Good morning, Netizens...
The entire world is focused on a remote portion of the Atlantic Ocean this morning as the search for the remains of the Air France Jet AF 447 with 228 people on board continues. Nearly all the world news services agree, there is little chance of finding any survivors left from the jet which went down in mysterious circumstances while on a routine flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France. However, the unending question resides: what happened to Flight 447?
As always, there are rumors, half-baked truths and even omissions from the news stories that are circulating on the Internet, but as I see it, the few basic facts we have regarding the disappearance of Flight 447 are substantial and informative.
There apparently was a bomb threat made in previous weeks in Brazil which some news sources are falsely alluding might involve flight 447. However what facts we actually have at our disposal state unequivocally that Flight 447 was in “good shape”, recently been serviced and was ready for travel. Perhaps there was a bomb on board the flight, but no proof exists of any terrorist threat.
There are others, including several French officials, that have stated the plane flew into a series of incredible thunderstorms, which are common in the area at this time of year. Having known a number of commercial pilots over the years, I asked several if they could ever fly a plane into one of these 50,000 foot-tall monstrosities, horribly-strong thunderstorms, and I got the same answer. No commercial pilot flying a plane filled with passengers would risk coming near such a huge storm. According to Air France, the AF 447 was equipped with full weather radar, and thus would have known long before the plane encountered problems whether to change course or, in the case of being unable to do so, land at the nearest safe airport/return to Brazil. The pilot of the missing jet was experienced, skilled and, one would hope, unwilling to fly into such a storm.
Then we have the only category that defines what little is known: the unknown status of the jet before the nebulous automated message(s) began arriving that the plane had suffered some kind of electrical, hydraulic or airframe failure. It had been flying at approximately 33,000 feet, and from the wreckage path, strewn all over the ocean in a 30 mile swath, we can only determine approximately where the plane came down.
Investigators need the “black boxes” from the aircraft before they can do more than speculate, and it does seem speculation is what the news media offers when they have no facts to go on. Those black boxes may be as far down as 1,000 feet beneath the sea inside the wreckage of what was once an Air France jet. It may be days or even weeks before a submersible capable of operating at such oceanic depths will be able to find the remnants of the jet, and even then, it will be a technically-challenging task to find the black boxes when and if they can reach the remnants of Flight 447.
We may never know what happened aboard that flight. All we can safely state at this point in time is that everything humanly possible is being done to find the facts.