Monday, February 08, 2010

Aviation Update

Lebanese divers have recovered the Flight Data Recorder from Ethiopian 409 and have handed it over to French authorities. At left is a picture released by the Lebanese government; the box looks to be in excellent shape. The voice recorder has yet to be retrieved. Here's an explanation and some pictures of typical black boxes.

The FDR is going to French investigators for 'decoding'. Whether that means they don't trust Americans (NTSB) is not clear but the article is mildly amusing as to that point:
France and Canada have been best known for the decoding of flight data and cockpit data recorders. The French are known to have pioneered the introduction of the flight data recorders in air accident investigations.
In reality there will probably be NTSB experts in Paris when the boxes get there.

The French now have their hands full--they've yet to find the black boxes for their own Air France 447 crash over the Atlantic and the black boxes found from Yemenia 626 that crashed in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands were 'damaged'. But there was a miracle survivor, a 14 year old girl. Surely they've asked her if she heard or saw anything before impact. If so, they aren't saying.

The voice recorder from Ethiopian 409, when found, will be helpful in putting to rest the allegations that the crew ignored ATC instructions. However, investigators may be able to uncover a cause with the FDR alone, especially if it's mechanical or weather-related. Interestingly, speculation is now including a mechanical possibility after the initial speculation about 'stormy weather' or lightning, etc. The only thing definitively ruled out at this point, from the very first minute the story broke, has been terrorism. That they could determine such a thing so early, without any forensic evidence, can only suggest they have a strong suspicion of the likely cause.

4 comments:

Debbie said...

It does look to be in great condition, should be interesting to hear what's on it. That may not be made public of course.

A 14 year old, not sure exactly how much valuable information she might be able to provide as to describing sounds and events. Would be interesting to hear what she had to say.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.clo

A.C. McCloud said...

Maybe nothing, but all she would have to say is "I heard a loud bang" or "I saw a flash outside", and that might be significant. But to have them say "the boxes are damaged" and that be the end of it is amazing. We have no real media anymore.

Debbie said...

Act of terror:

Evidence has reached debkafile's counter-terror sources that the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 which crashed after takeoff from Beirut on January 25, killing all 92 aboard, was blown up in mid-air.
This was an al-Qaeda operation timed for one month to the day after its failed attempt to destroy an American Northwest airliner bound for Detroit.

Should be interesting to see if this truly was an al-qaeda attack. Posting it now.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

A.C. McCloud said...

Debkafile is hardly the most trustworthy source, but we'll see what happens. It always seems highly suspicious when officials discount terrorism immediately and without any evidence.