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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 18:56
  #744 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SoCal
Age: 61
Posts: 31
Officials have released some details of these messages, but a more complete chronology was published Wednesday by Brazil's O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, citing an unidentified Air France source.
Air France and Brazilian military officials refused to confirm the report. But if accurate, it suggests that Flight 447 may have broken up thousands of feet in the air as it passed through a violent storm, experts told The Associated Press.
The report said the pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" black, electrically charged cumulo-nimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning. Satellite data has shown that towering thunderheads were sending 100 mph (160 kph) winds straight into the jet's flight path at that time.
Ten minutes later, the plane sent a burst of automatic messages, indicating the autopilot had disengaged, the "fly-by-wire" computer system had been switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm also sounded, indicating the deterioration of flight systems, according to the report.
Three minutes after that, more automatic messages indicated the failure of two other fundamental systems pilots use to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Then, a cascade of other electrical failures in systems that control the main flight computer and wing spoilers.
The report repeats a detail previously released by Brazil's Air Force: that the last message came at 11:14 pm, indicating loss of air pressure and electrical failure. The newspaper said this could mean sudden de-pressurization, or that the plane was already plunging into the ocean.
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