Sunday, 13 December 2009

AirFrance 447 and a new low in news reporting...

The loss of Air France 447 between Rio and Paris somewhere over the south Atlantic has produced much speculation. Last months mayday call by another Air France aircraft (flight number AF445) in roughly the same place due to turbulence has however produced this:

Firstly, a MayDay call is part of the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for Air France (and others) during exceptionally heavy turbulence which can often be found over that particular part of the Atlantic in an area called the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).  A discussion about the above can be found on the Pprune forums by professional pilots which will shed a lot more light on what happened to AF 445.

One possible "new" Bermuda Triangle theory "could" be based upon the methane clathrate idea where large amounts of methane are released from the sea-bed due to earthquake or other seismic phenomenon. Such a release of gas would cause bubbles to reduce the density of the water and at least, theoretically, sink a ship. Such a methane release could burn or explode and reach to 30,000ft or more thus affecting aircraft. However this has never happened, never been recorded (an explosion reaching to 30,000 might just have been detected) and there appear to be no methan clathrate deposits in the area.

While the loss of AF447 is not known, the development of a "new" Bermuda Triangle is one of the more far fetched theories - a minor application of Occam's Razor is required here perhaps? The most likely theory for severe turbulence in this particular area is the already known, recorded and oft experienced effect of the ITCZ.

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