Messages yield little answers to Air France crash
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – A burst of automatic messages sent by Air France Flight 447 before it crashed includes one about a problem with a rudder safety device but lacks decisive clues as to what sent the jet plunging into the Atlantic Ocean two weeks ago, an aviation expert said Saturday.
One of the 24 automatic messages sent from the plane minutes before it disappeared May 31 with 228 on board points to a problem in the “rudder limiter,” a mechanism that limits how far the plane’s rudder can move. The flight was headed from Rio de Janeiro to Paris through an area of fierce thunderstorms.
The nearly intact vertical stabilizer – which includes the rudder – was fished out of the water by Brazilian searchers.
An official said the error message pertaining to the rudder limiter did not indicate it malfunctioned, but rather that it had locked itself in place because of conflicting speed readings.