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-   -   Air France A330-200 missing (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/375937-air-france-a330-200-missing.html)

Jumpseat777 1st Jun 2009 11:12

Without getting into specifics..AF fleet is tracked via constant ACARS reporting updated landing times...etc..to destination and en route stations. This is filtered news reporting to me. I have a feeling the S&R is being located to a certain area as thats last confirmed position. Think the rest is just speculation. Hope all are safe, but to me this might not have a happy ending..

Speed of Sound 1st Jun 2009 11:13

If the aircraft has ACARS (which I am sure it must have) then a report of height, speed and position is reported every minute
In which case the reported loss of contact time must be incorrect.

If Brazilian authorities are searching that part of the Atlantic, then we must assume that AF have passed on any flight data they have to the Brazilians.

If a catastrophic failure, then position data received every minute would provide a location accurate to +/- 10 miles.


dangrey 1st Jun 2009 11:15

Quite possibly the "0600 GMT" time is wrong and the aircraft went missing earlier.

But if it has been lost over deep Atlantic SAR resources will be limited. Normally a search would be conducted by commercial vessels in the area, later joined by any naval ships that can make the area in reasonable time.

After that, it's a case of the searching for and recovery of the wreckage. Where-ever it is they'll have a good idea of where the aircraft is lying from the last ACARS report. Black boxes have sonar beacons to aid their location.

sandylanding 1st Jun 2009 11:19

this is a deeply worrying time, and thoughts are clearly with the families. what struck me is that if communication was lost during heavy turbulence and the rescue aircraft were launched then some report from them must be available from brazil, unless we are looking at something quite horrific. if it had ditched then shouldn't a rescue beacon give a position when it touches the water.

Jumpseat777 1st Jun 2009 11:20

To all speculating GZCP has the whole array..GPS SATCOM ACARS SELCAL..no airline is going to get into the specifics without facts..this will be treated as aircraft missing comm lost till the first sign of contact in whatever form that might be :-(. AF MCC has live tracking as well and I have a feeling loss of contact times will be corrected too. The ELT would have been triggered too.. so there will be something soon

Dani 1st Jun 2009 11:28

JS777: well of course modern equipment has the full range. But Acars is lost when out of VHF coverage, roughly 100NM off a coast. Selcal is via HF. The only thing that's left is Satcom over the sea. Acars and Selcal can be coupled to Satcom. But if this last system is defect, you loose that too.

Remember Swissair SR111 Halifax, where they lost all electricals after an onboard fire. One could speculate that you still can fly 100's of miles without any communication link, and that makes tracking much more difficult.

I don't say you are not right, I just want to put everything into perspective.


fjouve 1st Jun 2009 11:28

A Breguet-Atlantique just took off out of Dakar in order to possibly locate the plane off African coast.

racedo 1st Jun 2009 11:30

Seems like Pprune users stats gone through the roof as people using this as main source of collated news.

Thats why its better to leave the ill informed speculation to Sky.

baob2oba 1st Jun 2009 11:36

AF press conference at AF CDG HQ expected at 1200z

ADP ( Paris Airports Company ): " no more hope "

French transport ministry : " very low probability of hijacking/terrorist attack "

AF website overloading, impossible to log in


gramlin 1st Jun 2009 11:41

Short bulletin from AF;
Vol Air France 447 Rio de Janeiro - Paris-Charles de Gaulle

EGNS 1st Jun 2009 11:44

NASA/MSFC Interactive GOES Data Selector

Really bad weather out there. Electrical short circuit in severe turbulence.

hangten 1st Jun 2009 11:46

Sky News:

'Plane sent message it had electrical short circuit after strong turbulence'

'Short circuit message received at 02:14 UTC, 15 minutes after turbulence'

HalloweenJack 1st Jun 2009 11:55

an i ask what are (or were ) the meteorological conditions in the area at the time?

Xeque 1st Jun 2009 11:56

SAM1191 post number #45
If this is accurate then it puts the aircraft 4 hours 20 minutes into the flight and some 500 NM SSW of the Cape Verde Islands.
So why did the Brazilians launch a SAR mission? The aircraft, at that time, would have been well clear of Brazilian airspace and closer to West Africa.
An earlier report of severe weather in the area is also significant.
CAT leading to catastrophic airframe failure?

barrybeebone 1st Jun 2009 11:57

Hangten, I just read your message and 2 seconds later CNN reported the electrical short circuit. I hope Sky news got it from a good source. Speculation in these incidents don't help anyone but the advertisers in news bureaus.

betpump5 1st Jun 2009 11:58

Air France was facing the worst crash in its history today after a passenger jet with 228 people aboard went missing over the Atlantic on a flight from Brazil.

Flight AF447 took off from Rio de Janeiro at 7.30pm last night bound for Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where it was due to arrive at 11.15am (0915GMT).

But there was confusion as to where it may have come down.

The Paris airport authority said that it had lost radar contact with the Airbus A300-200 at 0600 GMT, only three hours before its arrival time, which would suggest that it could have come down near Europe, probably off the Azores.

The 10 most deadly air disasters
British businessman killed in Brazil air crash
But the Brazilian Air Force said that the plane disappeared about 300 km northeast of the Brazilian coastal city of Natal, near the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, from where a search-and-rescue mission was mounted this morning.

The aircraft's apparent failure to send any distress message suggests that it could have been victim of a sudden, violent event – a mechanical breakdown, accidental explosion in the hold or terrorist attack, although Jean-Louis Borloo, the French transport minister, ruled out the possibility of a hijack.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Air France announces with regret that it is without news of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, which has 216 passengers aboard, and shares the fears of the families involved."

Air France said that there were a total of 12 crew aboard the plane, including three technicians.

An official at the Paris airport authority said: "We are very worried. The plane disappeared from the screens several hours ago. It could be a transponder problem, but this kind of fault is very rare and the plane did not land when expected."

Airport authorities have set up a crisis cell at Charles de Gaulle and Air France said all those waiting for the flight would be given access to a special waiting area at the airport's second terminal.

The aircraft in question, tail number F-GZCP, came into service in February 2005.

President Sarkozy's office said that he had asked authorities to "do all they could" to help find the missing aircraft. In a statement, the Elysée said that the President had been informed of the loss of contact this morning and had expressed "the greatest anxiety".

Brazil had two major plane crashes in 2006 and 2007, raising concerns about the safety of air travel in Latin America’s largest country.

In July 2007, all 187 people on board and 12 people on the ground died when a TAM airline Airbus A 320 overshot a runway at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport.

Airways B 1st Jun 2009 12:03

Looks Turbulent but I wouldn't know how different from the 'norm' this is.


nyt 1st Jun 2009 12:08

As long as no abnormal seismic event has been reported in the area, one can hope that touchdown was somehow survivable..

Christodoulidesd 1st Jun 2009 12:13

"Brasilian government sources report, that the airplane also disappeared from military radars (primary radars), that do not depend on transponder signals."

source: Crash: Air France A332 over Atlantic on June 1st 2009, aircraft missing

Jumpseat777 1st Jun 2009 12:13


True.. and a good clarification. On Air France the systems are coupled and if you are flying with a known defective system then there your route planning (ETOPS limited) is affected so they would not fly into known blind spots. Of course it could have happened en route. But again you have made a fair point. The flight seemed to have sent a msg to MCC indicating a short circuit..again I have a feeling this will be clarified to something specific. But that would be a ACARS transmission. For an accident or an incident its always multiple causes. 3 techies(false media reporting) or an AOG recovery from Rio?

KarlADrage 1st Jun 2009 12:33

It was quoted as F-GZCP not F-GZCB.

allymc316 1st Jun 2009 12:35

an airbus spokesman has said "the plane was probably struck by lightning"

Air France jet goes missing | The Sun |News

not good...

Massey AvMan 1st Jun 2009 12:35

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8:28 a.m. ET June 1, 2009
SAO PAULO, Brazil - An Air France jet that disappeared Monday en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris sent an automatic signal indicating electrical problems while going through an area of strong turbulence, the airline said.

The plane was most likely hit by lightning during its flight, Air France's director said at a news conference, according to an NBC News producer.

Aviation experts said it was clear the plane was not in the air any longer, due to the amount of fuel it would have been carrying.

"It's nearly three hours overdue. There has been no receipt of a mayday call. The conclusion to be drawn is that something catastrophic happened on board that has caused this airplane to ditch in a controlled or an uncontrolled fashion," Jane's Aviation analyst Chris Yates told The Associated Press.

Air France said in a statement the plane that carried 228 on board "crossed through a thunderous zone with strong turbulence" at 0200 GMT Monday (10:00 p.m. ET Sunday).

It said "an automatic message was received at 0214 GMT (10:14 p.m. EDT Sunday) signaling electrical circuit malfunction."

It said the 216 passengers included one infant, seven children, 82 women and 126 men.

vapilot2004 1st Jun 2009 12:40

Hit by lightning?
That's a stretch considering there are no reports of such an occurrence...

Tango Lima Charlie 1st Jun 2009 12:49

Any news coming out yet of what Nationalities on board?

Broomstick Flier 1st Jun 2009 12:50

Just to make it clear: the aircraft involved was indeed F-GZCP. It was picked on ACARS by a friend of mine while inbound Rio de Janeiro.

TheBeak 1st Jun 2009 12:53

The a/c quoted as being involved had an incident in 2006 in which it's wing hit the tail of a 320 on the ground. Is there a possiblity of latent structural failure induced by severe turbulence?

Sir Richard 1st Jun 2009 13:01

Air France said that there were a total of 12 crew aboard the plane, including three technicians.
"three technicians" most likely refers to the cockpit crew.

whartonp 1st Jun 2009 13:07

The a/c quoted as being involved had an incident in 2006 in which it's wing hit the tail of a 320 on the ground. Is there a possiblity of latent structural failure induced by severe turbulence?
Yes its possibly. Not very likely but possible. Then again there are so many possibilities and none should really carry much in the way of speculative weight until more hard and firm info becomes available.

Xeque 1st Jun 2009 13:08

Blonde Bimbo 'News' notwithstanding - why did it take so long for the news to be published on the media?
The incident appears to have occurred some 2-3 hours into the flight. It was a lot longer than that before news started coming out of our TV's and radios. Air France must have known that one of theirs was down long before anyone got to hear about it. Hopefully, the reason was so they could inform relatives.
Post #45 (SAM1191) is interesting. How accurate can we assume that to be?

LYKA 1st Jun 2009 13:08

SIGMET for the area;


BAe 146-100 1st Jun 2009 13:12

There was severe turbulence on the weather chart at FL410 off the West African coast at around the time the aircraft would have crossed the region.

I would assume the aircraft would have been pretty close to that flight level at that point of the flight.

cambruzzo 1st Jun 2009 13:13

Was the turbulence perhaps software generated rather than weather?

My thought also, just looking for the reference which is 2nd last entry

Michael Birbeck 1st Jun 2009 13:15

Air France
One is minded to think of the great history that Air France has in pioneering South Atlantic routes and the huge number of people they have carried safely over these routes. It is far too early to start questioning ETOPS or anything else as we have no meaningful data to even begin speculating.

Those who can should pray for the passengers and crew as well as those who are looking for them. At this stage there is nothing else to do but wait for data from the reconnaissance people.

Munnyspinner 1st Jun 2009 13:18

Is there any useful point in speculating as to the cause?

I do not doubt that everyone will have their own view as to the reason for this catastrophe but, I'm again lost as to the purpose of wild speculation. In the vast majority of cases it is not one single event that results in the demise of an aircraft and souls aboard but, often a a complicated matrix of seemingly unconnected events.

The likeliehood of any one aircraft suffering from any incident, fatal or otherwise, is actually very small. Reading the posts here might suggest the opposite - given the seemingly endless list of probable causes given by correspondents. No matter how plausible each theory may indeed be.

Simply reporting what news is made available may be boring but, it does avoid the creation of a vicariuos rumour mill.

L'aviateur 1st Jun 2009 13:19

Latest Update from Air France
Update from Air France: Vol Air France 447 Rio de Janeiro - Paris-Charles de Gaulle

Brief translation

Air France regrets to announce the loss of flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro - Paris-Charles de Gaulle, expected arrival this morning at 11.10 am local, as just announced to the press by the Director General of Air France, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon.

AF447 Aircraft F-GZCP A330-200 departed Rio de Janeiro on the 31st May 2009 at 19:03 Local time (00:03 paris time).

The aircraft went through a thunderstorm with strong turbulence at 2 am (universal time) or 4:00 GMT. An automated message was received at 2:14 (4:14 GMT) indicating a failure of electrical system in a remote area off the coast.

All civilian air traffic control Brazilian, African, Spanish and french have tried in vain to make contact with the flight AF447. The french military air traffic control tried to detect the aircraft without success.

216 pax onboard, 126 men, 82 women, 7 infants and babies.

12 crew (3 pilots, 9 cabin crew)

Captain 11,000 hrs TT (1700 on Airbus A330/A340)
Copilot 3,000 hrs TT (800 on Airbus A330/A340)
Copilot 6,600 hrs TT (2600 on Airbus A330/A340)

Aircraft equipped with engines General Electric CF6-80E.

Airframe had 18,870 flight hours since commencing service on 18 April 2005.

Last visit maintenance hangar dated 16 April 2009.

jotape 1st Jun 2009 13:28

some additional thoughts:

- "why Brazil air force bothering to fly out if incident happened off African coast" ? well to me its clear: its a methodical tracing of the route followed, as for the moment and until debris is spotted, we actually have no idea apart from loss from radar and reports of electrical faults

- AF pioneering South Atlantic routes - absolutely agree and some of you will remember that AF's first SSC service was not to Washington or NY, it was to Rio ! so a very important and historical route for AF

- AF quality; let no one criticise AF's protocols and maintenance quality, as they are equal to BA and LH and better than most other Euro airlines (to be honest when I heard the news and before the company was announced, my instinct was to think this was a TAM flight...); last big crash from AF was the Concorde crash, now known to be caused by a chunk of metal falling off a preceding CO....

barrymah 1st Jun 2009 13:29

AFAIK, but maybe out of date, flts entering airspace out of FIR announce their location, entry and exit points. Is there any ATC guru who can confirm/deny/update this? If so where would AF447 have made such an announcement?

IMO, the lack of info from Sal would seem significant; the first FIR after Brazilian airspace?

Bye, Barry

Checkboard 1st Jun 2009 13:35

While tests by NASA have indicated that the highest risk of lightning strike is at or near the tops of thunderstorms with low lightning strike rates, this is the least reported area of strikes by pilots, as the storm tops are so easy to avoid. Aircraft are highly protected against lightning, in any case, although damage does occur.

The worst risk is of fuel explosion - although there has never been a verified lightning induced fuel explosion on an aircraft using Jet A. (8/12/63 a Pan Am 707 was bought down by lightning strike, a Iranian Air Force 747 on 9/5/76, a US AIr Force C-130 in 1978 and an F-4 and KC-135 - however all were fuelled with, or partially fuelled with Jet B (JP-4) ).

It is far more probable that the "lightning" comment was a rushed conclusion from a non-expert from the "short circuit" ACARS message.

This would be the first fatal in-service accident for the A330 (an A330-300 was lost on a test flight.)

XPMorten 1st Jun 2009 13:35

Turbulence and CB forecasted in the area.

06 UTC

12 UTC


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