"In addition, the storms were towering up to 50,000 feet and would
have been producing lightning. The Air France plane would have
encountered these stormy conditions, which could have resulted in
either some structural failure or electrical failure."
At 11:10 p.m., a cascade of horrific problems began.
Automatic messages relayed by the jetliner indicate the autopilot
had disengaged, suggesting Dubois and his two co-pilots were trying to
thread their way through the dangerous clouds manually.
A key computer system had switched to alternative power and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged.
An alarm sounded, indicating the deterioration of flight systems.
At 11:13 p.m., more automatic messages reported the failure of
systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the
main flight computer and wing spoilers also failed.
The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., indicated complete
electrical failure and a massive loss of cabin pressure — catastrophic
events, indicating that the plane was breaking apart and plunging
toward the ocean.