American Airlines Flight 587 encountered wake turbulence. The pilot countered with rudder inputs. The rudder inputs were excessive, the tail assembly failed, and the aircraft crashed, killing 265 people.

The NTSB determined that the Airbus’ rudder controls are unduly sensitive and make it easy for a pilot to overstress the aircraft’s structure, causing a catastrophic failure.  Now

The families of Michael and Anne Harris, the American couple on board Air France Flight 447, filed suit this week in Houston federal court.  It’s the first lawsuit arising from the crash. The most frequently asked questions about this suit are:

Question:  Aren’t the families jumping the gun?  The Air France Fuselage Recoveryblack boxes haven’t yet been recovered, and may never be.  For

Tim Vasquez is a meteorologist with Weather Graphics in Oklahomoa.  He has plotted Flight 447’s flight path against GOES-10 satellite and other weather data. Vaquez’ work suggests Flight 447 penetrated two thunderstorm cells.

The image below, according to Vasquez, is similar to what the Flight 447 crew would have seen on its weather radar screen, assuming

Are the passengers’ families entitled to compensation for their loss? From whom? Does it matter what caused the crash? Can the families sue in the United States?

Air France is Responsible Regardless of the Cause of the Accident. 

The Montreal Convention requires Air France to compensate the families as long as the crash was

Did the Pilots Attempt to Fly Through a Thunderstorm Intentionally? That’s very unlikely. Pilots avoid thunderstorms at all costs, because they know a thunderstorm can destroy any aircraft. Pilots use the aircraft’s on-board weather radar system to make sure they keep a safe distance. During the day, they can see the towering thunderstorms rising up to 50,000 feet and avoid them that way as well.

Did Lightning Destroy the Aircraft? Probably not. Lightning strikes are common. On average, each airplane is the US commercial fleet is stuck by lightning once per year. To protect against strikes, airliners are designed to route the electrical charge along the aircraft’s outer skin from one end ofContinue Reading Air France Flight 447: Lightning, Thunderstorms, and the Airbus