The flight data recorder of Air France 447 which crashed nearly two years ago has been found by robots that are combing the sea floor of the Atlantic ocean. The cylindrical Honeywell ruggedized flight recorder has been submerged in water for over 23 months and it is as yet uncertain is the data it contains is retrievable. The gadget recorded data from the planes instruments.
The extremely high water pressures 12,800 feet depth may have been withstood by the flight recorder. The officials at Honeywell said that the unit was designed to withstand water pressures of up to 20,000 feet for 30 days, as well as impact 1,500 times the force of gravity. From outward appearances the box seems to be undamaged and the manufacturer name of Honeywell is prominently visible on the side of the box.
As per a BEA spokeswoman the box does not look damaged, but they cannot say that it will work till it is opened up. A robotic arm was seen picking up the cylindrical flight recorder from the seabed. It was discovered after a 10,000 square kilometer area of sea floor was combed by underwater robots. There has been much speculation over what went wrong during the flight and no satisfactory answers have been found by crash investigating agencies as yet.
If the data has survived it would be able to shed some light on the tragic crash in June 2009 that killed 229 passengers who were travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in the Airbus A330-200. All passengers and crew members were killed as the flight hit stormy weather and sank into the Atlantic Ocean just off the north eastern coast of Brazil.
Air France-KLM Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said that this new step in the investigation was very significant as it may provide additional information as to the causes of this accident that remain unexplained to this day. Following the crash both Airbus and Air France have been placed under a formal investigation.
Unfortunately they would not find the cockpit conversations in the flight recorder as those were stored in the black box. The black box of the aircraft has not yet been rescued from its watery confinement. The flight black box is an audio recording device in the cockpit that would record the conversation of the pilots during the flight. The term Black is actually misleading for its physical appearance.
A black box is usually painted orange before being placed in aircrafts so that it is easier to trace at a crash site. The conversation between the pilots gives the crash investigators vital clues to determine what went wrong during the flight. Needless to say if the Air France black box is recovered there will be vital information revealed to show just what went wrong on the doomed flight.
So far the investigators of the air crash believe that the air speed sensors on the aircraft failed due to ice build-up on the airspeed sensors. However this is just a theory based on the sequence of messages that were automatically radioed back to the base just before the aircraft crashed. The flight data recorder may be able to substantiate the theory if its instrument data recording collaborates with it.