Originally Posted by kevin
Does the fail-safe/safe-life position relate at all to what I had read in some reports - the Airbus uses a computer control system with no mechanical back-ups? Whereas other aeroplane manufacturers do?
Either way, I'm starting to think the answer may not be known for some time, if at all. It seems that without the black box data the investigation team can't make a lot of sense of the data they do have - 'incoherent' was one word used in a press brief.
Not than I'm any kind of expert, but I think it may turn out to have been some kind of catastrophic structural failure in the middle of that storm they went through.
As for air safety - well, think of the likely number of flights that have taken off and landed without incident in the 6 days or so since the flight vanished.
As has been said - no matter how well designed a plane is, things can still go wrong to bring it down. The only reservation I would have is that if it were at all related to a design flaw, without finding the wreckage or BB, then Airbus is going to have a tough time trying to find out if they need to ground the 330 design for inspections.
My dad usually follows these things. Typically the official final reports aren't made available for at least a year after the investigation.
Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer
Thanks for all your responses.
The doomed Airbus issued 24 automatic messages during its final messages, each adding to a sense of urgency and indicating the unprecedented distress of the aircraft. Airspeed indications were incoherent, and system after system was failing.
Query: If such signals were received "live" by radio, why, on Earth, couldn't the aircraft have radioed its exact position as well? I do realize that, despite all our advances, this aircraft might not have had GPS equipment aboard (although this seems hard to believe), but the inertial guidance information it had relied upon should still be available, at least on a "last known" basis.
Further, the requirement to store inflight data in black boxes from a purely technological standpoint seems obsolete, as I've heard from at least one source.
Think yesterday my dad was telling me about those automatic messages. This was back when people were throwing around the bomb theory. From what my dad told me, there was a series of troubling indications over the course of 4 minutes. Generally veteran mishap investigators will tell you it's not one thing that failed, but a series of failures that lead to an accident.
But yeah, pretty much every airplane has GPS right now. Almost no one uses celestial navigation anymore. I don't know if the planes automatically broadcast their GPS positions. But even if it did, if the plane did indeed break up at altitude, the last known GPS position probably isn't going to be the splash down location. And if it was a severe storm, those winds can certainly blown the plane some distance from the last GPS fix. Plus there's the question on how much of that plane remained in one piece.
I wouldn't be surprised if there was an explosive decompression aboard.
I also wouldn't call the black box obsolete. You can't rely on wireless communications to function. There's a lot of line of sight issues and relying on complex relay station networks, especially for overseas trips. Should anything happen to the plane's communications systems, the black box would be the only source of information you could rely on from the plane.
As far as I know, finding the black box probably isn't a problem. All you need is the proper sonar devices which I believe are being sent to the area by the USN. Recovering it would require a ROV or DSV which can be provided from any of several nations around the world including the US, Russia, and Canada. The Brazilians who were the first on scene, don't necessarily have either of those detection or recovery equipment so locating the data recorder probably isn't really high on their list of priorities. There should still be time. The data recorders are supposed to have an acoustic beacon that should continue to pulse for days or longer after the crash.