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NOVA: Crash Of Flight 447

Airs Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Side view of Air France A330. On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it all 228 lives on board. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply vanish without a trace?

On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it all 228 lives on board. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply vanish without a trace?

Lift and Drag

Without the aerodynamic forces of lift and drag, aircraft would be unable to fly, wind turbines would not spin, and countless other machines that we depend on every day would not work. What, exactly, are these two forces, and why are they so important? In this interactive, learn about the basics of lift and drag, and find out how critical they are to the operation of all sorts of devices.

In "Crash Of Flight 447," NOVA assembles a team of seasoned pilots, engineers and safety experts to examine the evidence that emerged in the weeks following this disaster. What led Flight 447’s crew to fly straight into a towering thunderstorm?

Using expert testimony, messages transmitted by the doomed plane’s computer system and multi-layered CGI weather reconstructions, NOVA pieces together the events leading up to the catastrophe. With a veteran pilot at the controls of an Airbus simulator, NOVA reconstructs the final moments in the cockpit as the crisis overwhelmed Flight 447’s crew. The program provides a forensic view of crucial events seen from all angles to reveal what really happened on Flight 447.

Video

Preview: NOVA: Crash Of Flight 447

Above: On June 1, 2009, Flight AF447, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it all 228 lives on board. How could a state-of-the-art airliner with elaborate electronic safety and navigation features and a faultless safety record simply vanish without a trace? In "Crash Of Flight 447," NOVA assembles a team of seasoned pilots, engineers and safety experts to examine the evidence that emerged in the weeks following this disaster.

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