Bona fide watershed accidents tip the scales, unleashing new laws and regulations intended to stop machines falling from the sky in similar fashion. Delta 191 begat windshear remedies; TWA 800 led to more stringent wiring regulations. But watershed accidents are usually the last in a series of similar crashes where the weight of evidence—and sometimes public opinion—demand action be taken. Not so for Air France Flight 447, where the inability to locate and recover the flight ...

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