AF 447: All anyone is talking about June 2, 2009Posted by gordonwatts in travel.
I’m spending a week at an ATLAS meeting here in Geneva. The day I flew was the day of the horrible Air France 447 crash. The plane just disappeared over the Atlantic on its way from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, France. Just disappeared. It flew through heavy turbulence and a thunder storm. And just disappeared.
As I’m sure you’ve read by now modern airplanes (which this A330 is most certainly one of) are built to deal with these sorts of conditions. Being struck by lighting, flying through strong and gusty winds, etc. So what happened?
Of course, none of us know. But many of the group of people over here at CERN that I hang out with are from the USA. Which means we take these long distance flights all the time. In the past month I’ve taken the equivalent of two of these flights. The uncertainty is really getting to us. Most of us will be on one of these long distance flights (and some on a A330) in less than a week. So you can imagine…
There is another plane crash I remember – Swiss Air 111. This flight was going from JFK to Geneva in 1998. It happened during the CHEP 1998 conference. There were a bunch of people on that flight from the CHEP conference.
I guess one comforting thing for those of us that have to fly is that this is the first A330 crash ever (besides one initial test flight). Still, it is the main topic of conversation over beer and lunch right now. Which is probably just making it worse.
Regardless, our hearts go out to the folks that survived the passengers of 447. We are all connected to the people on that flight one way or the other.
UPDATE: Now that they have found the wreckage they are sending a submersible down there to search for the black boxes. Apparently, the submersible they are using is the same one that is used to repair the Antares experiment (a neutrino experiment on the floor of the ocean).
UPDATE II: I went to dinner last night with someone that was actively trying to get on that Swiss Air 111 flight. It was sold out, fortunately. He knew some people from BNL that were on that flight, on their way to CERN.