Weather and Air France 447

Check out two very provocative Baltimore Weather Examiner pieces by : Air France 447 electrical problems and the South Atlantic Anomaly and Air France 447 mystery, LOST, and The Bermuda Triangle. The latter is not as goofy as its headline suggests. Tony is a degreed meteorologist and his unpacking of weather arcana, especially in his short slide shows, provokes much thought. Some of the visuals also give me added respect for the pilots, advanced avionics and careful air traffic control in regions where thunderstorms are a daily occurrence — such as in South Florida, where plenty of planes take off and land constantly. Flying there requires navigating around dangerous hazards that can grow and move at explosive speeds. Anyway, check it out.

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  1. Susan’s avatar

    It is a disaster for the Plane Crash Victims’ Families.

    God rest them.

  2. TedC’s avatar

    Very interesting about the South Atlantic Anomaly. I though about that when I first heard where the plane went down. Such a high tech plane in such an electrically volatile zone. Our technology can only get us so far in this world, the rest is luck. The passengers are in our thoughts.

  3. tony’s avatar

    Will someone please tell me why pilots choose to fly through such turbulent weather. I fly often and it is not pleasant to feel a plane bounce around… even in mild turbulence. I know I would appreciate a pilot telling the passengers that we are turning around and going back, or simply taking a detour to another airport. Come on… safety first.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Tony, that is the question in this case. Thunderstorms are normally avoided. Check out the wikipedia entry for this flight. Some writers are doing impressive work keeping up with the current state of affairs with the whole thing.

    Rather clearly the plane was either destroyed by extreme turbulence, or so beyond control that it fell into the sea — a horror either way. What isn’t clear is whether the pilots took a chance they should not have. I am sure that the information they had at hand (provided by advance reports and onboard avionics) gave them confidence that they could thread their way between thunderheads — and that the storms grew around them, so they had no available path other than punching their way through the least awful thunderhead. Without the flight data and voice recordings we won’t know. Even then it may not be clear.

    Investigations of crashes like these often (perhaps mostly) end up pointing to “pilot error.” Given the fact that a plane flew into a thunderstorm and didn’t come out, that’s an easy conclusion to reach. Though it still might not be the right one.

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