Air France plane didn't break up? Skepticism grows.
Many wonder how French investigators, who announced their findings Thursday, could arrive at that conclusion when so little evidence has been recovered.
(Page 2 of 2)
"In the absence of [the recorders], we're getting wildly conflicting information about what may have occurred," he adds.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The Monitor has confirmed that the BEA is still in discussions with Louisiana-based C&C Technologies, an undersea mapping company that has the technical capabilities to continue the search using automated undersea vehicles and a side-scan sonar approach.
Analysts say it is a promising technology. Company president Thomas Chance said it was "likely" that the black boxes and more of the wreckage could be found using side scan sonar, but that it could take several months. No contract has been signed yet.
Aviation analysts note that in past accidents – like the crash of TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the coast of Long Island in July of 1996 – accident investigators spent millions of dollars recovering the wreckage and then painstakingly reconstructing the aircraft in order to discover the cause of the crash.
"These are very expensive operations, with TWA 800 they didn't know what brought that plane down, but they were bound and determined to find out," says Professor Oster. "That's because of the question: If we don't understand what brought this plane down, how will we know it won't bring another one down?"
During Thursday's news conference outside Paris, an adviser to France's accident investigation board said he did not believe that the concerns by the Flight 447 crash raised are sufficient to ground other Airbus A330 aircraft.
"The information available today does not indicate any such need," Philip Swan, an adviser to the BEA, told a news conference, according to Reuters. "They have flown tens of millions of hours and there are 660 of them flying."
But some aviation analysts disagree strongly with that conclusion.
"They have not looked into the myriad instances of computerized control system glitches that have occurred during those 'tens of millions of hours,' and how they might well be related to a series of cascading events that may have doomed Flight 447," writes Lee Gaillard, an aviation analyst based in Saranac Lake, N.Y., in an e-mail.