Friday, June 5, 2009

AF447 - Accident description

Status: Preliminary 
Date: 01 JUN 2009 
Time: ca 00:15 
Type: Airbus A330-203 
Operator: Air France 
Registration: F-GZCP 
C/n / msn: 660 
First flight: 2005-02-25 (4 years 3 months) 
Total airframe hrs: 18870 
Engines: 2 General Electric CF6-80E1A3 
Crew: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12 
Passengers: Fatalities: 216 / Occupants: 216 
Total: Fatalities: 228 / Occupants: 228 
Airplane damage: Destroyed 
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) 
Location: ca 160 km NNW o São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago (Atlantic Ocean) 
Phase: En route (ENR) 
Nature: International Scheduled Passenger 
Departure airport: Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport, RJ (GIG/SBGL), Brazil 
Destination airport: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France 
Flightnumber: 447 
An Air France Airbus A330-200 was destroyed when it crashed into the sea while on transatlantic flight from Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport, RJ (GIG) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. 
The airplane carried 12 crew members an 216 passengers. Flight AF447 departed at 19:03 local time (May 31) from Rio de Janeiro (GIG). 
Last radio contact with the flight was at 01:33 UTC. The crew was in contact with the Atlantic Area Control Centre (CINDACTA III) when the flight reported over the INTOL waypoint, estimating TASIL at 02:20 UTC. INTOL is an RNAV waypoint located in the Atlantic Ocean, 565 km from Natal, Brazil. The TASIL waypoint is located 1228 kilometers from Natal. TASIL is at the border of the Recife FIR and Dakar Oceanic FIR. 
At 01:48 UTC the aircraft went out of the radar coverage of CINDACTA III, Fernando de Noronha. Information indicated that the aircraft flew normally at FL350 and a speed of 453 kts. 
A preliminary analysis of meteorological information shows that AF447 crossed through three key thunderstorm clusters: a small one around 01:51 UTC, a new rapidly growing one at about 01:59 UTC, and finally a large multicell convective system (MCS) around 02:05-02:16 UTC. 
Over a time span of four minutes, starting at 02:10 UTC, a series of ACARS messages were sent -automatically- from the plane. The first message indicated the disconnection of the autopilot followed and the airplane went into 'alternate law' flight control mode. This happens when multiple failures of redundant systems occur. 
From 02:11 to 02:13, multiple faults regarding the Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) and ISIS (Integrated Standby Instruments System) were reported. Then on 02:13 the system reported failures of PRIM 1, the primary flight control computers that receive inputs from the ADIRU and SEC 1 (secondary flight control computers). The last message at 02:14 was a 'Cabin vertical speed' advisory. 

On June 3, 06:40 UTC, a Brazilian Air Force R-99 plane positively identified four points of wreckage: Various objects scattered in a circular area of 5 km radius; an object 7m in lenght; ten objects (some of which metal) and an oil stain extending 20 km. 

» Air France news releases 
» BBC News 
» Ministério da Defesa news releases 
» Air France Flight 447: A detailed meteorological analysis / by Tim Vasquez 
» Air France Flight AF447. The Last 4 Minutes. / Tim Marshall

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