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What Air France Flight 447 Can Teach Us About AirAsia Flight 8501

TIME

As air disaster detectives have learned from the early phases of some high-profile accident investigations, evidence can be priceless or useless.

Clues are scarce in the early days of the hunt for AirAsia Flight QZ 8501, the Airbus A320 that disappeared from radar scopes over the weekend, presumably crashing into the ocean, claiming the lives of all 162 on board.

Despite a couple of remarkable similarities, AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 is no Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, the Boeing 777 that was lost and has remained lost after going off radar screens shortly after what should have been a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing last March.

Here are the important differences:

  • The Malaysia Airlines flight was routed through a wide area of clear weather, whereas the AirAsia Airbus was transiting a sector that was overrun by severe thunderstorms with the tops of those storms reaching as high as…

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