As someone about to embark on a trans-oceanic flight, and a novice aviation enthusiast the mystery of Air France 447 got my attention just before going to bed last night. First, my thoughts and prayers are with the families. Any airline disaster is a tragedy for the families of those on-board, but I can not comprehend of how the pain and anguish must be amplified when those you love may be forever "missing".
There is an aspect to this story that I've yet to hear mentioned on the news, as efforts focus on finding the aircraft and, I hope, the rescue of survivors. Should the aircraft be unrecoverable (due to inability to locate it or it's sinking to the depths of the Atlantic) we may never learn what actually caused the incident. Air travel is an incredibly safe way to move about the world. Airlines, aircraft manufacturers, governments, crew and ALL persons involved in the operation of commercial air traffic go to great lengths to minimize risks, broaden margins of error, and create multiple redundancies in the event of a system failure. But with each aircraft tragedy we inevitably find something no one considered. We can't think of it all, and the silver lining to these tragedies is that they ultimately hi-light a previously undetected risk and marginalize that risk for the remainder of the airline industry. But that silver lining may not come should Air France 447 ultimately be un-recoverable - adding a haunting final touch to what I can only assume is tragedy over the Atlantic.