that this new campaign, if it occurs, should be held before next autumn.”
(Reuters) The defense ministry said the boost had come through detailed follow-up analysis of sonar readings taken in the first few weeks after an Air France jet crashed into the Atlantic killing 228 people on June 1 last year.
Finding the black boxes is seen as essential to help crash experts and relatives understand exactly what caused flight 447 to plunge into a remote part of the Atlantic during an equatorial storm on its journey from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
“It is probably the signal (of the boxes),” said General Christian Baptiste, deputy spokesman at the Defense Ministry.
The discovery of a possible ‘ping’ from at least one of the recorders on board the Airbus A330 has allowed experts to narrow the search to a few square kilometers from several thousand ahead of the anniversary of the airline’s worst crash…
Le Figaro newspaper later reported in an advance copy of its Friday edition that the aircraft may have turned around to escape a zone of turbulence or to return to Brazil. The newspaper cited a government source, without specifying whether it was a Brazilian or French source.
The paper said the new search zone for the wreck was 20 nautical miles, just under 40 km southwest of the last known position of the aircraft. Previously the focus of search efforts had been the area north of the last known position of the plane.
Air France and BEA could not immediately be reached for comment on the Le Figaro story.
Le Figaro (English Translation)(Emphasis Mine)
According to a government source, the area where the wreck is located about 20 miles south of the last known position of the aircraft.
AF 447 delivered her first secret? Reportedly, the new research area of the wreck would be located 20 nautical milessouthwest of the last known position (just under 40 km) of the aircraft. According to a government source interviewed by Le Figaro, “this means that the aircraft was in distress and would, in accordance with current procedures turned around to exit an area of cumulonimbus, or frankly to return to Brazil.
The reserve was de rigueur in Air France pilots interviewed Thursday night. In their view, if the wreck is at this point, it could be a sign of a plane stalled and did a spin and went on a wrong course before being damaged in the ocean.
This revelation is a twist in the investigation into the plane crash on 1 June. It means that experts from the Bureau of Investigations and Analysis (BEA) seeking the wreckage of the AF 447 in the South Atlantic since the end of March are not the right place. They are indeed far focused on an area north of the last known position of the aircraft is heading the northeast that was supposed to be that of the AF 447 at the time of the tragedy.
This new scope is based, where the wreckage of the AF 447 was defined by joint studies of the Navy and Thales, according to reports from fellow RTL. The army has revisited the recordings made last June by the nuclear submarine at the Emerald of the first research campaign mounted in the emergency a few days after the tragedy.
Following this unsuccessful mission, the Navy has approached Thales has developed software capable of exploiting the signals received in June. One of them corresponds to “pingers” black boxes, that is to say issuers that send a signal for a month.
This new zone should be explored as early as Thursday evening by the Seabed Worker. The French office has indicated that the area was forwarded by the army stood out “two hours at sea south of the position” of his current ship.
“When the crew was warned he was at the latitude of the last known position of the aircraft, said a government source. It will go into this new area 20 miles south-west of the last known position of the aircraft. This is the last position Acars automatic message sent by the plane at 2:10 in the night of 31 May to 1 June 2009, four minutes before the impact of the plane into the ocean.
The French Navy Staff Headquarters this morning provided the BEA with the results of the latest analysis of the audio recordings made by the submarine Emeraude during the first phase of underwater searches. These results were obtained very recently and made it possible to define a zone of a few dozen square kilometres in which the airplane wreckage may be found.
Given this latest information, the BEA has decided to extend the searches to this zone. It is in fact situated two hours sailing time to the south of the position of the ship that is currently exploring the area north-west of the last known position of the airplane. Searches will begin there tomorrow morning.
In relation to these developments, the BEA will provide an update on the situation in its offices at Le Bourget on Monday 10 May between 14 h and 15 h. Journalists who wish to attend are requested to confirm their presence as soon as possible to Martine Del Bono, preferably by email.
INFO LE FIGARO – The third season of location of the wreck is coming to an end.
Le Figaro (English Translation)
More than a few days of hope for investigators and victims’ families. According to our information, the teams located the wreckage of AF447 in the South Atlantic should finish searching the area Friday of 2000 km2 supposed to be the impact area of the plane into the ocean on June 1 last.
Investigators, however, could continue research around the perimeter, but they will anyway, early next week, heading to Recife, Brazil, a distance of three days at sea
The regulatory constraints imposed indeed a relief crew after a month at sea and two boatloads of research have gone since March 28. On the other hand, 10 million euros on the table by Air France and Airbus to support this third campaign in the South Atlantic can not stay longer at sea.
Investigators will have to make boats, Anne Candies, which belongs to Americans of Phoenix International Seabed and the Worker, which belongs to a Norwegian shipowner.
By next week, investigators will therefore explore more remote areas of potential entry points of the plane calculated in the fall from studies of abuse of bodies and aircraft debris recovered in June.
After unsuccessfully scoured an area of 17,500 km2 last summer, the Investigation Bureau of analysis (BEA) in charge of air safety investigation had appealed to the best experts worldwide to identify a new area , smaller.
L’optimisme affiché fin mars sur les quais de Recife, Shortly before departure, is now very far. “Theoretically, the aircraft is less likely to be in areas that will be expanded in the coming days than in those who already recognizes a part of Air France. But everything is possible: the wreck of the Titanic was located on the last day. “
Two scenarios are considered, if the teams return to shore empty-handed. Firstly, the launch of a fourth round of research. But it should be funded. “Nothing is ruled out, but I do not see Air France and Airbus back to the pot without serious reason to return to the South Atlantic,” says one close to the investigation.
“Battle between Air France and Airbus
Otherwise, investigators will be satisfied with weak elements in their possession. The maintenance messages (Acars), sent to Roissy night drama, which indicate a clogged pitot probes and loss of information anemometer. And pieces of the wreckage recovered in June indicating that the aircraft entered the ocean flight line (flat) with a high speed.
“Without the black boxes, there will be a battle between Air France and Airbus, a prognostic framework for the company. Elements that investigators have in their possession does not make it possible to mount any scenario or set the shared responsibility of the aircraft, crew and company in what is one of the worst casualty mysterious recent years.
Le Figaro (English Translation)
While the search for black boxes continues at sea, the judicial inquiry confirms that the speed sensors have contributed to the crash but also puts into question their maintenance.
Pitot probes are the heart of the investigation. A preliminary report of experts on the crash of the A330 AF447 Paris-Rio “tip of possible maintenance problems on speed sensors” without actually being the cause of the accident, wrote Saturday that Liberation was able to consult the document.
In December, the Office of Investigations and Analysis (BEA) had already pointed to the speed sensors manufactured by Thales, whose replacement has been required by the European Aviation Safety Agency. At the same time had been ordered a judicial inquiry.
The preliminary report of five legal experts that the newspaper had obtained confirms that the icing sensors measuring the speed of the airplane is a “contributory factor” in the crash, but it is not possible at present to identify “precisely the facts that led to the accident.”
“Independent expert problem”
What is new, experts also highlight the “time (hours and / or calendar time) elapsed since the last maintenance probes”, ie the maintenance of these parts. The French authorities, says Liberation, require maintenance probes every 21 months as Canada, following incidents of icing on the Bombardier, decided in 2008 to reduce this period to 600 hours of flight, about four months.
Experts do not believe however that the probes and the weather are the only causes of the accident, which occurred at night. “The search for additional evidence is needed,” they conclude. The final report of forensic experts is expected in December.
For Alain Jakubowicz, a member of the group of lawyers representing the families, “the expert report does not bring anything new.” It puts into question the independence of experts: “Judges have appealed to experts whose independence is problematic.
An expert is a former Air France pilot, another is an employee of the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, ed.) If we go toward the Office of Investigations and Analysis, is even worse: it is not independent and does not fall under the judicial authority, “argued the lawyer.
“Air France has complied with the procedures”
Asked on Europe 1, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France said it had no knowledge of this preliminary report but said that his company had complied with all procedures for inspection and cleaning. He added that he does not belong to him to say whether to change these rules, since “it is the role of authorities and manufacturers.
Only analysis of the records contained in the plane’s black boxes would know whether pilot error may also be involved but they still rely on the ocean floor. Dominique Bussereau, Secretary of State for Transport has asked the BEA, head of research at offshore Brazil, to continue his research with the help of Air France and Airbus.
The BEA has provided a new point on May 4, after assessing the situation.
Search Operations Phase 3 – Information
- Update on sea searches on 22 April 2010
- Update on sea searches on 14 April 2010
- Data Analysis
video in French 19 MB
with English subtitles
- Undersea Search Operations
video in French 28 MB,
with English subtitles
- Update on sea searches on 7 April 2010
- Ships arrival, 2 April 2010
- Ships Departure
video in French, 18 MB,
with English subtitles
- Ships Departure, Recife, 29 March 2010
- Press Conference, Recife, 25 March 2010
video in French, 22 MB
English transcript of Mr Troadec’s speech
Sea Search Operations Presentation
The BEA has mobilized the following means:
- the American ship « Anne Candies » from Phoenix International which will be equipped with
- an ORION deep towed sonar,
- a CURV 21 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) belonging to the US Navy;
- three REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV)
- two from the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution WHOI and
- one from the German (GEOMAR) oceanographic institute
- one (Triton – XLX 4000) remotely operated vehicle (ROV)
Air France Flight 447: The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin In The Wind! (La réponse mon ami, est Blowin dans le vent !)