Our Network

Register for our free newsletter

 
 
Latest News

Official denies black box signals from Air France flight

A French newspaper had earlier reported that…

June 24, 2009 12:00 by



A French official has said that sounds detected by search teams in the Atlantic are not from the black box of Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the ocean on May 31. An aide to France’s top transport official, Jean-Louis Borloo, told the Associated Press that the “black boxes have not been detected.”

She said that French military ships searching in the area have “heard sounds” but that those were not signals from the flight’s recorders.

The news follows a report by French newspaper Le Monde which claimed that French ships had detected a “very weak signal” from the black boxes.




1

1 Comment

  1. sy levine on June 24, 2009 6:40 am

    For the last ten years there hasn’t been a technical reason why the digital flight recorder data isn’t sent in real-time to the ground (see the BBC/Equinox video “The BOX”, 2000, on the flight recorders). Then with-in a couple of seconds you have the planes position/location, its attitude, velocity, etc. safely stored on the ground and used for flight safety, aviation security and cost reduction. This data used in real-time could have also prevented 9/11 (see http:safelander.com). We presently have the viable technology to securely do this. This information could be used for flight safety, aviation & national security and cost reduction to the flying public. We presently don’t know what went wrong on Flight 447, but we would surely know where the plane went down, when it went down, why it went down and possibly could have saved lives.

    The real-time use of the data recorders will save a substantial amount of lives, make our country safer and reduce the cost of flying. Telemetering the flight data to the ground in real-time would assure that we have the data – in many crashes the flight data isn’t recovered (e.g. 9/11, et al) or has errors in it since no one is looking at it, or using it in real-time to find malfunctions. Yet, this valuable digital flight recorder data (DFDR) data has been left to the autopsy mode for post mortem simulations and not utilized proactively in real-time to save lives. We got our astronauts back from the moon by ground personnel monitoring the data in real-time. It was the ground personnel that found the problem and relayed back to the capsule the safe solution that saved the astronauts lives. Yet, the real-time data has been intentionally withheld and stored on operational planes for fear of aviation industry litigation.

    A year prior to 9/11 I spoke in NY at the International Aviation Safety Association meeting on preventing crashes like golfer Payne Stewart’s decompression crash. Nothing was done by the FAA or industry and we got 9/11 (hijacking is about ten percent of aviation fatalities) and the 2005, 100 fatality, Helios decompression crash. When a plane deviates from its approved flight plan we now have the ability to securely take remote control of it and land it safely at a designated airfield. We presently have remote pilot vehicles flying now utilizing secure high bandwidth communication networks (we use them for our submarines, AWACS planes, etc.) and there isn’t a logical reason for not making that technology available for cargo and carrier aircraft. The cost of 9/11 alone is ten times the cost of putting in a safe system and yet nothing has intentionally been done. We would also be accruing additional annual safety and cost benefits.

    When a plane decompresses there is a good possibility if we remotely bring it down in altitude to a point where there is sufficient oxygen and fly it remotely for 15 minutes the pilot and passengers may regain consciousness. At that time the control of the aircraft could be returned to the pilot if they are capable of flying the aircraft or remotely landing it to save the lives of the people who are onboard.

    On June 4, 2009 the Los Angeles Times took a section of a letter that I sent to them and put this in their LETTERS section:

    “There is no technical reason why digital flight recorder data are not sent in real-time to the ground. We have the technology to do this. Then, within a couple of seconds, we would have a plane’s position, altitude and velocity safely stored on the ground. This information could be used for flight safety, aviation security and cost reduction. We don’t know what went wrong on Flight 447, but we would sure know where the plane went down, why it went down and possibly could have saved lives.” Getting to the crash site early may save lives, getting the DFDR can prevent recurring fatal crashes. It’s not just position that’s needed it’s all of the data sent to the recorder that is critical to ascertaining the root cause of a crash and should be available to prevent some of the crashes from occurring.

    Billions of dollars are wasted each year on unnecessary airport runway expansion programs to reduce fatal ground incursions. These incursions wouldn’t occur if the flight data was shared so pilots and air traffic control had better visibility. But because the digital data isn’t shared automatically the pilot sees only a fraction of the information necessary to prevent a crash and the same hold for the air traffic controllers. Crashes such as Tenerife, Comair, etc. are directly caused by the lack of visibility due to not sharing the DFDR data in real-time. Thus, the real-time use of the DFDR data to prevent crashes is more important then its present autopsy mode of operation.

    The real-time use of the data recorders will save a substantial amount of lives, make our country safer and reduce the cost of flying. Telemetering the flight data to the ground in real-time would assure that we have the data – in many crashes the flight data isn’t recovered (e.g. 9/11, et al) or has errors in it since no one is looking at it, or using it in real-time to find malfunctions. Yet, this valuable digital flight recorder data (DFDR) data has been left to the autopsy mode for post mortem simulations and not utilized proactively in real-time to save lives.

    This, Air France flight 447, is another example of horrific crashes that possibly could have been prevented and saved lives. We surely would be able to use the flight data to prevent recurring crashes of this type and to minimize the anguish of the passengers families and the cost and time of trying to recover the recorders. The aviation industry has always attempted to minimize their liability. They fought against flight recorders and lost. Now they are fighting to keep the information going to the flight recorders industry private even if that jeopardized national security and been responsible for countless aviation fatalities. Their lobby is so strong that they have put a Titanic (Warsaw) clause into all fights over international waters. This Titanic clause limits a family member of a passenger that is killed in a flight to a small fraction of the persons earning capacity even if the industry is found at fault. This has been printed in fine print on the back of every ticket. They were not successful in getting this egregious law over land since people were watching and protested. Thus, by their own action they don’t care first for the passengers and second for their industry. The only way to change this and to make passenger safety and national security come first is if the public demands that the flight recorder data be available in real-time to be used to prevent crashes from initially occurring (real-time use of the recorder data) as well as recurring crashes (autopsy mode post flight recorder analysis) and that the flight data isn’t the private property of the airline industry to suppress out of fear of litigation.

    Sy Levine

    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    http://www.safelander.com

    Remote Aircraft Flight Recorder and Advisory System (RAFT) patent #5,890,079, 3/30/1999

     

Leave a Comment