Wed, Jun 10, 2009
Find Helps Narrow Search For Voice And Data Recorders
Search crews have recovered a
section of the vertical stabilizer from Air France flight 447,
which broke up over the Atlantic Ocean last week after apparently
penetrating a violent thunderstorm. Authorities say the find could
provide clues as to why the airliner broke up in flight, and narrow
the search for the Airbus A330's cockpit voice and data
8 more bodies were also recovered.
William Waldock, who teaches air crash investigation at
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, told the
Associated Press that finding the section of the vertical
stabilizer does not necessarily indicate the location of the voice
and data recorders, but that it does narrow down the search area.
Both instruments are housed in the aircraft fuselage near the tail
section. After viewing photos and video titled "Vertical Stabilizer
Found" on a Brazilian Air Force website, Wadlock said the damage he
saw looked like a "lateral fracture", which reinforces the theory
of a mid-flight breakup. "If it hits intact, everything shatters in
tiny pieces," he said.
Another portion of the investigation is focusing on the
aircraft's pitot tubes. Air France has said it was in the process
of replacing pitot tubes in its Airbus aircraft when a new version
became available late in April, but it had not yet upgraded the
system on the plane that was used for this flight.
Locating the voice and data recorders from the flight is still a
top priority, but officials remain guarded about their recovery,
given the depth of the water and mountainous terrain on the ocean
floor. Ocean currents in the 8 days following the crash could have
moved debris miles from the actual impact site.
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