DATE:            Friday, November 11, 2011

TIME:            11:00am  – 12:00pm

LOCATION: Johnson Center 327 - Assembly Room C


Search for Air France Flight 447

Lawrence D. Stone, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist

Metron Inc.



On 1 June 2009 Air France Flight 447, with 228 passengers and crew aboard, disappeared over the South Atlantic during a night flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.  An international air and surface search effort located the first floating debris during the sixth day of search.  Three phases of unsuccessful search for the underwater wreckage ensued.  Phase I was a passive acoustic search for the aircraft’s underwater locator beacons.  Phases II and III were side-looking sonar searches scanning the ocean bottom for the wreckage field.  In July of 2010 the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses tasked Metron to review the searches and produce posterior probability maps for the location of the wreckage.  These maps were used to plan the next phase of search beginning in March 2011.  On April 3, after one week of search, the wreckage was located in a high probability area of the map.

Short Bio

Dr. Lawrence D. Stone, became Chief Operating Officer of Metron Inc., in 1990 and Chief Executive Officer in 2004.  In 2010 he returned to technical work as Chief Scientist.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science. In 1975, the Operations Research Society of America awarded the Lanchester Prize to Dr. Stone's text, Theory of Optimal Search.  In 1986, he produced the probability maps used by the Columbus America Discovery Group to locate the S.S. Central America which sank in 1857, taking millions of dollars of gold coins and bars to the ocean bottom a mile and a half below.  He led the team that produced the probability distributions that guided the French to the location of the underwater wreckage of Air France Flight AF447. Coauthor of the 1999 book, Bayesian Multiple Target Tracking, he  continues to work on a number of detection and tracking systems for the United States Navy and Coast Guard. His education includes a Bachelor of Science, in Mathematics, from Antioch College, 1964; a Master of Science, Mathematics, Purdue University, 1966; and a Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics, Purdue University, 1967.


Jie Xu

Assistant Professor

Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research

Engr Bldg, Rm 2100, MS 4A6
George Mason University
Fairfax VA 22030

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