30 June 2009

Yemenia A310-300 Crashes near Comoros Islands

30 June 2009
Yemenia Airlines; A310-300; Flight 626; near Moroni, Comoros Islands: The aircraft was on a flight from Sana’a, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros Islands with 142 passengers and 11 crew on board. Early reports indicate that the aircraft crashed in the sea near the main island of Grande Comore in the early morning hours of June 30th. Some bodies have been spotted, as well as some wreckage of the plane located. One survivor, reportedly a child, has been found so far, and search and rescue operations continue.

Update: 01 Jul 2009

One survivor and 5 bodies have been recovered. According to a nurse in Moroni's hospital the 13 year old girl (who has been identified) received just minor injuries and is doing well following the first night, doctors would release more information during the day. Her father in France reported, she had told him on phone she suddenly found herself in the water and in the dark. She heard other voices initially, later it became quiet. Rescuers said, that when they found the girl, she wasn't able to grab the life belt thrown to her. A diver went into the water and brought her on board of the boat.

Yemen's Transport Minister said, that the airplane had undergone maintenance and inspection in May 2009 under the supervision of Airbus Industries. French Authorities had reported, that a number of faults had been found on 7O-ADJ during an inspection by the French Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) in 2007, the airplane had not returned to France and therefore was not inspected again thereafter. At least one of the black boxes has been located on July 1st.

About the Comoros IslandsThe nation of the Comoros Islands is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, between northern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. The last fatal plane crash in the Comoros Islands was the November 1996 crash of a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines 767.

About Yemenia AirlinesYemenia Airlines has been in operation since 1961 and has no previous fatal plane crashes. Two previous serious incidents did not result in any serious injuries. On June 26, 2000, a 737 departed the side of the runway during a landing in Khartoum, Sudan, and the nose gear collapsed.

On August 1, 2001, a Boeing 727 overran the runway at Asmara in Eritrea, and the main landing gear failed after the aircraft crashed into a large block of concreteAbout the A310The aircraft has been in service since 1978 and has been involved in seven previous plane crashes that involved passenger fatalities. The most recent one was a June 2008 crash of a Sudan Airways A310-300 in Khartoum, Sudan. According to AirFleets.net, about 255 aircraft were produces, and about 190 remain in service. By far the largest current operator in world is FedEx, with about 62 aircraft in service.

Source: http://www.airsafenews.com/2009/06/yemenia-a310-300-crashes-near-comoros.html

27 June 2009

Airline policies juggle larger passengers

You pay for checking your baggage, for snacks and for extra legroom. Word is one airline has even toyed with charging you to use the toilet. So it makes perfect sense to some fliers that heavier passengers should pay for spilling over into the next seat.
Earlier this year, United Airlines formalized a policy that charges some larger passengers for a second seat.

Earlier this year, United Airlines formalized a policy that charges some larger passengers for a second seat.

Frequent flier Ross Murphy, 54, has been sandwiched between larger fliers in coach, and he believes they should have to shell out for a second seat.

"They have a right to sit in the seat next to me," said Murphy, who travels cross-country at least 15 times a year to watch his sons' sporting matches. "But they don't have a right to sit in my lap."

A growing number of airlines are forcing bigger passengers to pay more as they cope with the costly and uncomfortable quandary that arises when obese passengers cannot squeeze into a single coach seat.

With airlines trimming flight schedules -- meaning fuller passenger loads this summer -- the issue is bound to spur some awkward encounters. Chart: Compare some of the common airline fees

"It's a growing problem, no pun intended," said George Hobica, president of AirfareWatchdog.com, a site that is part of Smarter Travel Media LLC, which provides airfare deals and advice. "Everyone suffers. The obese people suffer and the people who are skinny and get spilled over on suffer as well."

U.S. obesity rates have mushroomed during the last 25 years, but the width of a coach airplane seat has changed little, remaining between 17 and 18 inches in most commercial planes. More than one-third of Americans fall into the obese category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This makes traveling in tight spaces vexing for airlines trying to bolster profits by selling the maximum number of seats.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not regulate seat width, but it does require passengers be able to sit belted and with both arm rests down to comply with safety standards.

In April, UAL Corp.'s United Airlines formalized a policy that says passengers who are unable to safely fit into one seat must pay full price for a second seat. They may receive it free if the plane has vacant seats. Flight attendants on the airlines are responsible for making sure passengers are fitting in their seats and may ask a heavier passengers requiring two seats to pay extra.

Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for United, said the company received 700 complaints in 2008 from passengers who were upset because a larger passenger encroached on his or her seat.

"This new policy was created for the comfort and well-being of all our guests on board," Urbanski said.

A survey conducted this year by Europe's low-fare airline Ryanair found a third of the 100,000 passengers polled believed a "fat tax" should be instituted, requiring heavier passengers to pay more.

Most U.S. airlines have a policy or plan for dealing with heavier passengers, though some are not formalized like United's. Officials worry heavier passengers squished into one seat may pose a safety hazard when a plane must be evacuated during an emergency.

Southwest Airlines has had a "customer of size policy" for more than 20 years, requiring passengers to buy a second seat on a full plane if their body crosses the armrest boundary.

The company will issue refunds if unoccupied seats are available, which they say is the case 97 percent of the time.

Airlines with open seating policies such as Southwest find it easier to relocate passengers in need of an extra seat. On all airlines, passengers can buy first-class or business-class seats, which are wider. But those tickets cost more than a coach seat.

Experts at Boeing Company, an aircraft manufacturer, say 17-inch seats can accommodate 95 percent of the traveling public. They say studies have found most seat space invasions happen because of wider shoulders and not derrieres.

Still, some larger passengers who need more than one seat believe being charged extra is discriminatory and the airlines are not accommodating the growing American waistline.

"The airlines need to be making bigger seats," said Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a group based in San Francisco, California. "It's not safe to be cramming us into two seats."

Lawsuits have been filed by heavier passengers and by those who complain about large passengers encroaching on their space. The courts have ruled the airline policies are within their rights. In the United States, there aren't any discrimination laws to protect obese people, attorneys say. (In some employment discrimination cases, attorneys have been able to win by proving obesity was a genetic disease beyond the person's control.)

In 2003, the issue of passenger weight surfaced when a commuter plane crashed on takeoff from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of excess weight and a maintenance error. The accident prompted the FAA to increase the estimated weight per passenger by 10 pounds, including 20 pounds of carry-on luggage. For example, the average weight for a passenger traveling in the summer (including carry-on luggage) went from 180 pounds in 1995 to 190 pounds in 2003.

"We realized after that accident that the weights we were using probably didn't reflect the current state of the American traveling public," said Les Dorr, a spokesman with aviation safety at the FAA.

In 2004, a CDC scientist studied the effects of obesity on the airline industry. The scientist calculated his findings based on data revealing the average weight of an American had increased by 10 pounds in the 1990s. He estimated the extra weight cost airlines $275 million extra for fuel in 2000. The figures are likely higher today, with fuel costs rising.

Scott Cluthe, 57, who works in the radio industry in Houston, Texas, a city known for its obesity epidemic, said average-sized passengers should not have to incur the higher fuel cost caused by the airline's heavier customers.

"A small child needs to pay for a flight, so why wouldn't an obese person?" said Cluthe, who flies several times a year, mostly in coach, for personal trips. "I'm not a discriminatory person, but we have to look at the reality of the situation. It's getting a little crowded in here."

Some larger passengers don't mind paying for the second seat. Other heavier fliers argue while tall passengers pay a fee for legroom, the fees are only a fraction of the price of a entire seat. Air France offers obese passengers booking a second seat up to 33 percent off the ticket price, depending on the type of seat and availability.

Mike Vasey of Cheyenne, Wyoming says even some normal-sized people can't fly comfortably when they are packed in the cabin like sardines. Vasey, 45, who considers himself a large guy at 400 pounds and over six feet tall, usually pays for two seats.

"I'd rather be comfortable first ," he said, "and worry about discrimination later."

19 June 2009

Airline sends girls to wrong cities ... twice; Parents want changes

After mistakenly sending two different unaccompanied minors to the wrong cities, Continental says it has procedures in place to prevent that from happening again. However, the parents of the two girls that were separately sent to the wrong cities aren't so sure.

The incidents, of course, happened this past the weekend on flights operated by Continental affiliate ExpressJet. The first came when an 8-year-old girl headed from Houston to Charlotte on Saturday was mistakenly put on a flight to northwest Arkansas. In a separate incident a day later, a 10-year-old girl headed from Boston to Cleveland was mistakenly put on a flight to Newark.

"That they did this with my child and turned around the next day and did it with another child shows they do have major problems," Wendy Babineaux – mother of the 8-year-old girl – says to The Associated Press.

For its part, Continental says the mistakes came as two flights were departing at the same time from a single gate area. The airline says miscommunication among staff members is what led to each of the girls boarding on the wrong aircraft. "We're reviewing the entire situation and are focused on reinforcing our procedures with our employees," Continental spokeswoman Kelly Cripe tells AP.

But Jonathan Kamens, the father of the 10-year-old girl who was mistakenly sent to New Jersey, says the airline may need to consider doing more than just reinforcing its existing procedures. He says changes may be needed after two mix-ups in as many days. "Unless they are doing that, they are not responding adequately and are in denial about the fact something needs to be done to prevent this from happening again."

As for the families, why have they gone to the press? AP writes that "while Babineaux has hired an attorney, both she and Kamens have said they are not looking for compensation from a lawsuit." Babineaux tells AP: "This way, when (Continental) hears attorney, they think maybe, 'We need to get our stuff together.' I'm hoping to get better treatment for unaccompanied minors so no one will have to go through what I did." As for Kamen, he says he hoped to put Continental "in front of the court of public opinion” after the incident.

Continental's Cripe points out to ABC News: "We fly thousands of unaccompanied minors every year and the procedures work when followed. This is not something that happens on a regular basis. It's more like a freak accident that it would happen back-to-back like this."

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checkin' In!!!

Now I know your probably asking yourself, how does an airline send two children on two different flights to the wrong destinations?

Well the information as reported by the news agencies is sketchy at best because they just went on the fact that the airline sent two children to the wrong destinations.

So the questions that should be asked was:

1.Did the parents pay for the children to be handled as “Unaccompanied Minors?”
2.were the parents at the airport at the time of departure.
3.Could the parents see the children board their respective flights?
4.Were the children brought to the airport on time or were they running a little late as so to cause some from confusion?

Usually when a UM or Unaccompanied Minor boards an aircraft the flight attendants are suppose to verify the child's tickets especially since the flight attendants hold the child's tickets for the whole flight.

Are the flight attendants not even speaking to the children when they board? Asking the child if they know where they were going? Was it to visit grandparents, divorced parent or cousins?

I just can't believe that nobody asked the child who they were going to see r why they were going where they were going?

The gate agents are at fault, flight attendants are too! The ball has been dropped by all of the frontline employees and also dropped by the parents because they didn't do their due diligence and follow up or verify the aircraft that the kids were boarded on.

People, when you travel or your kids fly alone, you as a parent need to be "in the loop when they are in the care of others and no question, comment or concern is stupid when it comes to your child. If you let your child fly around the country alone and your relying on the airline to care for your child like you would then you deserve whatever happens because you have become negligent and put your child in harms way on purpose!

I don't play with the welfare of children and I take air travel very seriously and I know that there is only a handfull of employees that would take care of your child like you do or better.

as I always say "Be Proactive, Not Reactive and don't become a victim!"


18 June 2009

Jetliner lands safely after pilot dies

(CNN) -- Continental Flight 61, whose pilot died midflight, has landed safely at Newark International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The agency said the plane landed at 11:49 a.m. ET.

The plane was flying from Brussels, Belgium, to Newark, New Jersey, the Federal Aviation Administration and Continental Airlines said.

Continental said the 61-year-old Newark-based pilot died "apparently of natural causes." The pilot had 21 years of service with Continental, the airline said.

The airline said the crew on the flight included an additional relief pilot who took the place of the deceased man.

The Boeing 777 was carrying 247 passengers, Continental said.

Further details were not immediately available.
Boeing 777-200 (twin-jet) (B772/W)
Brussels Natl (EBBR - track or info)
Newark Liberty Intl (KEWR - track or info)

5700N 02000W 5700N 03000W 5700N 04000W 5600N 05000W SCROD VALIE N250F COVAN
Thursday, Jun 18, 2009

7 hours 29 minutes

Scheduled 10:06 Arrival 12:02

Departure 10:06 Arrival 11:35

11 June 2009

Accident Transcripts from FAA: US Airways A320 at New York on Jan 15th 2009, ditched in Hudson River

The NTSB have released the cockpit voice recorder transcript and the flight data recorder analysis during the currently ongoing three days hearing into the accident.
At 15:25:09 TOGA (takeoff thrust) is set and a normal departure commenced for 2 minutes, then:
15:27:10.4 HOT-1: birds.
15:27:11.0 HOT-2: whoa.
15:27:11.4 CAM: [sound of thump/thud(s) followed by shuddering sound]
15:27:12.0 HOT-2: oh #.
15:27:13.0 HOT-1: oh yeah.
15:27:13.0 CAM: [sound similar to decrease in engine noise/frequency begins]
15:27:14.0 HOT-2: uh oh.
15:27:15.0 HOT-1: we got one rol- both of 'em rolling back.
15:27:18.0 CAM: [rumbling sound begins and continues until approximately 15:28:08]
15:27:18.5 HOT-1: ignition, start.
15:27:21.3 HOT-1: I'm starting the APU.15:27:22.4 FWC: [sound of single chime]
15:27:23.2 HOT-1: my aircraft.
15:27:24.0 HOT-2: your aircraft.
15:27:24.4 FWC: [sound of single chime]
15:27:25.0 CAM: [sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters begins]
15:27:26.5 FWC: priority left. [auto callout from the FWC. this occurs when the sidestick priority button is activated on the Captain's sidestick]
15:27:26.5 FWC: [sound of single chime]
15:27:28.0 CAM: [sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters ends]
15:27:28.0 HOT-1: get the QRH... [Quick Reference Handbook] loss of thrust on both engines.
15:27:30.0 FWC: [sound of single chime begins and repeats at approximately 5.7 second intervals until 15:27:59]
15:27:32.9 RDO-1: mayday mayday mayday. uh this is uh Cactus fifteen thirty nine hit birds, we've lost thrust (in/on) both engines we're turning back towards LaGuardia.
15:27:42.0 DEP: ok uh, you need to return to LaGuardia? turn left heading of uh two two zero.
15:27:43.0 CAM: [sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters begins]
15:27:44.0 FWC: [sound of single chime, between the single chimes at 5.7 second intervals
15:27:46.0 RDO-1: two two zero.
15:27:50.0 HOT-2: if fuel remaining, engine mode selector, ignition.* ignition.
15:27:54.0 HOT-1: ignition.
15:27:55.0 HOT-2: thrust levers confirm idle.
15:27:58.0 HOT-1: idle.
15:28:02.0 HOT-2: airspeed optimum relight. three hundred knots. we don't have that.
15:28:03.0 FWC: [sound of single chime]
15:28:05.0 HOT-1: we don't.
15:28:05.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen twenty nine, if we can get it for you do you want to try to land runway one three?
15:28:05.0 CAM-2: if three nineteen-
15:28:10.6 RDO-1: we're unable. we may end up in the Hudson.
15:28:14.0 HOT-2: emergency electrical power... emergency generator not online.
15:28:18.0 CAM: [sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters ends]
15:28:19.0 HOT-1: (it’s/is) online.
15:28:21.0 HOT-2: ATC notify. squawk seventy seven hundred.
15:28:25.0 HOT-1: yeah. the left one's coming back up a little bit.
15:28:30.0 HOT-2: distress message, transmit. we did.
15:28:31.0 DEP: arright Cactus fifteen forty nine its gonna be left traffic for runway three one.
15:28:35.0 RDO-1: unable.
15:28:36.0 TCAS: traffic traffic.
15:28:36.0 DEP: okay, what do you need to land?
15:28:37.0 HOT-2: (he wants us) to come in and land on one three...for whatever.
15:28:45.0 PWS: go around. windshear ahead.
15:28:45.0 HOT-2: FAC [Flight Augmentation Computer] one off, then on.
15:28:46.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen (twenty) nine runway four's available if you wanna make left traffic to runway four.
15:28:49.9 RDO-1: I'm not sure we can make any runway. uh what's over to our right anything in New Jersey maybe Teterboro?
15:28:55.0 DEP: ok yeah, off your right side is Teterboro airport.
15:28:59.0 TCAS: monitor vertical speed.
15:29:00.0 HOT-2: no relight after thirty seconds, engine master one and two confirm-15:29:02.0 DEP: you wanna try and go to Teterboro?
15:29:03.0 RDO-1: yes.
15:29:05.0 TCAS: clear of conflict.
15:29:07.0 HOT-2: -off.
15:29:07.0 HOT-1: off.
15:29:10.0 HOT-2: wait thirty seconds.
15:29:11.0 PA-1: this is the Captain brace for impact.
15:29:14.9 GPWS: one thousand.
15:29:16.0 HOT-2: engine master two, back on.
15:29:18.0 HOT-1: back on.
15:29:19.0 HOT-2: on.
15:29:21.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen twenty nine turn right two eight zero, you can land runway one at Teterboro.
15:29:21.0 CAM-2: is that all the power you got? * (wanna) number one? or we got power on number one.
15:29:25.0 RDO-1: we can't do it.
15:29:26.0 HOT-1: go ahead, try number one.
15:29:27.0 DEP: kay which runway would you like at Teterboro?
15:29:27.0 FWC: [sound of continuous repetitive chime for 9.6 seconds]
15:29:28.0 RDO-1: we're gonna be in the Hudson.
15:29:33.0 DEP: I'm sorry say again Cactus?
15:29:36.0 HOT-2: I put it back on.
15:29:37.0 FWC: [sound of continuous repetitive chime for 37.4 seconds ]
15:29:37.0 HOT-1: ok put it back on... put it back on.
15:29:37.0 GPWS: too low. terrain.
15:29:41.0 GPWS: too low. terrain.
15:29:43.0 GPWS: too low. terrain.
15:29:44.0 HOT-2: no relight.
15:29:45.4 HOT-1: ok lets go put the flaps out, put the flaps out.
15:29:45.0 EGPWS: caution. terrain.
15:29:48.0 EGPWS: caution terrain.
15:29:48.0 HOT-2: flaps out?
15:29:49.0 EGPWS: terrain terrain. pull up. pull up.
15:29:51.0 DEP: Cactus uh....
15:29:53.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen forty nine radar contact is lost you also got Newark airport off your two o'clock in about seven miles.
15:29:55.0 EGPWS: pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up.
15:30:01.0 HOT-2: got flaps out.
15:30:03.0 HOT-2: two hundred fifty feet in the air.
15:30:04.0 GPWS: too low. terrain.
15:30:06.0 GPWS: too low. gear.
15:30:06.0 CAM-2: hundred and seventy knots.
15:30:09.0 CAM-2: got no power on either one? try the other one.
15:30:09.0 4718: two one zero uh forty seven eighteen. I think he said he's goin in the Hudson. 15:30:11.0 HOT-1: try the other one.
15:30:13.0 EGPWS: caution terrain.
15:30:14.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen twenty nine uh, you still on?
15:30:15.0 FWC: [sound of continuous repetitive chime begins and continues to end of recording]15:30:15.0 EGPWS: caution terrain.
15:30:16.0 HOT-2: hundred and fifty knots.
15:30:17.0 HOT-2: got flaps two, you want more?
15:30:19.0 HOT-1: no lets stay at two.
15:30:21.0 HOT-1: got any ideas?
15:30:22.0 DEP: Cactus fifteen twenty nine if you can uh....you got uh runway uh two nine available at Newark it'll be two o'clock and seven miles.
15:30:23.0 EGPWS: caution terrain.
15:30:23.0 CAM-2: actually not.
15:30:24.0 EGPWS: terrain terrain. pull up. pull up. ["pull up" repeats until the end of the recording]
15:30:38.0 HOT-1: we're gonna brace.
15:30:38.0 HOT-2: * * switch?
15:30:40.0 HOT-1: yes.
15:30:41.1 GPWS: (fifty or thirty)
15:30:42.0 FWC: retard.
15:30:43.7 [End of Recording]
15:30:43.7 [End of Transcript]
HOT-1: Hot microphone 1 (captain)
HOT-2: Hot microphone 2 (first officer)RDO: radio transmissions from US1549DEP: radio
transmissions from La Guardia Departure Control
CAM: cockpit area microphones
4718: radio transmission from flight Eagle 4718
FWC: flight warning computer
TCAS: traffic and collision avoidance system
PWS: predicitive windshear system
GPWS: ground proximity warning system
EGPWS: enhanced ground proximity warning system

Flightpath map by flightaware:

Radar return list by flightaware:

FAA Transcript with pictures in PDF file format http://www.ntsb.gov/Dockets/Aviation/DCA09MA026/420471.pdf

flight data recorder analysis with graphs in PDF file format

The FAA have released the audio recordings of New York's La Guardia Delivery, Ground, Tower and Departure frequencies involving flight US1549 as well as the frequency of Teterboro.

The Aviation Herald has put an edited version of the departure frequency containing only the crucial minutes online:

4MB, the FAA original tape, 19MB 20:20Z-20:40Z).

The according FAA transcript is available, too: http://avherald.com/files/us1549_tracon_transcript_090115.pdf

Additional recordings:LGA Clearance Delivery (20:00Z-20:20Z):

LGA Ground Control (19:58Z-20:25Z):http://avherald.com/files/us1549_ground_090115.mp3

Class Bravo Airspace, covering the Hudson River, several aircraft watching the ditching and reporting to ATC (20:19Z-21:04Z):

ATIS recordings (20:00Z-21:30Z):

3MB, no transcript)Teterboro tower controller recordings (20:24Z-20:50Z):

Transcript of Supervisor station:

LGA Cab Coordinator Position (20:20Z-21:00Z):

39MB, Transcript:

Thanks to: By Simon Hradecky, created Wednesday, Jun 10th 2009 07:34Z

Airplane went down in volatile equatorial zone

There is a region of the world where the weather is always hot and humid and it rains almost every day of the year. Sounds predictable, right? But weather in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ, can be volatile and dangerous.

Air France Flight 447 went down in a volatile zone along the equator between South America and Africa.

The Intertropical Convergence Zone, which circles the Earth near the equator, is where officials say Air France Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean. While weather has not been cited as a reason for the plane's crash, the tragedy does call attention to the region.
The ITCZ is a belt of low pressure that wraps around the planet. Clouds and storms form along it because it is literally where the winds of the world's hemispheres meet.

High pressure in the Northern Hemisphere churns air from the northeast toward the equator. On the flip side, air is steered from the southeast by high pressure in the Southern Hemisphere. The winds that move this air toward the equator are also known as "trade winds" and converge in the middle of the tropics.

That's where the Intertropical Convergence Zone name comes from.
Here, air and water temperatures are typically in the mid-80s. The warm, moist air is heated further by the blazing tropical sun. Steamy air, coming off the ocean, rises until it hits cooler, drier air aloft, forming clouds and thunderstorms. These gigantic storms contain volatile updrafts and downdrafts that can move at speeds of 100 mph.

The height of these storms also can tower to more than 10 miles in the air. Even if you stacked hundreds of the world's tallest skyscrapers on top of each other, they still wouldn't reach the tops of the biggest thunderstorms of the ITCZ.

Former Air Force meteorologist Tim Vasquez wrote about thunderstorms over the Atlantic at the time of the Air France plane's disappearance on his Web site, weathergraphics.com.
"Based on the infrared satellite imagery, I was able to. . .estimate the altitude of the thunderstorms at around 51,000 feet," he told CNN in a phone interview.

Vasquez himself has flown through the ITCZ at least half a dozen times.
"I remember flying from Guam to the Philippines, constantly weaving around the thunderstorms. Sometimes, though, pilots are forced to fly through them," he said.

That's because commercial airliners cannot fly above 50,000 feet. In addition, ITCZ thunderstorms can merge with one another to stretch far and wide, covering hundreds of miles.
The crew of Air France Flight 447 reported severe turbulence shortly before the plane disappeared.

AF 447 Crash (Update)

The FAB reported on Jun 9th, that a total of 41 bodies had been recovered. The FAB indicates, that the weather may change and hamper recovery activity in the coming days. Efforts currently concentrate on the locations where bodies have been detected. Airbus Industries said in an internal e-mail leaked to the public, that there is no evidence of any electrical failure as had been initially claimed by Air France, no evidence of loss of flight instrument displays and no evidence of an ADIRU malfunction as had happened in the Qantas incidents (Qantas uses a different ADIRU manufacturer than Air France).

The ACARS messages as available all indicate unreliable airspeed, although some messages suggest further aircraft evolution and/or crew actions. The last message (cabin vertical speed) indicates a loss of cabin pressure at a rate greater than 1800 feet per minute, which remains to be explained. 3 types of pitot tubes are available, 2 from Thales (BA and AA/Standard) as well as one from Goodrich. The standard Thales pitot tube AA was used on Air France's A330 F-GZCP. The BA type was developed to enhance water drainage encountered during heavy rain conditions during takeoff or landing.

According to the French pilots' union Air France have agreed to dispatch A330 and A340 aircraft only with at least two of the three pitot tubes retrofitted with the new type starting coming Tuesday.

The FAB reported on Jun 10th, that the worsening weather did not impact the recovery operations although search planes were directed at other routes with more favourable weather conditions. The French submarine "Emerau" and the French helicopter carrier and command ship "Mistral" have arrived at the search area. After taking specialist sonar and sensor equipment from the US on board both ships will start the search for the black boxes.

The flight recorders from Flight 447 are now the subject of a massive international search because they could hold the answer to the cause of the crash.
A French nuclear submarine and other vessels now searching for the recorders are focusing on its underwater locator beacon -- a device that sends acoustic pulses, or "pings," to searchers.

The U.S. Navy is contributing two high-tech acoustic devices to locate the pings that will be attached to French tug boats and can search to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters).
The batteries that power the locator beacon are designed to last for about 30 days, though the boxes are designed to keep the contents safe for much longer.

While the wreckage is believed to be about 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) deep, amid underwater mountains and mixed in with tons of sea trash, experts have said they are confident the recorders can be found.

Airspeed sensors like those on the downed plane are susceptible to icing in high-altitude storms. They can affect the stability of an aircraft, particularly if it is on autopilot; one wrong reading can make the autopilot shift the plane into a wrong direction or wrong speed.

Interpol, the international police organization, said Tuesday it is helping to coordinate efforts by a number of countries to identify the crash victims, who came from 32 countries.

"In any major tragedy, a coordinated effort by the international community will significantly speed up the victim recovery and identification process and Interpol is uniquely placed to provide this support to each of our member countries involved," Secretary-General Ronald Noble said.

PARIS, France (CNN) -- There should be no assumed link between on-board speed sensors and the crash of Air France Flight 447 into the Atlantic Ocean last week, the airline's chief executive said Thursday.

Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, shown at a June 1 news conference, says probing the crash will be tough.

"I am not convinced that the sensors are the cause of the accident," said Air France Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon.
Still, he said, the airline will continue with a program, begun just days before the crash, to replace the sensors on its Airbus A330s, the same type of plane that crashed June 1.
The sensors on the doomed plane hadn't yet been replaced, he said.

"Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency maintain that the A330/A340s are safe with any one of the three types of existing sensors," Gourgeon told reporters in France.
Air France has promised that no Airbus A330 or A340 will take off unless at least two of its three Pitot tubes have been replaced. The tubes are an instrument contained in the speed-sensing system.

Gourgeon cautioned journalists that "as for the assumptions made by some of the media, they are pure speculation." He did not elaborate.

Details of the ACARS messages have become available on June 5th and suggest following events while the airplane was in cruise (note, there is no message regarding electrics, hydraulics or engine problems):

Autothrust off

Autopilot off

FBW alternate law

Rudder Travel Limiter Fault

TCAS fault due to antenna fault

Flight Envelope Computation warning

All pitot static ports lost

Failure of all three ADIRUs

Failure of gyros of ISIS (attitude information lost)

ADIRUs Air Data disagree

Flight Management, Guidance and Envelope Computer fault

PRIM 1 fault

SEC 1 fault

Cabin Pressure Controller fault (cabin vertical speed)

06 June 2009

They Have Found Bodies Confirmed To Be On AF 447

PARIS, France (CNN) -- The bodies of two men, one of whom was confirmed to be a passenger from the Air France plane that is believed to have crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, were found early Saturday, a Brazilian air force spokesman said. 

This Airbus 330 disappeared over the Atlantic early Monday while flying from Rio de Janiero to Paris.

Also found were a backpack and a leather briefcase containing an airplane ticket with a reservation code, which Air France verified belonged to a passenger on the jet, Jorge Amaral said.

The Brazilian navy and air force said the backpack contained a laptop, and an oxygen mask also was discovered, the Brazilian navy and air force said.

Air force officials announced the news in Recife, Brazil. The items were discovered 420 miles north of the Fernando de Noronha islands, 220 miles (355 kilometers) off the northeast coast of Brazil.

It is not clear where the plane crashed, since ocean currents likely caused the bodies and debris to drift in the six days since the crash. 

All 228 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus 330 are presumed to have died when the plane disappeared northeast of the islands.

The flight originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was en route to Paris, France. Map of Flight 447's flight path »

Search teams were still trying to find debris from the jet Saturday, two days after an air force official said debris plucked from the ocean was not from the Air France jet.

Earlier Saturday, aviation investigators said Flight 447 sent out 24 automated error messages, including one saying the aircraft's autopilot had disengaged, before it vanished with 228 people on board.

The error messages suggest that the plane may have been flying too fast or too slow through severe thunderstorms it encountered before the crash, officials said. 

They also reported that the airline had failed to replace a part, as recommended by the manufacturer, Airbus.

Airbus had advised airlines to update a piece of equipment that is part of the system that monitors airspeed called a pitot tube. The recommendation was a result of technological developments and improvements, an Airbus spokesman told CNN's Richard Quest. The change was not mandatory, and the spokesman would not comment on Air France's failure to follow the advice.

Planes have crashed because of faulty or blocked pitot tubes in the past, Quest said, and there was clearly something wrong with the doomed plane's speed-monitoring equipment.

But it may be a mistake to place too much emphasis on the pitot tubes, he added, as the jet apparently was experiencing massive system failures.

Even as they analyzed the error messages and satellite images of the doomed flight's path, investigators said they still have a lot of work to determine what caused the plane to go down. Watch as experts question whether recovery is possible »

"I would just like to ask you to bear in mind that all of this is dynamic and there are a lot of question marks," said Paul-Louis Arslanian, head of France's accident investigation bureau. 

"We don't know how the aircraft entered the water. We don't know how these pieces of debris entered into the water and that you have to take into account the current ... and the shape of the ocean floor."

The error messages suggest that the plane may have been flying too fast or too slow through the stormy weather it encountered before the crash, officials said.

In addition, investigators have said the plane's autopilot disengaged, cabin pressure was lost, and there was an electrical failure before the disaster.

Airline failed to replace recommended part, officials say and the plane sent out 24 error messages before it went missing.

The jet's manufacturer, Airbus, sent a Telex to operators of Airbus models reminding them of what to do when speed indicators give conflicting readings.

The spokesman said the notice does not mean there is any major flaw in the aircraft but is simply a reminder to pilots of what to do in the cockpit if they get conflicting information about airspeed.

03 June 2009

No sign of problem with Air France jet at takeoff (Real World News)

Investigator: Unclear who was at controls when plane crashed, killing 228

PARIS - Military planes and ships struggled through high seas and heavy winds Wednesday as they searched for the bobbing wreckage of an Air France jet in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, while an investigator said the plane's black boxes may never be found.

Rescue boats from several nations were sailing toward the site to start the recovery as aviation experts tried to determine why the plane carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on Sunday night ended up in the sea.

An airplane seat, a fuel slick, an orange life vest and pieces of white debris were spotted Tuesday in the ocean about 400 miles northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast.

The floating debris is spread out in two areas about 35 miles apart, not far off the flight path of Flight 447. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said no bodies had been found and there was no signs of life.

Four boats and a tanker ship are en route to the scene but Brazil's lack of equipment to scour the ocean floor was a problem, a navy spokeswoman said Wednesday. Brazil was leading the search for wreckage, while France took charge of the crash investigation.

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Sea three miles deep in areas
"The seas in the area are high, and that is slowing the arrival of our ships," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We have four divers on the way, but the first of them will not get to the scene until midday Thursday."

The official said if the black boxes are at the bottom of the sea — three miles deep in some nearby areas — there was nothing the Brazil navy could do as they do not have the special remotely controlled subs needed to withstand the pressure at the ocean's bottom.

"We'll really only be able to carry out recovery efforts on the surface of the sea," the official said. "If the black boxes have sunk, we don't have the equipment to look for them."

The black boxes — voice and data recorders — are built to last 30 days underwater.

In Paris, the head of France's accident investigation agency, Paul-Louis Arslanian, said he was "not optimistic" that rescuers could even recover the plane's black boxes.

Arslanian said if rescuers don't find the black boxes, investigators should be prepared to continue the probe without them.

"I am not so optimistic. It is not only deep, it is also mountainous," he said. "We might find ourselves blocked at some point by the lack of material elements."

The reason for the crash remains unclear, with fierce thunderstorms, lightning or a catastrophic combination of causes as possible theories. France's defense minister and the Pentagon have said there were no signs that terrorism was involved.

The crew made no distress call before the crash, but the plane's system sent an automatic message just before it disappeared, reporting lost cabin pressure and electrical failure.

French military spokesman Christophe Prazuck said the naval recovery operation will start on the surface, then could turn to the use of submarines to help find the black boxes.

U.S., plane, French ship join search effort
The effort is expected to be exceedingly challenging. Storm season is starting in the zone and low visibility hampered rescue efforts Tuesday. Water depths in the area sink down to 22,950 feet.

Remotely controlled submersible crafts will have to be used to recover wreckage settling so far beneath the ocean's surface. France dispatched a research ship equipped with unmanned submarines that can explore as deeply as 19,600 feet.

A U.S. Navy P-3C Orion surveillance plane — which can fly low over the ocean for 12 hours at a time and has radar and sonar designed to track submarines underwater — and a French AWACS radar plane were joining the operation Wednesday.

Arslanian told a news conference at Le Bourget airport north of Paris that in the absence of black box data right now, investigators were studying the plane's maintenance and other records.

"For the moment, there is no sign that would lead us to believe that the aircraft had a problem before it took off," he said.

He stressed the investigation was only beginning and was likely to last long. He said investigators didn't have enough information to determine whether the plane broke up in the air or upon impact with the sea.

"We don't even know the exact time of the accident," he said.

Asked whether the chief pilot was in the cockpit when the plane went down, Arslanian said, "We don't have for the time being the answer." Pilots on long-haul flights often take turns at the controls to remain alert.

Atlantic storms common in June
Investigators are working with Air France, Airbus and meteorologists to determine what happened. A key possibility is some sort of collision with a brutal tropical storm in the area that sent winds of 100 mph straight into the airliner's path.

The man in charge of the investigation, Alain Bouillard, said Wednesday the accident investigation agency, known by its French acronym BEA, would submit its first preliminary report by the end of June.

Towering Atlantic storms are common this time of year near the equator — an area known as the intertropical convergence zone. But veteran pilots said it was extremely unlikely that Flight 447's crew intended to punch through a killer storm.

"Nobody in their right mind would ever go through a thunderstorm," said Tim Meldahl, a pilot who has flown internationally for 26 years. "If they were trying to lace their way in and out of these things, they could have been caught by an updraft."

01 June 2009

Crash (Technical Version Industry Level:) Air France A330-200 over Atlantic on June 1st 2009, aircraft lost

Update: Friday, Jun 5th 2009 1542Z

The BEA said, 20 investigators supported by 30 engineers from Air France and Airbus Industries have started to collect evidence. A team has been sent to Brazil to secure and analyse recordings of air traffic control frequencies and other evidence in Brazil. The NTSB said, they have accepted an invitation by the BEA to assist in the investigation and have dispatched Bill English as their representative joined by engineers from the FAA, General Electrics (manufacturer of the CF6 engines) and Honeywell.
On Jun 4th the FAB announced, that they have found debris around 510km northnortheast of Fernando de Noronha.

A cargo pallet of about 2.5 square meters and two buoys were recovered. Seven hours later the FAB however had to report, that the recovered debris did not belong to the Air France Airbus.

The BEA announced on June 5th, that so far only these facts have been verified:- location near the planned route over the Atlantic in the vicinity of significant convective cells characteristic for the equatorial region- from start of the automatic message transmissions the reported measured speeds were inconsistent.

Airbus Industries reminded all operators of Airbus Aircraft series A300 to A380 of the operational, abnormal and emergency procedures in the relevant Flight Crew Operation Manuals and Quick Reference Manuals regarding flying with unreliable airspeed.
More details of the ACARS messages have become available on June 5th and suggest following events while the airplane was in cruise (note, there is no message regarding electrics, hydraulics or engine problems):


Autothrust off

Autopilot off

FBW alternate law

Rudder Travel Limiter Fault

TCAS fault due to antenna fault

Flight Envelope Computation warning

All pitot static ports lost


Failure of all three ADIRUs

Failure of gyros of ISIS (attitude information lost)


ADIRUs Air Data disagree


Flight Management, Guidance and Envelope Computer fault

PRIM 1 fault

SEC 1 fault

02:14Z: Cabin Pressure Controller fault (cabin vertical speed)

Update: Wednesday, Jun 3rd 2009 1502Z

Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) have confirmed in a press release, that one of the Hercules C-130 search airplanes sighted metallic and non-metallic debris on the ocean surface about 650km northnortheast of Fernando de Noronha Island at around 09:49Z. Two locations, about 60km apart have been identified. The debris has been identified as an airplane seat, small white pieces, an orange ball, a drum and traces of oil and kerosene.

The Brasilian government now assumes, that these parts belonged to the Air France Airbus and confirms the crash.The FAB announced, that the crash will be investigated under the lead of the French BEA with the support by Brazil's CENIPA (Centro de Investigação e Prevenção de Acidentes Aeronáuticos, Center for Investigation and Prevention of Aviation Accidents).The BEA said, 20 investigators supported by 30 engineers from Air France and Airbus Industries have started to collect evidence. A team has been sent to Brazil to secure and analyse recordings of air traffic control frequencies and other evidence in Brazil.

Update: Tuesday, Jun 2nd 2009 13:30Z

Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) have confirmed in a press release, that one of the Hercules C-130 search airplanes sighted metallic and non-metallic debris on the ocean surface about 650km north of Fernando de Noronha Island at around 09:49Z. Two locations, about 60km apart have been identified. The debris has been identified as an airplane seat, small white pieces, an orange ball, a drum and traces of oil and kerosene. However, it is not possible at this time to identify those parts to have belonged to the missing Airbus A330-200.

"There is information that the pilot of a TAM aircraft saw several orange points on the ocean while flying over the region ... where the Air France plane disappeared," Amaral said, referring to the Brazilian airline TAM. "After arriving in Brazil, the pilot found out about the disappearance (of the Air France plane) and said that he thought those points on the ocean were fire."

New information provided by sources within Air France suggests, that the ACARS messages of system failures started to arrive at 02:10Z indicating, that the autopilot had disengaged and the fly by wire system had changed to alternate law. Between 02:11Z and 02:13Z a flurry of messages regarding ADIRU and ISIS faults arrived, at 02:13Z PRIM 1 and SEC 1 faults were indicated, at 02:14Z the last message received was an advisory regarding cabin vertical speed. That sequence of messages could not be independently verified.

The FAB confirmed, that the pilot of a TAM Linhas Aereas flight from Europe to Brazil reported bright spots on the ocean surface in Senegal's airspace. Senegal conducted a search in that area including having the vessel "Douce France" combing the area, the search however found no trace of the missing airplane. Earlier media reports had suggested, that the "Douce France" had found debris of the airplane in the same area, in which the TAM pilot had spotted the bright spots.

Monday, Jun 1st 2009 10:17Z, last updated Monday, Jun 1st 2009 20:53Z

An Air France Airbus A330-200 (CF6-80E engines), registration F-GZCP performing flight AF-447 (dep May 31st) from Rio de Janeiro,RJ (Brazil) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) with 216 passengers and 12 crew, is overdue at Paris Charles de Gaulle for more than three hours following a scheduled 11:15 hours flight time and estimated arrival at 11:10 CEST (09:10Z). The airplane had departed Brazil's civil radar coverage normally. A crisis and intervention center has been setup at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.Brazil has launched a search and rescue operation off their coast along the last known radar positions near the Island of Fernando de Noronha after which the airplane had failed to establish required radio communication. There have been no reports of an unscheduled landing anywhere on Atlantic Islands or airports surrounding the Atlantic. French Authorities report, that the airplane would have run out of fuel by now.

According to Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) the last radio contact with the crew was about 3 hours into the flight at around 01:33Z. The crew reported flying through severe turbulence. The airplane left civil radar coverage at 01:50Z at FL350 and was expected to report next at 02:30Z. At 02:30Z the crew did not report their position as expected prompting Oceanic Control to raise alert, also informing Dakar Air Traffic Control Center. Air France reported, that they had received an automatic message from the airplane reporting an electrical short circuit and the failure of multiple systems at 02:14Z. Air Traffic Control as well as Military Stations along the Atlantic coast of South America, Africa, Portugal, Spain and France have been alerted and attempted to contact the airplane without success. Attempts to locate the airplane using civil and military radars from both west and east coasts (including France) of the Atlantic also proved unsuccessful.

The airplane entered service in 2005 and had accumulated 18870 flights hours. The captain had 11700 flight hours, one of the first officers had 3000, the other 6600 flight hours. Sources within Air France reported, that the automatic message did not only report an electrical short circuit, but also the loss of cabin pressure. This information has been confirmed by Forca Aereas Brasileira.Airbus Industries confirmed the loss of the airplane while still maintaining the status of the airplane officially as missing. At 14:35Z Air France extended their sincere condolences to the family members of passengers and crew on board of the airplane.

Psychological assistance is available at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France as well as at the airport in Rio de Janeiro.

The French BEA (Bureau for Accident Investigation) have opened an investigation into the loss of the A330 joined by Airbus Industries. Air France has set up hotlines for family members at 0800 800 812 within France, 0800 881 20 20 within Brazil and +33 1 57 02 10 55 from other countries. Brasilian government sources report, that the airplane also disappeared from military radars (primary radars), that do not depend on transponder signals. According to the Forca Aereas Brasileira the airplane was tracking from waypoint INTOL to TASIL, positions reports would have put the airplane approximately 440nm northnorthwest of the Island of Fernando de Noronha and right in the largest red zone on the infrared weather satellite image by NASA at 02:14Z. Weather Services said, that clouds and severe turbulence reached up to 55000 feet in that area. This marks the first loss of an Airbus A330 in commercial operation ever. Four hull losses of Airbus A330s had occured in non-commercial flights.

Updated Pics of latest debris field, Atlantic maps of flight routes and time lapse weather of the storms along the route of flight.

Missing French jet hit storms over Atlantic (Normal News Channels)

Well this is not a good thing at all if any of the following info is correct.
An Air France Airbus A330-200 may have been lost or gone down due to power failure, cabin pressurization or maybe a bomb related explosion, weather and lightning and severe thunderstorms might be a more legitimate cause of this one. A bomb threat was called into Air France after departure of the flight but it's too early and it would only be speculative. As updates become available I will post them and add my 2 cents about what could be going on.

Good luck to all those involved and God Bless!!!


Update: Tuesday, Jun 2nd 2009 2055Z

Brazilian military planes found a 3-mile path of wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean, confirming that an Air France jet carrying 228 people crashed in the sea, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said Tuesday.
Jobim said the discovery "confirms that the plane went down in that area" hundreds of miles from the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.
He said the strip of wreckage included metallic and nonmetallic pieces, but did not describe them in detail. No bodies were spotted in the crash of the Airbus in which all aboard are believed to have died.

The discovery came just hours after authorities announced they had found an airplane an airplane seat, an orange buoy and signs of fuel in a part of the Atlantic Ocean with depths of up to three miles.
Jobim said recovery of the of the plane’s cockpit voice and data recorders could be difficult because of the depth of the ocean where the debris was found.
It’s going to be very hard to search for it because it could be at a depth of 2,000 meters or 3,000 meters (1.2 miles to 1.8 miles) in that area of the ocean,” Jobim said.
The initial discovery of wreckage announced before Jobim spoke came about 36 hours after the jet went missing as it flew from Rio de Janeiro toward Paris.
Pilots may have tried to turn the planeA Brazilian air force spokesman said the two spots where debris was located suggested the pilots may have tried to turn the plane around to return to Fernando de Noronha.
“The locations where the objects were found are toward the right of the point where the last signal of the plane was emitted,” said the spokesman, Col. Jorge Amaral. “That suggests that it might have tried to make a turn, maybe to return to Fernando de Noronha, but that is just a hypothesis.”

Amaral said some of the debris was white and small, but did not describe it in more detail.
Jobim made the announcement after two commercial ships that joined the search late Tuesday morning reached sites where the debris was found, a Navy spokeswoman said.
“Once they come across the objects, they will be analyzed to determine if they are parts of the plane or just junk,” she said.

A U.S. Navy P-3C Orion surveillance plane and 21 crew members arrived in Brazil on Tuesday morning from El Salvador and was to begin overflying the zone in the afternoon, U.S. officials said in a statement. The plane can fly low over the ocean for about 12 hours at a time and has radar and sonar designed to track submarines underwater.
The French dispatched a research ship equipped with unmanned submarines to the debris site. The subs can explore depths of up to 19,600 feet (6,000 meters). The U.S. was considering contributing unmanned underwater vehicles in the search as well, according to a defense source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Update: Tuesday, Jun 2nd 2009 13:30Z

Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) have confirmed in a press release, that one of the Hercules C-130 search airplanes sighted metallic and non-metallic debris on the ocean surface about 650km north of Fernando de Noronha Island at around 09:49Z. Two locations, about 60km apart have been identified. The debris has been identified as an airplane seat, small white pieces, an orange ball, a drum and traces of oil and kerosene. However, it is not possible at this time to identify those parts to have belonged to the missing Airbus A330-200.

"There is information that the pilot of a TAM aircraft saw several orange points on the ocean while flying over the region ... where the Air France plane disappeared," Amaral said, referring to the Brazilian airline TAM. "After arriving in Brazil, the pilot found out about the disappearance (of the Air France plane) and said that he thought those points on the ocean were fire."

Members of a Brazilian military squad prepare to depart Monday to take part in the search for an Air France jet that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.

From Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) – An Air France plane with 228 people on board was presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday after hitting stormy weather during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
The airline offered its condolences to the families of the passengers, making clear it did not expect any rescue.

"It's a tragic accident. The chances of finding survivors are tiny," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport after meeting passenger relatives.

The plane was packed with 216 passengers including seven children and one baby, Air France said. Most of them were French or Brazilian but they included around 20 Germans and several other nationalities. Twelve crew members were also on board

The full Airbus jet flew into storms and heavy turbulence four hours after take-off from Rio and 15 minutes later sent an automatic message reporting electrical faults, the airline said.
There was no sign that the crew had sent a mayday message or any indication that signal-emitting emergency locators had activated on impact as is normally the case in crashes.
A company spokesman said several of the plane's mechanisms had malfunctioned.
"It is probably a combination of circumstances that could have led to the crash," he said, adding that the airliner might have been hit by lightning.

Lightning strike?

Chief Air France spokesman Francois Brousse said "it is possible" the plane was hit by lightning, but aviation experts expressed doubt that a bolt of lightning was enough to bring the plane down. Aviation experts said lightning strikes on planes were common and could not alone explain a disaster.
Air France's manager in Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Assuncao, told reporters that the two biggest groups of nationalities aboard were Brazilian and French. Other passengers were American, Angolan, Argentine, Belgian, British, Chinese, Filipino, German, Irish, Italian, Moroccan, Norwegian, Spanish and Slovakian.
Senior French minister Jean-Louis Borloo ruled out a hijacking, saying the plane would have landed somewhere, but said it was too early to exclude any other scenario.
The Brazilian air force said the plane was far out over the sea when it went missing.
If no survivors are found it will be the worst loss of life involving an Air France plane in the firm's 75-year history.

List of identified passengers aboard lost Air France flight
-Luiz Roberto Anastacio, 50; Brazilian; president for South America, Michelin
-Aisling Butler, 26; Irish, of Roscrea, Ireland; doctor
-Brad Clemes, 49; Canadian from Guelph, Ontario; Coca-Cola executive
-Arthur Coakley, 61; British; structural engineer for PDMS
-Jane Deasy, 27; Irish; doctor
-Pedro Luis de Orleans e Braganca, 26; Brazilian; descendent of Brazil's last emperor
-Antonio Gueiros; Brazilian; information systems director, Michelin
-Michael Harris, 60; American, from Lafayette, Louisiana; geologist
-Anne Harris; American, from Lafayette, Louisiana
-Erich Heine, 41; South African-born; member of executive board of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG
-Claus-Peter Hellhammer, 28; employee of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG based in Germany
_Giovanni Battista Lenzi, Trentino area, Italy
-Zoran Markovic, 45; Croatian, from Kostelji, Croatia; sailor
-Christine Pieraerts; French; engineer at Michelin
-Eithne Walls, 29; Irish; doctor
_Rino Zandonai; Trentino area, Italy.
-Luigi Zortea; Trentino area, Italy.


Military planes took off from the island of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil's northeast coast to look for it and the Brazilian navy sent three ships to help in the search.
France sent one of its air force planes from west Africa and several ships. Sarkozy said Spain was helping in the mission and Paris had asked the United States to assist in locating the crash site using U.S. satellite data.
"It seems the zone has been identified down to within 10 nautical miles," Borloo said on France 2 state television.

The plane left Rio de Janeiro on Sunday at 2200 GMT (6 p.m. EDT).
On its flight northeast from Rio, the aircraft would have had to pass through a notorious storm patch shifting around the equator known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone.
"It is a zone in the tropics where you can have particularly deep thunder clouds," said Barry Gromett, a meteorologist at the London Weather Center.

Air France Flight 447, a 4-year-old Airbus A330, left Rio on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. local time with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board, said company spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand.
The plane left Brazil radar contact, past the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, about three hours later, indicating it was flying normally at 35,000 feet and traveling at 522 mph.

Executives from French tire company Michelin and from the Brazil unit of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp were among the passengers, the companies said.
The plane was an Airbus 330-200 powered with General Electric engines. If the plane is confirmed to have crashed, it would be the first time an A330 has been lost during an operational airline flight. Tearful relatives were led away by airport staff in Paris to a private area where psychologists were ready to assist them.

Search continues for missing jet June 1: Search and rescue attempts continue across a wide stretch of the Atlantic Ocean after an Air France jet is believed to have hit severe turbulence near the equator. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

Air France said the plane had 18,870 flight hours on the clock and went into service in April 2005. It last underwent maintenance in a hangar in April this year. The pilots were also very experienced, the airline said.

The last incident with major loss of life involving an Air France plane was in July 2000 when one of its Concorde supersonic airliners crashed just after taking off from Paris, bound for New York.
At least 113 people died in the disaster.

Indian passengers avoid flying Air France to avoid discrimination at Paris (Flying While Brown)

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Well here is another story that we may start to see on a reoccurring basis. Here in the U.S. as an African American and as of recent if your Mexican especially here in the border states to Mexico you understand and know the term "racial profiling." Blacks in America have always been subject to racial profiling or better known as "D.W.B." or "Driving While Black" and now the latest change in the terminology here in Arizona especially we are now hearing the term refered to as "Driving While Brown" and it is usually directed at or referring to illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Well here is my addition to the english vernacular, "F.W.B" or "Flying While Brown!" Indian passengers were poorly treated by Air France and by the loop holes of the securities and immagration rules, these passengers were denied food, water (until a protest started), and hotel accomodations that the airline was at fault for. AF025 had some type of mechanical problem with the aircraft and it delayed the flight and caused passengers to miss their flight.

It is looking like as tensions grow more volitale in India, I think we will see more transgretions towards people from India if the situations in India and relationships with other countries if relationships don't get any better.

People of color already understand this type of discrimination here in the U.S. and now it looks like that same type of discrimination is moving abroad!

Remember, Be Proactive, Not Reactive and Don't Be A Victim!!!

(read the story below)

Indian passengers complain of discrimination by Air FranceMumbai A fortnight after over 50 Indian passengers alleged they were victims of racial profiling while flying Air France, ten Indians, travelling by the same airline, met a similar fate when they were stranded for an entire night in a Paris airport lounge.

The Indians, flying to Mumbai from Washington via Paris, complained that they were confined to the lounge on Monday with just some water and a sandwich after their plane reached Paris late from Washington and they could not board the connecting flight to Mumbai.

The passengers of the flight AF025 alleged that while they had to remain at the airport, people with American passports were given transit visas, provided accommodation and taken care of.
Complaining of discrimination and insensitivity towards them, a passenger Gwyneth Alphonso said, “We were not put on the immediate connecting flight on the same day. We were told that we have to just adjust within the environment. (Those) who held American passports were given visas and accommodation and were taken care of. But we who had Indian passports were the only ones to be denied any kind of help at that place”.

The passengers said the airline extended an apology to the passengers through an SMS.
Over 50 Indian passengers had on May 12 accused Air France of ‘racial’ profiling at Paris airport where they were stuck while in transit after their aircraft developed a technical problem, a charge denied by the airline.

The passengers said their plane had left Washington three hours behind schedule due to a technical problem and that they had barely 20 minutes in hand after arrival in Paris to take their connecting flight to Mumbai. They said they just could not make it to the connecting flight.
Another passenger Jagdish Patankar, who had to spent the night in the ’sanitised’ area at the airport, said, “It shows total insensitivity towards the incidence. For six hours, we were in that area. We were provided with water, were not provided with juice or food or anything. We were all there just stranded.”

The passengers said they were finally put on a flight to Mumbai after they protested.

Narrating the latest ordeal, Jagdish Patankar, 47, said:

"We boarded flight AF-025 on May 24 at 6:45pm at Dulles Airport in Washington. But the pilot said the flight had developed a snag and we were deplaned."
It took the airline three hours to rectify the snag. The flight with 174 passengers on board finally took off at 9:45pm (7:15am IST), said Patankar, managing director of a Worli-based event management company, MM Activ.
The flight landed at de Gaulle Airport at 10:20am (1:50pm IST) on May 25, but the Indians missed their 10:45am (2:15pm IST) connecting flights to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. "Our troubles began soon after,"
Patankar said.

The airline, he said, told the passengers that the next connecting flight to Mumbai was 24 hours later and they would have to spend the night at the airport. "While our European co-passengers were given hotel accommodation, the airline said the police had denied transit visas to Indians," said Gwyneth Alphonso, 39, another Indian who got stuck in Paris.

No airline official attended to them from 11am (2.30pm IST) to 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) and they had to go without food and water, the Indians said. "It was clearly discrimination against us as Europeans were treated well and we were left to wait at the airport," she alleged.
"There was a cafeteria, but we needed to clear security checks to go there.

Since our passports and visas were with the airline, we couldn't even buy food," Alphonso said. Among the passengers were a diabetic, Dr P Mathew Varghese, and a 65-year-old woman with her 15-month-old granddaughter. "We literally begged for chocolates and other eatables from international passengers who were passing by to get something for Dr Varghese and the baby," Alphonso said.
The Indians then ran out of patience and protested, forcing the airline to give them a 200ml water bottle and half-a-sandwich each.

"We demanded that the airline put us on the next connecting flight to Dubai," Patankar said. Air France put them on flight AF-530 from Paris to Dubai, which was to leave at 11:20pm (2:50pm IST).
"Even this flight had a technical snag and left an hour late. But we reached Dubai around 8:52am local time (10:52am IST), just in time to catch the Emirates EK-506 Dubai-Mumbai flight," Patankar said.
Other Indians took flights to Bangalore and Delhi. Some of the passengers landed at Mumbai airport at 2pm on May 26 but without their baggage. "I got my luggage on May 27, but certain items were missing," Patankar said.

When contacted, an Air France spokesperson blamed the trouble on visa formalities imposed by the French police but said none of the Indian passengers had to spend the night at Paris airport. The spokesperson, in an emailed statement, promised to investigate the matter and try and improve transit procedures at de Gaulle Airport.
(Original Story)