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On June 1, 2009, Air France flight 447 departed from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with 228 passengers and crew onboard on an overnight flight to Paris. They would never make it.

The Airbus A330 operating the flight was one of the safest planes in the sky, with zero major accidents in 15 years of commercial service, so what was different the night that AF 447 crashed into the Atlantic?

When the aircraft’s black boxes were finally recovered from the ocean floor two years later, they told the harrowing tale of an accident sequence that only lasted four minutes and twenty-three seconds from start to finish. Let’s dig into what happened that night because there’s a lot for us to learn from this aircraft and crew about the systems we build and how we build them.