AF 447 didn't get to its destination.
Telemetry from AF 447 indicated problems with instruments and other issues. And, Air France had been replacing Pitot tubes in its airliners, following up on a manufacturer's recommendation and a pilot's union pressure.
The Airbus A330-200 that disappeared had the old Pitot tubes, air speed sensors that, in this particular case, had a habit of icing up.
Or, not so obviously. The Airbus A330-200 is a relatively complex vehicle, with a great many parts that are more or less vital to its operation. Pitot tubes are not the only piece of equipment which might malfunction.
'Obviously,' there couldn't have been a fire or explosion.
A fuel slick, seen in the general area where AF 447 disappeared, was cited as an indication that the Airbus went down without a fire or explosion. Then, it turned out the fuel slick wasn't jet fuel. (CSM)
'Obviously,' though, terrorism can't be involved:
"...Representatives from France, Brazil, and the United States have all reportedly declared that terrorism does not appear to be involved in the crash." (ToTheCenter.com)Again, not so obviously. I'm sure that someone representing French and Brazilian interests said that there was not evidence that terrorism was involved, and said so more than once.
And, it's possible that AF 447 went down because of a combination of improperly-operating equipment and natural causes.
"...Investigators believe that automatic technical messages sent from the Air France Airbus 330 minutes before it disappeared while flying over the Atlantic Ocean indicate that its airspeed gauges weren't functioning properly. A theory the analysts are probing is that the jetliner's speed sensors may have been damaged by ice, setting off a catastrophic series of events amid potentially severe turbulence...."There's quite a difference between "...Representatives from France, Brazil, and the United States have all reportedly declared that terrorism does not appear to be involved in the crash...." and the June 6, 2009, Wall Street Journal article's "...no cause could yet be ruled out...."
"...French officials have refrained from directly criticizing their Brazilian counterparts, but on Friday suggested more caution in making statements about the investigation, reiterating that no cause could yet be ruled out. 'French authorities have been saying for several days that we should be extremely prudent,' France's Secretary of state for Transport, Dominique Bussereau, told France's RTL radio...." (WSJ) [emphasis mine]
Terrorists on AF 447? MaybeOne bit of evidence that might have indicated that a bomb destroyed Air France flight 447 comes from pilots: "...Other pilots in the area saw an "intense flash" around the time that AF 447 disappeared...." (SeattlePI)
If the weather had been clear, that would be more suggestive of foul play. As is is, with thunderstorms around, not so much. The color of the flash might indicate whether it was from an electrical or a chemical source, but I'm no expert.
Today's headlines included "Terror Names Linked To Doomed Flight AF 447 " (Sky News) - and the gist of the article is:
"Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged...."I might think that finding the names of terrorists on the passenger list was a strong indication of foul play, except for two things.
"...Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections.
"There is a possibility the name similarities are simply a 'macabre coincidence', the source added, but the revelation is still being 'taken very seriously'...." (Sky News)
- In my ten years as a list manager for a small publishing company, I developed an appreciation for how common some names are
- About two years ago, an eight-year-old boy was fingered as a terrorist because his name was on a no-fly list (July 20, 2007)
Birth dates are fairly useful in helping to establish someone's identity. There are quite a few people in America, for example, who have the same name that I do. But none of them is going to have the same birth date and relatives.
Air France 447 - My OpinionI don't think that terrorists brought down AF 447.
I don't think that terrorists didn't bring down AF 447.
I do think that officials investigating the incident don't seem to know what happened, yet.
I do think that there will be more assertions about what 'obviously' happened: and that the statements will reflect what the writers believe should have happened.
- "Muslim Family Talks Safety, Gets Booted From Flight"
(January 2, 2009)
- "Pilot's Laptop Missing: Yes, It's a Big Deal"
(April 27, 2008)
- "Man Prays on Plane, Removed: Racial Profiling?"
(April 17, 2008)
- "TSA: Our Tax Dollars at Work: Protecting the Flying Public from Nipple Rings"
(March 27, 2008)
- "Common Sense Knows No Boundaries: Neither does Bureaucratic Vindictiveness"
(February 14, 2008)
- "Unintended Consequences: The Boeing 787 Dreamliner"
(January 9, 2008)
- "War on Terror and Travel Technology"
(November 23, 2007)
- "U.S. Airlines Repaired Overseas, TSA Terror Report Overdue"
(October 16, 2007)
- "If You Hear Someone Speaking Arabic, GET A GRIP!"
(September 1, 2007)
- "Raed Jarrar, Just Who Is this Guy, and Why Should We Care?"
(August 13, 2007)
- "The No-Fly Terrorist List, National Security, and Sanity"
(July 20, 2007)
- "How 18th Century Technology Could Down An Airliner"
Autopia Road to the Future, Wired (June 10, 2009) "Uh oh: Terrorist names on doomed Air France passenger list?"
- "Attack on Pakistan hotel fuels anger with Taliban"
Reuters (June 10, 2009)
- "At least 17 dead in Pakistani hotel blast"
CNN (June 10, 2009)
- "Owner of bombed Pakistan hotel blames government"
Gulfnews (June 10, 2009)
- "Black box search begins"RFI (Radio France Internationale (June 10, 2009)
- "Terror Names Linked To Doomed Flight AF 447"
Sky News (June 10, 2009)
- "First Air France bodies brought back to land"
euronews (June 9, 2009)
- "Brazil Uncovers 41 Bodies from Air"Alyssa DellaCamera, ToTheCenter (June 9, 2009)
- "12 similar flights deepen Air France 447 mystery"
CNN (June 5, 2009)
- "Air France Flight 447: Other pilots saw 'intense flash' in sky"
Aerospace News, SeattlePI blog (June 4, 2009)
- " 'Jet fuel' slicks not from Air France flight"
global news blog, Christian Science Monitor (June 4, 2009)
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air (June 10, 2009)