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AF447: Piecing the Puzzle

Air France Airbus A330, Photo Christopher Weyer/ Wikipedia
Air France Airbus A330, Photo Christopher Weyer/ Wikipedia

Flight safety may not have much to do with the state of the world. But the tragedy of Air France flight 447 demonstrates how open source data can be used to furnish situational awareness and bridge gaps in our knowledge.

First stop: the Aviation Safety Network, a complete database of airline related incidents that makes grim reading for anyone planning their summer holiday. From there, to the specific AF447 page, which comes complete with photos, interactive maps, multimedia files, and incident statistics.

Next, to Weather Graphics, a provider of weather-related data sets, where the author has compiled a complete meteorological analysis, using personal knowledge, open source data and information provided by third parties. His conclusion? Until we know better, it looks like heavy turbulence and structural failure brought the plane down (in other words, the plane was torn apart by the storm).

Final stop: True/Slant, an news service billed as “a home for entrepreneurial journalists”, where an aviation reporter pulls it all together for a lay audience. In keeping with the theme, Vanity Fair’s recent article on US Airways Flight 1549 is essential reading for anyone studying or working in crisis management.

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