Much attention in last few days has been put on the 24 Acars fault messages AF 447 transmitted just before all contact with the Airbus A330-200 ended.
But the Acars VHF communications device also regularly (every 10 minutes) reports information about the flight. Using that information, the French accident investigation office, BEA, which on Saturday provided an update on its investation, has plotted the following course AF 447 took before it crashed:
Meanwhile, much of the focus remains on the other messages, though. What they mean and, in particular, whether the pitot probes, which had not yet undergone a planned upgrade by Air France. may have malfunctioned.
Unfortunately, the Acars data has not provided any information on how speed and altitude of AF 447 may have fluctuated in the critical minutes when other fault messages were detected -- from 2:10-2:14 UTC, after which nothing more was heard from the aircraft. Without the cockpit voice and data recorders, establishing those facts may not be possible.