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Robotics Transportation

Robots Find Wreckage of AF447 148

Last week we reported on an army of robots searching for Air France 447 over a nearly 4,000 sq mile patch of the Atlantic ocean. Today mriya3 noted that "BEA, the French air accident investigation office, reports that the wreckage of Air France flight 447 has been found. The plane, an Airbus A330, crashed June 1, 2009 while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators hope to find the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. A press conference will be held today."
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Robots Find Wreckage of AF447

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  • will there be data? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @09:40AM (#35707214)

    What remains to be seen is, even if they find the recorders, will they have readable data?

    It's not easy to protect equipment against two years under 4000 meters of water.

    • by Anonymous Showered ( 1443719 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @09:48AM (#35707304)

      The flight recorder box is made to withstand deep sea pressure according to this article [].

      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Monday April 04, 2011 @10:14AM (#35707660)
        The Civil Aviation Authority, which will have the same requirements as EASA who will be the ones regulating the Airbus A330 as its an European aircraft, only requires the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) to withstand sea water immersion for 30 days, and says nothing about pressure at the depths we are talking about here other than the FDR will withstand crushing forces of 5,000 LBF (22.25 kN) for 5 continuous minutes. []

        The Cockpit Voice Recorder has similar requirements.

        Its unlikely that after this time the FDR nor the CVR are still sealed.
        • requires the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) to withstand sea water immersion for 30 days, and says nothing about pressure at the depths we are talking about here other than the FDR will withstand crushing forces of 5,000 LBF (22.25 kN) for 5 continuous minutes.

          I flipped through the PDF and the crushing force you quoted is " a static crush force of 22.25 kN (5,000 lbf) applied continuously but not simultaneously to each of the three axes in the most critical direction, for a period of 5 minutes." In other word

          • I was thinking the same thing.
            I remember watching a documentary about the switchover from magnetic wire to flash memory sometime in the 90s. If the silicon under the epoxy survives, the data should be retrievable.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @09:51AM (#35707358) Journal
      It isn't a sure thing; the entropic forces of the uncaring universe are almost poetic in their creative destruction; but black boxes trade density for robustness in a pretty serious way.

      The classic ones, at any rate, are well sealed and record magnetically onto loop of stainless steel wire. Seriously retro in terms of data density; and you don't just plug it into the nearest USB port(which is why many aircraft also have flight data recorders designed for non-emergency use, which are much less survivable; but much more convenient for routine diagnostics); but anything not involving serious corrosion or an excursion above the Curie temperature of the recording loop should be pretty much irrelevant...
    • by Skater ( 41976 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:16AM (#35708384) Homepage Journal
      The AP article [] indicates that they are confident they can still read the recorders.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      South African Airways Flight 295 had it's CVR recovered from 4,900 meters of water just over 2 years since the crash. They were able to read the data from it, although in the aforementioned case the fire stopped the CVR before the crash.

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @09:50AM (#35707336) Journal

    Seems they had extraordinarily good luck this time around. I think I remember reading that they found it on their 4th day of searching? Previous expeditions had searched for months, so they really did well to find it straight off.

    There are new reports this morning that bodies have been found in the wreckage. This is going to provide closure in many ways (emotional, engineering, etc).

  • It took less than a week to find the plane? (!). Wow.
    • They found debris from the aircraft after the initial crash. This wasn't so much "finding the titanic after 70 some years" as it was "I know I parked my car in this lot where di....oh there it is, it was a couple rows over." They also found large pieces of the plane. They are still far complete.

      Still quite a feat.

    • There have already been two search campaigns in the most likely places so far. It's more like it took them almost two years... but utlimately, they did find it.
  • insert your own samuel l jackson joke []

    the ocean's morticians, always found near the dead

    nastiest things on earth

  • Sounds like something out of a Lost episode to me. Are we sure this wreck is not a fake?
  • Yes it is their SOULS that are down there. Quick! Go down there, and get thee their SOULS!

  • The army of robots, after confirming the destruction of AF447, celebrated their victory today, decorating Unit 00110110 with the Metal of Honor. Their leader, Unit 10001101, was reported as saying "Hey sexy mama, wanna kill all humans?"

    • Not to worry. If robots get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee.

      That ought to do them in.

      (apologies to somebody)
  • by pdcull ( 469825 ) on Monday April 04, 2011 @12:04PM (#35708974) Homepage
    The Brazilian Globo news site has photos which were taken yesterday: []
  • Why isn't the data, or some subset of it, transmitted continuously during the flight?

    • Generally speaking, the signals are reduced to line of sight shortfalls. Once the plane is in the middle of the Atlantic, the curvature of the earth prevents signals going to or coming from the plane from any point under the horizon. At least GPS tells us the last location of the plane before failure/sinking.

      After that, it is the same as a leaf falling from a tree on a windy day...

    • by Skater ( 41976 )
      Cost? Every plane would require upgrades...all for the extremely unlikely event one is lost, over water, without a trace.
  • Next, Sarah Connor!

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