What happened to Air France flight AF447? The answers aren’t coming easily or quickly, with the latest reports saying the Airbus A330 did not break up in mid-air. But one firm, aviation consultancy Innovation Analysis Group (IAG), has been talking with experts about the tragedy since 5 June.
In less than a month IAG has compiled what must be one of the most comprehensive series of recorded interviews concerning the tragic event – and what could have been done differently – than any other organization.
IAG’s Addision Schonland has talked to everyone from former NTSB VP Robert Francis to AeroMechanical Services president Richard Hayden, who explains the possibility of moving up to 88 data points off an aircraft and where the data could be sent – even to a CEO’s cell phone!
Hayden believes, and I’m sure many will agree, that the world would benefit from greater data flows off aircraft, especially in a crisis.
I know this is a delicate subject but don’t you think it might be time to start talking seriously about the role connectivity can play? Airbus is already thinking outside the box.
Schonland tells me that, after some internal debate, the decision was taken to make the AF447 information free as a public service, which is why I’m urging you to check out this site.
“The idea of creating the AF447 content was driven by the highly unusual circumstances – a relatively new plane, with a great safety record, from a tier one airline and what appears to be an experienced crew and in odd circumstances,” says Addison.
“For instance, AF459 out of Rio came 20 minutes after AF447 and diverted 70NM around the same storm – why? There has been scant news about this. There is little we know about the crash – there appears to be clogged pitots. The pitot problem on the A330/340 is old news, but can we fault AF? There are a host of questions and we have tried to avoid speculation. “
But what has been the most interesting item discovered so far?
“The most interesting item we discovered so far is that the missing CVR and FDR problems might have been made less of a problem had the plane been equipped with an ability to send out masses of data via satellite. Apparently such an ability would add significantly to the missing information. Not the least of which is the last location of the plane.
“An FDR stores up to 88 data points – with high bandwidth capacity all these and more could have been “squirted” off the flight not only in an emergency but even on a regular basis, like every 5 minutes. Imagine how much more the investigation team would have to work with? Could this event be a good time for IATA to take the lead in coming up with a solution for the industry on the basis of safety? There are so many redundant system in planes for safety – as we move to ever more sophisticated equipment, perhaps such a data service would be appropriate. Unfortunately we learn from crashes to avoid them in future. A dearth of data is not appropriate in the 21st Century.”