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Old June 25th, 2009, 02:05 PM   #161
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Air France: Flight 447 pilot's body retrieved

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009 - 3:28 am

http://www.sacbee.com/830/story/1975808.html

PARIS -- Air France says the bodies of the chief pilot of Flight 447 and a flight attendant have been retrieved from the Atlantic.

The airline says in on its Web site that the two are among those identified in the international search operation for remains of the 228 victims and wreckage of the May 31 crash. The airline hasn't identified crew members by name, but a pilots' union named the captain as Marc Dubois.

Earlier this week the international police agency Interpol said 11 of the 50 bodies retrieved have been identified. It says they are eight Brazilians, one with joint Brazilian-German citizenship, one Brazilian-Swiss and a British national.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #162
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German insurers forecast Air France crash charges of 60 mln euros
24 June 2009
Agence France Presse

German re-insurance giant Munich Re and compatriot Hannover Re will be hit by claims for tens of millions of euros (dollars) following the crash of an Air France jet that killed 228 people, the companies said Wednesday.

Munich Re, one of the world's leading providers of insurance for other insurance companies, expects to take a charge in a "mid-double-digit-million US dollar" range, a spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires, a sum equivalent to about 35 million euros.

Hannover Re said it forecast costs of around 25 million euros in connection with the catastrophe.

Air France is to get 67.4 million euros from insurers following the loss of an Airbus A330 airliner that smashed into the Atlantic around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off Brazil's northeast coast on June 1.

It was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board.

The cause of the disaster -- the worst in Air France's history -- is not known, nor is the cost of compensation that the airline will pay to relatives of the victims.

Air France is covered by insurance for those payments.
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Old June 26th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #163
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Air France crash probe to release initial report on July 2
25 June 2009
Agence France Presse

The French agency probing the mid-Atlantic crash of an Air France jet said Thursday it would release an initial report on its findings on July 2.

The Investigation and Analysis Bureau (BEA) leading the technical inquiry into the June 1 crash of Flight AF 447 said it would present the report at a press conference at its headquarters in the Paris suburbs.

The cause of the loss of the plane and all 228 people on board as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris is not known. Speculation has swirled about whether the plane broke up in the air or on hitting the water.

Air France said earlier Thursday that the plane's pilot and one of its stewards have been identified among the bodies pulled out of the sea.

Rescue teams have found 50 bodies and are continuing their search for wreckage and the dead.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 06:48 AM   #164
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Brazil ends search for bodies, debris from Air France jet
26 June 2009
Agence France Presse

Brazil's military said late Friday it had ended its search for more bodies and debris from an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic nearly four weeks ago.

The 26-day operation, which also had the help of French vessels and French, Spanish and US aircraft, recovered 51 bodies of the 228 people who were on board the Airbus A330 that came down on June 1, air force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Henry Munhoz told reporters.

"It has been nine days since we have located bodies," stressed Munhoz, which led Brazil to conclude that "it is impossible to recover more dead bodies or remains in the search area."

Between June 12 and 26, only two bodies were recovered, the last being on June 17, he said. The bodies were handed over to federal police experts in Recife for identification.

"What we have today in the sea is negligible," Munhoz added, speaking in the northeastern city of Recife.

More than 600 pieces have also been recovered from the plane, most of which has been delivered to a French-led technical research team.

But a search will continue for the aircraft's black boxes that are set to continue emitting homing signals until July 2. The search is to be led by France, which has already contributed a nuclear submarine and ships to the effort.

The cause of the disaster has not been established.

The French maritime research vessel Pourquoi Pas, the French nuclear submarine Emeraude and two high-sea vessels equipped with sonars are taking part in the deep-sea search for the vital data and voice recorders of Flight 447, which was carrying passengers and crew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The mini-submarine Nautile, which can operate at a depth of six kilometers (3.7 miles) and was used by research teams who explored the wreck of the Titanic, has been taken to the debris zone on board the Pourquoi Pas and was to be deployed once the signal from the black boxes was detected.

The boxes -- which in fact are bright orange -- would help investigators piece together the final minutes of the ill-fated flight that went down during a storm as it was flying through turbulence.

No distress call was received from the pilots, but there was a series of 24 automated messages sent by the plane in the final minutes of the doomed flight.

French investigators probing the crash have said that the airspeed sensors, or pitot probes, had been feeding inconsistent readings to the cockpit.

Conflicting airspeed data can cause the autopilot to shut down and in extreme cases lead the plane to stall or fly dangerously fast, possibly causing a high-altitude breakup.

But the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA), a French investigating agency, along with Airbus and Air France, have said there is as yet no firm evidence linking the speed monitors and the crash of the jetliner.

Air France has upgraded all sensors on its long-haul fleet as a precautionary measure after protests from pilots.

The crash was the worst in Air France's 75-year history.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #165
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Brazilian navy to pay tribute to Air France crash victims
27 June 2009
Agence France Presse

The Brazilian Navy said it will pay tribute Monday to the victims of the Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic nearly four weeks ago, killing all 228 people on board.

Families of victims were invited to participate in the ecumenical ceremony in the northeastern city of Recife aboard the Bosisio frigate, which participated in the search operations, the navy said in a statement Saturday.

On Friday, Brazil's military said it had ended its search for more bodies and debris from the Airbus A330 that came down on the night of March 31 to June 1, saying that only a "negligible" amount of remains could still be recovered.

"It has been nine days since we have located bodies," explained air force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Henry Munhoz.

The 26-day search operation, conducted with the help of French ships and planes sent from Spain and the United States, recovered 51 bodies and over 600 pieces from the doomed aircraft.

Some 1,600 Brazilian troops were mobilized for the effort, including 1,344 from the navy and 268 from the air force.

The air force used 12 planes that flew for 1,500 hours and swept across 350,000 square kilometers (135,136 square miles). The navy deployed 11 ships and navigated some 66,700 kilometers (36,000 nautical miles), or eight times the length of the Brazilian coast.

A French-led search will, however, continue for the aircraft's black boxes that are set to continue emitting homing signals until July 2. France has already contributed a nuclear submarine and ships to the effort.

The crash was the worst in Air France's 75-year history.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #166
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Computers are suspected in jet crash
Investigators believe chain of failures in Air France flight deprived pilots of automation they typically rely on

29 June 2009
The Wall Street Journal Europe

Aviation investigators, running out of time to find the "black boxes" with key information on the crash of Air France Flight 447, suspect a rapid chain of computer and equipment malfunctions stripped the crew of much of the automation pilots typically rely on to control a big jetliner.

An international team of experts is building a scenario in which it believes a cascade of system failures, seemingly beginning with malfunctioning airspeed sensors, rapidly progressed to what appeared to be sweeping computer outages, according to people familiar with the probe. The Airbus A330, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm May 31, killing all 228 aboard.

Based on initial physical evidence and analysis of the sketchy information from automatic maintenance messages sent by the aircraft, these people said, the plane bucked through heavy turbulence created by a thunderstorm without the full protection of its highly computerized flight-control systems -- safeguards that experts say pilots now often take for granted.

Relying on backup instruments, the Air France pilots apparently struggled to restart flight-management computers even as their plane may have begun breaking up from excessive speed, according to theories developed by investigators.

The investigators -- from the U.S., France and Brazil -- stress it is too early to pinpoint specific causes. But whatever the eventual findings, the crash already is prompting questions about how thoroughly aviators are trained to cope with widespread computer glitches midflight.

If such emergencies do occur on today's increasingly automated jetliners, many industry safety experts wonder how proficient the average crew may be in trying to rely on less-sophisticated backup systems.

"The difficulty is, they're rare enough that pilots can be unprepared, but likely enough to pose a real threat," according to Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, an industry-supported group based in Alexandria, Va. "We need to examine how to deal with automation anomalies."

Unlike jetliners built in previous decades -- which required pilots to frequently manipulate controls and often manually fly the planes for long stretches -- newer computer-centric aircraft such as the A330 and Boeing's 777 are designed to operate almost entirely on automated systems. From choosing engine settings and routes to smoothing out the ride during turbulence and landing in low visibility, pilots essentially monitor instruments and seldom interfere with computerized commands. So when those electronic brains begin to act weirdly at 10,000 meters, the latest crop of aviators may be less comfortable stepping in and grabbing control of the airplane.

Airlines typically use simulators to train cockpit crews for such events, but a pilot may only hone skills to deal with major computer problems every few years. Pilots hardly ever experience multiple computer failures in real-world conditions.

Crews commanding a flotilla of specially-equipped vessels are still trolling an area with a radius of at least 80 kilometers for the recorders. The sea floor beneath where debris was found floating is mountainous and up to 4,500 meters deep. The recorders are designed to have enough battery power to last for at least 30 days. That deadline runs out Wednesday, though investigators and safety experts believe that signals may last for at least a couple more weeks.

Because the A330 is one of the most widely used planes in commercial aviation, crash sleuths "aren't likely to easily stick with an undetermined cause," according to John Cox, a former Airbus pilot who now works as an industry consultant. Instead, investigators "will exhaust every possibility" to pinpoint probable reasons and contributing factors, Mr. Cox said, though without the black boxes they may have to be be cautious.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #167
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Find the blackboxes already instead of wild rumors and suspicions
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Old June 30th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #168
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Time short to find Air France recorders
Power is starting to fade on data recorder beacons somewhere in Atlantic

International Herald Tribune
1 July 2009

PARIS-- For a month now a flotilla of five French frigates has scoured the rugged ocean floor of the mid-Atlantic, using state-of-the-art listening equipment and computers to try to isolate the telltale tapping of the two beacons attached to the ''black box'' data recorder of Air France Flight 447.

At some point over the next few days, however, those beacons will very likely fall silent. And without the secrets locked in the recorder's hard drive - conversations of the crew in the flight's final moments, crucial data on the plane's altitude, airspeed and heading - the answers to what exactly happened may forever be entombed in the sea, along with the majority of the crash victims whose bodies have not been recovered.

''If they can't find the pingers by the end of the week, then it's probably a forlorn hope that they will ever find them,'' said Paul Hayes, director of accidents and insurance with Ascend, an aviation industry consulting firm in London, referring to the recorder's beacons. ''And without them, investigators won't be able to come up with a definitive probable cause.''

The doomed plane, an Airbus A330, went down nearly 1,000 kilometers, or 600 miles, off the coast of northern Brazil on June 1 during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 passengers and crew members. On Friday, Brazilian Navy teams announced that they had abandoned the search of the ocean surface for bodies and debris after more than a week had gone by since their last finding.

But the five frigates, as well as a sonar-equipped nuclear submarine, continue to trawl the search zone, which spans a radius of 80 kilometers from the point where radio contact with the plane was lost. The black box pingers are only certified by their manufacturer to emit a signal for 30 days, a deadline that will pass Wednesday. Yet experts said it was possible the batteries that power the beacons might last for several days more. France's Office of Investigations and Analyses, which is directing the inquiry into the accident, said Monday that the search would go on for as long as such an effort was deemed ''reasonable.''

''We are keeping up hope,'' said Martine Del Bono, a spokeswoman for the agency, known by its French initials, B.E.A. She declined to specify how many days or weeks the search might continue, saying only that ''we will continue our efforts even after the theoretical deadline, using all of the equipment that we have at our disposal.''

The next phase of the search could involve the use of unmanned submarines that operate untethered at depths of as much as 4,500 meters, or almost 15,000 feet. They can perform sonar searches and transmit high-resolution images back to the surface, according to Thomas S. Chance, the president of a Lafayette, Louisiana, company that owns and leases such vessels. The submarines are normally used for surveying the ocean bottom for oil and gas companies and can stay submerged for two days and scan at four knots, twice the speed of submarines that are towed by cables.

Not since the crash of a South African Airways flight in the Indian Ocean in 1987 have investigators attempted to explain such a high-profile crash without the help of the flight data recorder, air safety experts said. The authorities will have to rely heavily on the 24 automated messages sent by the plane to an Air France maintenance station in the final minutes before contact was lost. Autopsies of the 51 bodies and detailed analysis of more than 600 pieces of debris from the plane that have been recovered may also provide important clues.

The French authorities have devoted particular attention to maintenance messages sent from the plane indicating an inconsistency in the readings of the three speed sensors. The faulty readings were accompanied by the loss of several flight-control systems, including the autopilot function, investigators have said.

The French air accident investigator plans to publish an initial report Thursday summarizing the facts that have been gathered and possibly presenting the agency's first hypotheses about the chain of events that led to the crash.

*

Matthew L. Wald contributed reporting.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 07:40 PM   #169
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Brazil officials identify 21 more victims of Air France crash
1 July 2009

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilian officials say they've identified the remains of 21 more people who were aboard an Air France jet when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean last month.

Authorities say 17 newly identified victims were foreign and four were Brazilian. They did not give more specific nationalities.

The Public Safety Department in Brazil's northeastern Pernambuco state is identifying the victims. It says fingerprints, DNA and dental records were used.

The remains of 51 people have been recovered, and 35 have been identified. Their names have not been released at their families' request.

Air France flight 447 crashed early June 1 with 228 people on board. The cause of the crash hasn't been determined.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 05:48 PM   #170
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French investigators say speed sensors not cause of Flight 447 crash, plane hit water intact
2 July 2009

LE BOURGET, France (AP) - Air France Flight 447 plunged vertically into the Atlantic Ocean intact at a very high speed, a top French investigator said Thursday, adding that problems with the plane's speed sensors were not the direct cause of the crash.

Alain Bouillard, who is leading the investigation into the June 1 crash for the French accident agency BEA, says the sensors, called Pitot tubes, were "a factor but not the only one."

"It is an element but not the cause," Bouillard told a news conference in Le Bourget outside Paris. "Today we are very far from establishing the causes of the accident."

The Airbus A330-200 plane flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went down with 228 people on board in a remote area of the Atlantic, 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) off Brazil's mainland and far from radar coverage.

The BEA released its first preliminary findings on the crash Thursday, calling it one of history's most challenging plane crash investigations.

One of the automatic messages emitted by the Air France plane indicates it was receiving incorrect speed information from the external monitoring instruments, which could destabilize the plane's control systems. Experts have suggested those external instruments might have iced over.

Bouillard said the plane "was not destroyed in flight."

"The plane seems to have hit the surface of the water on its flight trajectory with a strong vertical acceleration," he said, adding that investigators have found "neither traces of fire nor traces of explosives."

Bouillard said life vests found among the wreckage were not inflated, suggesting the passengers were not prepared for a crash landing in the water. The pilots apparently also did not send any mayday calls.

A burst of automated messages emitted by the plane before it fell gave rescuers only a vague location to begin their search, which has failed to locate the plane's black boxes in the vast ocean expanse. The chances of finding the flight recorders are falling daily as the signals they emit fade. Without them, the full causes of the tragic accident may never be known.

He said the search for the plane's black boxes has been extended by 10 days and will continue through July 10.

The black boxes -- which are in reality bright orange -- are resting somewhere on an underwater mountain range filled with crevasses and rough, uneven terrain.

The remote location, combined with the mystery of what happened to the plane -- the pilots had either no time or no radio frequency to make a mayday call -- makes the inquiry exceptionally challenging.

Bouillard said French investigators have yet to receive any information from Brazilian authorities about the results of the autopsies on the 51 bodies recovered from the site.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 06:47 PM   #171
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Brazil: Senegal took control of doomed flight
3 July 2009

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's air force has released a recording it says proves it handed over control of Air France Flight 447 to Senegalese authorities before it crashed.

The audio has been posted on the air force Web site after a French official said air traffic controllers in Dakar, Senegal, never officially took control of the flight.

Lead French investigator Alain Bouillard made the accusation during the first public report on the June 1 crash in the Atlantic Ocean that killed 228 people.

But the Brazilian air force said Friday that the audio message proves it informed the Senegalese of the Air France flight's plan and turned over control of the flight.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. Searchers are looking for the plane's black boxes.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #172
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French President Sarkozy wants to plug air traffic gaps over Atlantic after Air France crash
7 July 2009

PARIS (AP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy, denouncing "black holes" in air traffic controls, said Tuesday that officials are working out ways to avoid surveillance gaps over the Atlantic Ocean after the crash of Air France Flight 447.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet were heading to Dakar on Tuesday to meet with Senegalese officials and discuss how to make sure "there is no more black hole" in air traffic control, Sarkozy said.

"It's not normal" to have such gaps, Sarkozy said at a news conference Tuesday with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The two leaders have cooperated on the international search operation and investigation following the June 1 crash of Air France Flight 447 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 people aboard were killed when the Airbus A330 slammed into the Atlantic, 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) off Brazil's mainland, amid thunderstorms and out of radar coverage.

French air accident investigator Alain Bouillard said last week that air traffic controllers in Dakar, Senegal, were never officially given control of the flight by Brazilian authorities.

Bouillard said the issue of who was in control of the flight is part of the investigation, but he did not suggest it contributed to the crash.

Silva noted that on his flight to Europe he, too, passed through the zone with no surveillance. Once out of Brazilian air space "there is communication with no one," he said.

"I saw for myself there is a hole," he told reporters.

But he stressed that the cause of the crash remains unknown. "We don't know why yet," he said.

In their first report on the investigation, French investigators said last week the plane slammed into the sea, intact and belly first, at such a high speed that the people aboard probably had no time to even inflate their life jackets.

The Brazilian air force says it told Senegal that the Air France flight would enter its airspace at 0220 GMT on June 1. It added that under an agreement between the two nations, controllers need only inform their Senegalese counterparts of a flight's expected arrival time, and then it is up to Senegal to initiate any further contact if a flight does not arrive.

However, the Air Navigation Security Agency for Africa and Madagascar, known as ASECNA, denied that, saying it was Brazil's responsibility to call controllers in Dakar to confirm the plane's arrival.

Silva also played down French accusations that Brazilian forensic experts were not releasing information about the autopsies on some of the 51 bodies found.

"There is nothing to hide," he said.

The search for more bodies has been called off, but a search for the plane's black box flight recorders by French, U.S. and Dutch authorities will continue for another three days. The boxes could hold key clues to what happened but they are deep under ocean and their signals are fading.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #173
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Wreckage of Air France Flight 447 en route from Brazil to France for further investigation
9 July 2009

PARIS (AP) - More than 600 pieces of Air France Flight 447 are being sent from Brazil to France by ship to be studied further for clues to the June 1 crash, Airbus said Thursday.

The disaster overshadowed a meeting of Air France-KLM shareholders on Thursday, with pilots saying the company didn't do enough to prevent the plane from crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. All 228 people aboard were killed and the reason for the accident remains unclear.

French investigators say 640 parts of the plane -- including a nearly intact tail, an engine cover, uninflated life jackets, seats and kitchen items -- have been plucked from the Atlantic Ocean, some of them huge pieces that had to be handled by cranes. They were initially held in the Brazilian city of Recife.

While Brazil led the search operation after the crash, France is leading the investigation into the accident.

All the wreckage has been loaded on an Airbus cargo ship, the Ville de Bordeaux, and is en route to France, an Airbus official said. The official was not authorized to be named according to company policy.

She said the material will arrive in mid-July and be examined at a Defense Ministry aviation center in the southern city of Toulouse -- where Airbus is headquartered -- by French accident investigators and judicial police.

Air France-KLM shareholders began their annual meeting by observing a minute of silence in memory of the 228 victims.

His voice cracking with emotion, Air France-KLMChairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta told the nearly 1,000 shareholders gathered in the basement of the Louvre museum that the company would do whatever it takes to find the cause of the crash, "even if it is uncomfortable for the airline."

"There are injuries that never heal," Spinetta said, reminding shareholders that he had led Air France through two earlier crash investigations, the 1992 plane crash that killed 87 people at Sainte Odile in eastern France, and the Concorde crash in 2000.

Spinetta pledged that France-KLM would continue to act with "tact, compassion and decency" with the families of the crash victims, who came from 32 different countries.

"We share their pain completely," Spinetta said.

A half-dozen pilots from the Alter union handed out leaflets saying the pilots "have the painful feeling that not everything was done to avoid the crash of Flight 447" and that "the confidence of the personnel in the company's management is seriously affected."

The Airbus A330 plane crashed after running into severe thunderstorms en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

French crash investigators last week issued a preliminary report into the crash, finding that problems with the plane's speed sensors were one of several factors in the crash. It said the plane hit the ocean intact and belly first at a high rate of speed.

Experts have found no signs of an explosion or terrorist act in the crash investigation.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #174
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Air France crash stokes fears of nervous flyers; Experts suggest ways to cope
Detroit Free Press
8 July 2009

When Air France Flight 447 fell out of the sky May 31, Tom Bunn's phone started ringing.

The fear-of-flying expert was inundated with nervous questions. Did turbulence crack up the jet?Was lightning the cause?Worst of all, did the controls just stop working?

"The characteristics of this crash really had an impact because there was no information about the cause but rampant media speculation," says Bunn, 73, a pilot and therapist who runs Soar, a company that helps people cope with their fear of flying. "It really freaked people out."

And that's the exact opposite reaction to the self-soothing behaviour he teaches.

As the weeks drag on and no cause is found for the crash of the jumbo jet, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, the seemingly random nature of its doom is enough to spook even hardy flyers.

But it's worse for the estimated one in six North Americans who truly fear to fly.

Angelo Giordimaina, 53, of Michigan, is one of them.

After avoiding planes for years, he was proud when he managed to fly to Mexico this spring on vacation. A few weeks ago, he was about to book a flight to California to see his daughter.

Then came Flight 447. "The possibility that the plane just disintegrated in mid-air put me back to where I was before. I've decided I will take the train to California," he says with sorrow and regret.

Another fearful flyer told Bunn it brought back her worst fears about turbulence. "Flying over the ocean during a storm would be my worst nightmare, so I guess this accident hit home. I understand in my mind that it is safe for planes, but one little bump and I go from a 2 to a 10 on the fear scale and can't seem to stop it," she wrote.

Logically, of course, one plane crash does not predict another.

"One in five million flights crash. But if there is a crash this week, it doesn't change the risk of flying tomorrow or the day after," says Bunn, a former air force and commercial pilot. "It may only change your thoughts."

That logic might reassure you and me. But it doesn't help people with a serious fear of flying. With an estimated one in three people at least a little nervous during takeoff or turbulence, tools to conquer fear of flying can be used by all who board an airplane.

Some of the soothing behaviours Bunn recommends are distraction-based: Use headphones to mask the plane's noises. Look at colourful magazine photos or puzzles instead of the vibrating walls.

Learning how a plane works helps fight anxiety because it explains all the clunks, dips and noises, he says.

HOW TO GET HELP

Community-based aviaphobia (fear of flying) treatment programs are rare, but some still exist.

Northwest Airlines cancelled its WINGS fear of flying course in 2002 because of budget cuts, but the instructors started their own firm, the My Sky Program, to offer weekend seminars culminating in an actual flight.

Travellers also can get help through web-based and online programs, including pilot and therapist Tom Bunn's www.fearofflying.comand Fearless Flight (www.fearless-flight.com). Bunn uses audio and video programs to train people to dilute their initial fears, halting the cascade of anxiety.

Prices for programs vary. Bunn's audio/ video courses cost between $125 and $595 US. Live weekend seminars sponsored by My Sky Program ( www.myskyprogram.com,612-871-3355) are about $1,000. People who have mental-health coverage should check with their insurance providers.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #175
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Air France chief says reaction to crash was timely

PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - The head of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it was not unusual that a slew of messages sent shortly before one of its planes crashed last month had not triggered an immediate reaction among staff.

Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told newspaper Le Figaro that a technician had no reason to suspect the seriousness of the situation when he saw 24 automatic messages had been sent by the Airbus before it plunged into the Atlantic.

"Other planes which fly and land without the slightest problem can send even more messages," he told the paper's Thursday edition in his first interview since 228 people perished on flight AF-447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The interview was published on the paper's website on Wednesday.

It was not unheard of to lose communication with planes as they crossed oceans and to detect them again later, he said.

More than six hours elapsed between the last contact between the Air France plane and the launch of an emergency alert, according to an earlier report by France's BEA air accident board.

Gourgeon confirmed frost may have been a factor in the accident given that the automatic messages sent pointed to inconsistencies with the plane's speed readings, but he added that this would not be enough to explain the cause of the crash.

Addressing criticism the airline took too long to get in touch with the families involved, he said the process had been complicated by incomplete passenger information.

Hopes of finding the plane's recorders, or black boxes, had not faded and locating them remained crucial, he said, adding that Air France would do its best to draw lessons from the accident.

The search for the black boxes using a nuclear submarine would continue until July 10. The recorders emit a signal for about 30 days.

After that, France would continue to probe the seabed with special machines, he said.

In the same interview, Gourgeon said Air France-KLM may resort to several measures at the end of the summer, including reduced working hours, for the first time in its history to deal with a slump in demand.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Air France crash stokes fears of nervous flyers; Experts suggest ways to cope
Detroit Free Press
8 July 2009

Angelo Giordimaina, 53, of Michigan, is one of them.

After avoiding planes for years, he was proud when he managed to fly to Mexico this spring on vacation. A few weeks ago, he was about to book a flight to California to see his daughter.

Then came Flight 447. "The possibility that the plane just disintegrated in mid-air put me back to where I was before. I've decided I will take the train to California," he says with sorrow and regret.
What idiotic logic? so trains do not crash or what?
Maybe the first things they should quit is cars as they crash the most.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Prices for programs vary. Bunn's audio/ video courses cost between $125 and $595 US. Live weekend seminars sponsored by My Sky Program ( www.myskyprogram.com,612-871-3355) are about $1,000. People who have mental-health coverage should check with their insurance providers.
Someone's making good money fooling these people.

$1000 for just listening to talks??
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #177
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Yes - I think some people are quite ignorant of how safe air travel really is! But then, the media is likely going to exploit these extreme examples to make a story buzz!
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Old July 10th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #178
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2 ships ending search for Air France black boxes; French submarine continues
10 July 2009

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Two ships using U.S. listening devices to search for the black boxes of Air France Flight 447 were ending their hunt Friday, an American commander said.

A French nuclear submarine, however, will continue to look.

U.S. Air Force Col. Willie Berges, the Brazil-based commander of American military forces supporting the effort, said one ship towing a U.S. Navy listening device had already stopped searching.

"The last ship will be departing the search area today," Berges said. He didn't know what time the final ship would leave the search area.

Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, more than 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) off Brazil's northeastern coast, on June 1. All 228 people aboard died. Investigators have said without the black boxes, it may be impossible to know with certainty what caused the crash.

Berges said the ships, which have been searching for the cockpit voice and flight data recorders since June 15, had "no success -- nothing was tracked."

The commander said a French nuclear submarine would continue trying to pick up emergency signals from the black boxes, but he didn't know for how long.

The black boxes are built to emit emergency "pings" for about 30 days, and then slowly fade away.

Two teams of American personnel were operating the U.S. Navy pinger locators that were towed by French-contracted ships. A French nuclear submarine is still scouring a search area with a radius of 50 miles (80 kilometers) in the area where the plane is thought to have crashed.

French investigators say 640 parts of the plane -- including a nearly intact tail, an engine cover, uninflated life jackets, seats and kitchen items -- have been plucked from the Atlantic Ocean, some of them huge pieces that had to be handled by cranes.

The debris was initially held in the Brazilian city of Recife, but the material is aboard a ship en route to France, where investigators will search for clues.

French crash investigators last week issued a preliminary report into the crash, finding that problems with the plane's speed sensors were one of several factors in the crash. It said the plane hit the ocean intact and belly first at a high rate of speed.

Experts have found no signs of an explosion or terrorist act.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #179
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French subs to resume search for Brazil flight boxes
15 July 2009
Agence France Presse

French submarines will next week resume the search for the flight recorders of the Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic ocean last month, investigators said Wednesday.

Search teams deployed after the June 1 crash of Flight AF 447 stopped monitoring on Saturday for the remote signals of the so-called "black boxes," which are designed to emit for at least 30 days.

Starting next week, French submarines will attempt to physically track down the devices, in a second search phase lasting around a month, said a statement from the French bureau leading the crash investigation, the BEA.

The marine research ship the "Pourquoi Pas" and its dozen crew will use two diving vessels, a mini-submarine and a robot craft to hunt for the recorders, which are clad in orange metal casing to protect and make them visible.

One of the devices records flight data while the other captures the voices of the crew and other sounds in the cockpit.

The Airbus 330 crashed in a storm on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with the loss of all 228 people on board, scattering debris and likely plunging the two recorders as deep as 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) under water.

Brazil's military called off the search for bodies and debris from the Air France jet, flight AF447, late last month.

Hundreds of pieces of debris from Air France Flight 447 -- from lifejackets to sections of flooring and including its entire tailfin -- arrived in southern France late Tuesday to be analysed in a defence ministry laboratory.

The 640 fragments recovered from the A330 were unloaded in the southwestern port of Pauillac, before being transferred by barge and truck to the CEAT laboratory in Toulouse.

Analysis of the debris will continue at the aeronautical lab under the supervision of the BEA and French air transport gendarmes.

The plane fragments were ferried from Recife in Brazil in containers on a cargo ship, the Ville de Bordeaux, normally used by Airbus to carry parts of the A380 superjumbo for assembly.

The BEA said in a report early this month, based on an initial study of the debris, that the plane was intact when it hit the ocean, but that the cause of the crash was still unknown.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #180
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What kind of a name is Pourqoui Pas?
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