There has been some speculation (including myself from day 1) that the rudder was a key element to the investigation of the air crash of Flight AF447. The tail was found last week and investigators are now reviewing whether or not the Airbus rudder was an issue. They are focusing on the part of the rudder which controls how much the rudder can move. Normally, a limiter prevents the rudder from swinging or moving too far – at high speeds an incorrectly positioned rudder could sheer off. There has been some speculation in the media that this Airbus had some issues regarding the rudder – I find this hard to believe, as any aircraft snag list which highlighted a rudder problem, you can be guaranteed that Air France would have brought the aircraft in for immediate repair.
Part of the Airbus Rudder / Vertical Stabiliser of Flight AF447
Technicians will be able to review the metal structure, looking for corrosion or metal sheer and may be able to deduce if the rudder failed on its own or if air speed was a factor. There are many large bolts in the area of the vertical stabiliser and perhaps one of these failed – however if you look at the amount of the tail fin was recovered it actually is only the fin part and does not come near the area where the structure is housed and secured.
Other air crashes which had rudder problems include on famous case in Japan where a JAL Boeing 747SR lost part of its rudder and crashed into a mountain. Other cases include SilkAir Flight 185, American Airlines Flight 587.
There are now many vessels, including some from USA and France covering hundreds of square kilometers every day listening for the pingers on the black boxes and flight data recorders which will stop working in about 2 weeks.
The next 2 weeks will be vital in the search for clues to why this modern airliner crashed.
I am going to remain quiet on this subject until the next major update from Brazil.
The Brazilian Air Force have arrived at the scene where they thought debris was to be found the UFO (unidentified floating object) was only a wooden pallet. No debris has actually been found. However some new theories have emerged.
1) The plane was flying too slowly through the storm. This was mentioned in a French Newspaper, stating that the A330 flew too slowly through the storm and may have stalled. Although this has been played down in the media it could have been a primary cause of the crash.
2) There was icing and this made the plane travel slower, or disrupted the airflow over the wings causing problems with the aircrafts control surfaces. Icing should not appear at those altitudes but for some reason it is presumed that icing may have occurred for flight 447.
3) There are reports of errors and warnings about speed. Did the pilots have incorrect information about the planes speed and this would have caused item #1 above (referring to the speed at which Flight 447 travelled through the storm). Could the aircrafts pitot tubes have been partially blocked, causing incorrect speeds to be displayed as they climbed. The pitot tubes have been involved in some major crashes over the years and cause very unusual cockpit readings as well as very sudden crashes, as seen on Seconds from Disaster and Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic.
Whatever the news over the weekend, it seems very very strange that absolutely no debris has been recovered.
It may be a long time before we find out the cause of the flight 447 crash.
Over 3 days after the Flight AF 447 event, progress is still quite slow. Many news agencies are even reporting that Air France received bomb threats in the days leading up to the event.
So far a large debris field has been found, but the largest section found to date is only 7 metres in length. The investigators are pessimistic about finding the black boxes or Flight AF 447 which are reported to be between 9,800 – 12,000 feet below the surface.
There are still a lot of conflicting theories on what happened Flight AF 447. On this site I have seen lots of people searching for “Flight 447 UFO” – this is ridiculous … strange people out there!
It could take 1-2 weeks before they collect enough wreckage to run metalurgical tests to check for explosive traces or the distinctive bending of the metal which is caused when a bomb explodes.
All anyone can do now is wait and see.