Air France Flight 447 Destroyed By Meteorite?
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 19:22 UTC
Air France Flight 447 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared over the Mid-Atlantic (just north of the equator) at approximately 1.33UTC on June 1st 2009.
No mayday signal was received from the aircraft and almost two weeks later, aviation officials have yet to give a coherent explanation as to what could have caused the sudden demise of a high tech Airbus 330-200 passenger plane.
As usual, the media are missing (or concealing) some very obvious yet understandably disturbing data about the nature of the threats to life on planet earth, and as usual, Sott.net is is going to attempt to spell out the details.
One of the first official comments on the incident came from French Prime Minister Francois Fillon who said
“Our only certainty is that the plane did not send out any distress call but regular automatic alerts for three minutes indicating the failure of all systems”
Aviation experts were also said to be puzzled that there were no radio reports from the Airbus and stated that such a modern aircraft would have had to suffer multiple traumas to plunge into the sea.
Initial theorizing focused on the Pitot tube, part of the aircraft’s system of pressure-sensitive instruments which determine airspeed, Mach number, altitude, and vertical speed. An Air France spokesperson stated on 3 June that “the aircraft sent a series of electronic messages over a three-minute period, which represented about a minute of information. Exactly what that data means hasn’t been sorted out, yet.”
An aviation safety expert explained a few days later that “complete failure would require 100% failure of the electrical system,“ which “did not happen early in the flight, because the system was uplinking data to the maintenance facility, indicating there was some electricity on the airplane.”
The messages, sent from an onboard maintenance system, Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), indicated that between 02:10 UTC and 02:14 UTC – four minutes or less – 5 failure reports and 19 warnings were transmitted.The messages resulted from equipment failure data, captured by a built-in system for testing and reporting, and cockpit warnings also posted to ACARS. The failures and warnings in the 5 minutes of transmission concerned navigation auto-flight, flight controls, and cabin air-handling.
Among the ACARS transmissions in the first minute is one message that indicates a fault in the pitot-static system. Sources close to the investigation have confirmed that “the first automated system-failure message in a string of radio alerts from the crashed jet explicitly indicated that the airspeed sensors were faulty”. The twelve warning messages with the same time code indicate that the autopilot and auto-thrust system had disengaged, that the aircraft collision avoidance system was in fault mode. Additionally the flight mode went from ‘normal law’ to ‘alternate law’. The remainder of the messages occurred from 02:11 UTC to 02:14 UTC, containing a fault message for an Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (which sends air speed data to the pilots display as well as other systems such as the engines, autopilot, flight control and landing gear systems. At 02:12 UTC, a warning message indicated that there was a disagreement between the independent air data systems. At 02:13 UTC, a fault message for the flight management guidance and envelope computer was sent. One of the two final messages, transmitted at 02:14 UTC was a warning referring to the air data reference system, the other was a “cabin vertical speed warning”.
All of the above would seem to bear out the aforementioned aviation experts conclusion that the plane did indeed suffer multiple traumas before it plunged into the sea. Yet such a series of traumas would be unprecedented in modern aviation history, particularly given that the Airbus 330 is one of the most advanced and and safest commercial planes available. It has an excellent safety record, with more than 550 planes built and no passenger fatalities since it went into service in 1993. It is almost inconceivable then that such a plane with no history of technical issues could have experienced such complete technical failure so quickly that the pilot did not even have time to send a distress call (“Mayday”) on the aircraft emergency frequency.
Unsurprisingly then, on June 11th the French Investigation and Analysis Office For Civilian Security discounted the idea then that the “air speed sensor” could have been the main cause of the crash.
Severe weather has also been proposed as a possible cause. This theory is based on the report that at about 1am UTC the pilots reported that they had encountered “stormy weather with strong turbulence”. Daniel G. Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com calculated that thunderstorms in the region of the crash could have generated updrafts in the range of 100 miles per hour, although he conceded that this was not unusual weather for the region. According to commercial transport pilots familiar with the route, it is likely that the flight crew of the Air France aircraft was aware of the intensity of the storm in the flight path at that altitude long before actually encountering the thunderstorms. Using the on board radar pilots can see and fairly easily navigate around particular storm cells.
Lightning is also unlikely to have caused any serious problems because modern aircraft are designed to take lightning strikes without significant damage.
The most compelling evidence against the weather theory however is the fact that two Lufthansa jets flew through the same area both before and after Flight 447 without incident.
The United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday it had preliminary information indicating the two aircraft recorded data on prevailing temperatures and winds. But they were not equipped to automatically transmit information on turbulence.
On Monday, a source with access to the data transmitted to the World Meteorological Organisation told Reuters in Paris that the two jets passed through turbulence before and after the plane without incident, leaving experts scrambling to assess the weather’s role in the disaster.
Recent reports that passengers bodies have been found 54kms apart, strongly suggesting that the plane broke apart high in the air. When faced with the problem of the loss of a commercial jet in mid-air with no obvious explanation, the mainstream media generally resorts to storytelling, with a little emotional string pulling for good measure, as evidenced by this UK Times article:
Had AF447 suffered a structural failure? Did a window break or wing shear off? Whatever it was, the passengers must have been terrified. It was night over the Atlantic, lightning splitting the sky, the aircraft jolting in the turbulence, systems failing. Then massive decompression, cabin air gone and, outside, the temperature -30C or below. Mercifully they may not have suffered long.
Interestingly, in the same article the authors state:
Though no one yet knows for sure what destroyed the plane, investigators are concerned that it was not caused, as first suggested, by a lightning strike or a bomb or a meteorite. Instead they fear it was a fatal collision of high technology and the brute force of nature.
Ah yes, the “brute force of nature”! Now that is getting close, but even closer was the reference to a meteorite. Even though this idea received scant attention in the mainstream press, with only Discover magazine blog allowing one of their editors to speculate on the statistical possibility of an errant bolide sealing the fate of AF 447, it cannot be discounted. As the saying goes, when all other theories have been tried and found wanting, whatever remains, however implausible, must be the answer.
Readers of Sott.net will be familiar with the data we have compiled on the alarming increase in frequency of meteorite sightings and impacts over the past 10 years. It was this data, studiously ignored by the mainstream media, that led us to quickly consider a more logical explanation to the sudden disappearance of AF 447.
Within a few days of the crash the first piece of evidence that something other than high technology and weather destroyed AF 447 came in.
A Spanish pilot with Air Comet (which flies from South and Central American countries to Madrid) flying the Lima to Madrid route reported a bright descending light in the region of AF 447’s last position:
“Suddenly we saw in the distance a bright intense flash of white light that fell straight down and disappeared in six seconds”.
At the time of the sighting, (the copilot and a passenger who was in the front kitchen area of the airplane also saw it), the Air Comet aircraft was located at seven degrees north of the equator and at the 49th meridian West. The estimated location for the A-330-203 until the moment of its disappearance is at the equator and around the 30th meridian West
It seems reasonable to suggest that an aircraft would not produce a bright and intense white light for six seconds as it fell from the sky. The many dozens of meteorite and fireball sightings over the past few years however are often seen as bright white flashes of descending light.
A Sott.net reader later sent us the following report:
Early in the morning today (8th June 2009) I saw here in Brazil, an interview (on Record television network) with a native from the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha who stated that he saw strange lights in the night of the disaster with the Air France Jet.
He declared seeing a light (bright white) and later it changed directions several times and changed to red color.
So are we saying that a meteorite hit AF 447? Not exactly. The chances of a single smallish, (or even largish) rock falling from the sky and hitting a plane travelling at 500mph are surely too remote to be plausible. But meteorites and comets often do not simply fall to earth intact. Remember Tunguska?
The Tunguska Event, or Tunguska explosion, was a powerful explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, at around 7:14 a.m. on June 30, 1908
Although the cause of the explosion is the subject of debate, it is commonly believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5 – 10 kilometres (3 – 6 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates of the object’s size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across.
Although the meteor or comet burst in the air rather than directly hitting the surface, this event is still referred to as an impact. Estimates of the energy of the blast range from 5 megatons to as high as 30 megatons of TNT, with 10 – 15 megatons the most likely – roughly equal to the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear explosion set off in late February 1954, about 1,000 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and about one-third the power of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.The explosion knocked over an estimated 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometres (830 square miles). It is estimated that the shockwave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale. An explosion of this magnitude is capable of destroying a large metropolitan area.
Although the Tunguska event is believed to be the largest impact event on land in Earth’s recent history, impacts of similar size in remote ocean areas would have gone unnoticed before the advent of global satellite monitoring in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Tunguska meteorite probably was visible in the sky as it exploded and broke up, probably appearing as a bright white light descending in the sky. 6-10 miles up is within the height range of commercial aircraft. And AF flight 447 was indeed located in a remote ocean area. So if, as we suspect, the blast from a Tunguska-like comet – though a much smaller one than that which exploded over Tunguska – destroyed AF447, this is a phenomenon that can explain the anomalies of the systems failures – precursor electronic activity in the atmosphere – and it is also likely that modern satellite monitoring systems would have picked it up. Regarding this point, we cite Brigadier General S. Pete Worden’s article NEOS, Planetary Defense and Government – A View From the Pentagon:
I can show people evidence of real strikes inflicting local and regional damage less than a century ago. Even more compelling are the frequent kiloton-level detonations our early warning satellites see in the earth’s atmosphere.
Within the United States space community there is a growing concern over “space situational awareness.” We are beginning to understand that it is essential to identify and track virtually everything in earth orbit. Some of these objects, down to a few centimeters in size, present a potential threat to commercial and civil space operations such as the International Space Station.
So, what are the chances that civilian, or even government/military satellite imagery will be used to put an end to this “wild speculation” of ours?
Well, up until a few days ago the chances seemed good. But then, for some unknown reason, and VERY coincidentally, this happened:
Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified
10 June 2009
For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth’s atmosphere – but no longer.
A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, SPACE.com had learned.
The satellites’ main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists.
“It’s baffling to us why this would suddenly change,” said one scientist familiar with the work. “It’s unfortunate because there was this great synergy…a very good cooperative arrangement. Systems were put into dual-use mode where a lot of science was getting done that couldn’t be done any other way. It’s a regrettable change in policy.”
Scientists say not only will research into the threat from space be hampered, but public understanding of sometimes dramatic sky explosions will be diminished, perhaps leading to hype and fear of the unknown.
Amazing. You are now denied the right to know what is going on in the skies above you.