Thursday, June 04, 2009

Flight Into The Unknown

Will it ever be known what happened to Air France 447? Perhaps not. It may remain forever a mystery in the annals of flight mishaps. Another notch in Nature's blind and bland interventions in the puny affairs of humankind. That is, if the source of the accident was one that did not involve malign human intervention.

Since no mayday message was sent it would appear that there was a fairly instant loss of electrical capability. Due to a catastrophic loss of pressure, it is assumed. The experts in forensic air flight science claim that depressurization might have caused that airbus jet to explode in midair. At a high altitude, sending pieces of its wreckage over a wide swath of ocean.

Professor Philippe Juvin of Beaujon hospital, Paris, reassures grieving relatives of the flight's lost souls that their loved ones aboard the plane would likely have been unaware of anything amiss, falling unconscious instantly. "It would have been as quick as the moment when one falls asleep." Small comfort, yet perhaps so in a minuscule way. Easing the imagination.

Structural failure; a cracked window, an open door - or a hole caused by a bomb could cause depressurization, itself caused by a failure of the pressure control system because of impaired system integrity. G-forces during an uncontrolled dive has the potential to cause the structure to disintegrate, if those forces are beyond the plane's ability to cope with.

Debris covering more than 90 kilometres of ocean was noted by search crews. Debris spread across a five-km area, along with a 20-km oil slick. No sign of bodies, let alone survivors. Crash investigators claim not to be 'optimistic' about retrieving the plane's black boxes. "We cannot rule out that we will not find the flight recorders", according to the head of France's air accident investigation agency.

There is a 30-day window beyond which the recorders will no longer send homing signals. If they survived the impact when they hit the vast ocean waters. And just incidentally there had been a bomb threat made against a flight coincidentally, from Buenos Aires to Paris just four days before flight 447 disappeared.

Flight 447 was meticulously searched after the anonymous warning, and nothing was discovered that might indicate a bomb was aboard. The flight left late, about an hour and a half later than scheduled. No reason to panic, that kind of false alert is not unusual, nor is the accompanying, obligatory search to ensure that all is well.

All was not well. If terrorism was involved, it will become less of a mystery, though no less of a horrendous catastrophe. Those wishing to inflict atrocities, hoping to sow terror are not shy about their part in ensuring that such catastrophes occur. They will reveal themselves since there will no longer be any reason to remain silent, the covert operation successfully concluded.

They will do so for the greater glory of having been successful in their determination to strike against those whom they wish to destroy. If the black boxes are not retrieved, as is feared, and no terror group steps forward to proudly claim responsibility, then aviation history will claim another inexplicable accident of grave proportions.

In the meantime, we can await a suspension of apprehension. Or not.

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