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Squawks & HeadlinesFinal Air France crash report says pilots failed to react swiftly

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Final Air France crash report says pilots failed to react swiftly

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(CNN) -- A series of errors by pilots and a failure to react effectively to technical problems led to the crash of Air France Flight 447, France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis said Thursday in its final report on the disaster. The Brazil-to-France flight plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. (edition.cnn.com) More...

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dgbard
Don Bard 3
I hesitate to ask this question, since I am just a private pilot with a few hundred hours, but what the heck. Time and time again we learn of accidents due to pitot tube problems. With today's electronic GPS systems, why is that not a good backup system for airspeed, and altitude issues, when a pitot probe blockage is suspect ?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
The article was horribly lacking. A final report should have included all the previous reports and the transcript of the voice recorder I read the other day It's too easy to blame the dead guys. There is little doubt that the front end crew committed some errors, but these weren't some over tired, underpaid rookies flying a Dash 8 to a short field. Trying to climb a fuel heavy A330 above FL 38.0 probably wasn't such a hot idea, but there must have been a reason for that choice.

I'd like to have seen more concentration on the flight computers and the superfluous data spewing on rolling display screens meant for the maintenance folks in France. If that's what it was displaying there was no display to help them fly. We learn from hour 2 or 3 about stalls and recovery from same: reduce the angle of attack and trade it for air speed. So why was an experienced pilot trying to climb out with a stall warning filling the cockpit with noise? What pushed them to make that decision. There must have been some information they were drawing from.

I don't know anything about Airbus other than what I've learned here. But they have some idiosyncrasy's not common to anything I have flown. I don't like the idea that the computer seems to be all but narcissistic over who or what is in command.
preacher1
preacher1 4
And don't ever put youself down again with that "I'M JUST A PRIVATE PILOT" business. There was not a one of us in here that got an ATP on a solo flight. And hours do build!!!!!!!!!!!!!
nickpiszczek
The unfortunate lesson of this accident is that had the pilots reverted to basic private pilot skills they could have averted the result. Secondary flight displays/cross referencing, pitch for airspeed power for altitude and stick and rudder rule the day. The lesson? We are entering the zone where classic airmanship takes a back seat to automation and the brain lock is switched permanently on for a generation that will know nothing other then automated cockpits.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
Here Here ! There are no dumb questions or stupid thoughts.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I don't know that the A 330 has those basic instruments. Needle/ball may be non existent and the airspeed is a computer display that was over ridden by maintenance reporting, the way I read previous reports. Popular Mechanics, you'll have to Google it, published the entire voice recording of the incident. I didn't find a clue of why the FO made the decisions he did keeping in mind he had over 11,000 hours logged. These weren't rookies, but rather an elite, experienced flight crew.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 4
Mark,
The cockpit voice recorder transcript is also available here:
http://www.bea.aero/docspa/2009/f-cp090601.en/pdf/annexe.01.en.pdf

"Needle and ball" information was available to the crew throughout the incident. The only thing they lost was reliable airspeed indication. Similar to any other loss of instrumentation, there is a well-defined procedure for unreliable airspeed indications, which the crew simply failed to implement.

All,

There can be little doubt that the crew's failure to implement basic and required procedures after loss of airspeed information was the root cause of the outcome. There has been much speculation that various features of the Airbus FBW controls contributed to the outcome, but there is little evidence of this in the record.

When reliable airspeed information was lost, the autopilot disconnected and control logic went to one of the alternate laws. The crew was aware of and acknowledged this. They were also aware that the autothrottle function had disconnected, and made manual thrust adjustments throughout the incident. Although there has been speculation about conflicting control inputs, the record from the flight data recorder does not support this.

The primary focus needs to be on the human factors that led the crew to respond so inappropriately to the situation. The report focuses on the "startle" factor, from which the crew apparently never recovered. Although I have been flying (off and on) since the 60s, with a commercial license with instrument rating I of course have only a small fraction of the training and experience of this crew. But even so I can look back to at least three times in my career when I stared uncomprehending at the instruments while a situation developed, without a clue what instruments I knew as well as the back of my hand were telling me. I can only speculate that this is what the flight crew was going through.

For those who are interested in learning more about the A330 systems--for example, description of the various control laws or side stick control priority system--there is a marvellous resource at:
http://www.smartcockpit.com/

This has comprehensive technical manuals on most models of commercial and business jets (and some turboprops) including all models of Airbus.
Ben
nickpiszczek
Excellent work their...nice to read something with substance.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Thanks Ben. Much more thorough than the MI article. It tells me a lot about state of mind when the FO was concerned about who was going to handle the landing hours into the future. When the computer handed off the controls he was unprepared to follow through. His mind was not engaged in flying the airplane nor had he been engaged for some time. He, in effect, forgot how to fly.
kerryperson
Kerry Person 2
GPS gives you information about position and movement relative to the earth, not relative to the airmass you are flying through. So, good for absolute altitude, but not so good for airspeed.
ZackStone
Zack Stone 1
Don,
Ground speed vs. airspeed (ie. TAS). A gps would only provide you with the g/s
preacher1
preacher1 1
Mark: Take a little time and watch the video on the link that Charles Collins just posted on top. It pretty much sums it up. Not anything new but it puts it all in perspective. It's about 12 minutes long.
preacher1
preacher1 1
They can be or many types of steam guages for that matter but on so many of today's airliners and for a good while back, the pitots are integrated into other systems in the AC. There are backups and ways around them and normally good systems but as with most backups, they are not necessarily automatic and you have to have your faculties in order to use them or go to them. In this case, with total panic and confusion among the crew, a million backups wouldn't have mattered. Down toward the end of this string, Brian and I were talking. This AC went into Alternate Law, but as far as I can tell, the crew failed to recognize it and didn't even go for the thrust. Takeoffs, landings, and in between flying are fairly simple things, but for talking purposes, but when Murphy walks in the door and makes a mess, being a Pilot means figuring out how to clean up his mess and get everybody down safely. The systems are pretty much in place but the cockpit is no place to panic.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I enjoyed that so much I saved it. It seems we agree on the computer, at least. He's probably right about the personal skills as well. Use i or loose it. I've probably done more marine navigation in the last 20 years than anything else, and with GPS, that's going away. I insist to myself that I keep my hand in in case of failure. It's hard to figure out where you are when you haven't been paying attention to where you've been and don't know exactly where you are. Catch up time can take a while. My younger brother used to have a saying about some in management that applies to the modern flight computers. If it could talk it might say "here, I got you into this mess, let's see you get yourself out."

The guy in the video is right. I haven't used my E6B in many moons.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Thanks. I'll get a peek at it.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Don't beat yourself up too bad. Glass cockpits and all the stuff to go with them have made us all complacent to a degree. Technolgy has made life a lot easier, BUT, as you say, you can't forget the old way and the sad part is that a lot of the younger folks will never learn them at all and you have situations like this develop. I don't remember the exact split, but these 2 guys had about 9000 hours between them. They were not novice by any means, but probably not near old enough to really know what to do with the backup stuff they had in front of them. Seems like it was 88 when we got our 757 and it was like daylight and dark coming out of a 707. I don't rember what was standard at that time but I insisted on a bank of steam guages as a backup, and I used them some. Had I not had them, probably in 5 years I would have been like you on the nav equipment, forgetting how to use it.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Getting old ain't what it's cracked up to be, for sure. It never occurred to me, but the newbe's have probably never seen an E6B in Aluminum. Heheh. Never had the pleasure of riding a beam across an ocean to keep from driving like a snake.

The cockpit voice transcript someone steered me to is the first I've seen it. I read the synopsis by Mechanics Illustrated, but that's someone else's editing. I noticed at the equator the FO was more interested in who was going to handle the landing. His mind may as well have been on his date for the evening. He certainly wasn't flying an aircraft. I've been diverted by conversation in the cockpit early in my flying and went into fright not knowing were I was along the route. It never happened again. I've not known exactly where I was by design of my then employer, but I learned my way around that one too.
20U60N4
STEVE EMERY 0
or a gyro, vsi, turn/ball,radalt...
sparkie624
sparkie624 6
I feel this is utter BS... But this is what they are saying... I think they are covering up for a crew botched job. There is more than one way the crew can tell there airspeed. Why can they just not admit that the crew error killed all of those people and air france pay up!
LBSPX
LBSPX 3
French pay up? Do me a lemon. They haven't got a pot to piss in the bad-tempered bankrupt, brassic fools.

WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
LOL! Guess you don't put Perrier in your Plymouth Gin.
LBSPX
LBSPX 4
Nah, London tap water will do just fine thanks. A damn sight cleaner as well.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
None better than Plymouth. Really doesn't need anything.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
I have 15 credit cards...more is less!
honzanl
honza nl -2
you are from the US ? where 49 states are de facto bancrupt ! Where Ben from the FED is printing dollar-signs on toilet-paper in order to let believe these are real valuable dollars ? where the total debt is higher than the EU? the only place on earth where the price of a car is not mentioned as a cost-price but as a pay-per-month loan sum ? where people can have 7 credit-cards, and really believe they have money then ?
nickpiszczek
I thought this was an aviation site...apparently not.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I ain't figured out where that come from either unless he's one of the Frenchmen and tired of Airbus and the French getting lambasted here.lol
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
Look at LBSPX comment above.
Pileits
Pileits 2
Sparkie you totally barking at the moon about this. It was NOT the crews fault. The fault I think ought to be on Airbus for poorly engineered instrument software as well as Thales the pitot manufacture.
The crew were overwhelmed with BAD/confusing/conflicting information.

Save your breath flaming me on this I've got thousands of hours in Airbus aircraft and I'll take a Boeing any day of the week over poorly engineered Airbus.
honzanl
honza nl 1
Ha ha ha ! you know it better than researchers, never having seen the complete report...
The captain was aware there was a stall, so they were not overwhelmed with bad/confusing information...
The flying co-pilot was told and could see on his instruments he was stalling, yet didn't do anything about, probably as he expected it never to be able to stall
The captain acted insecure towards him, although he was aware of the stall; so bad CRM it surely was
It simply was a matter of a perfectly recoverable plane, with a crew that was so surpised by what happened that they forgot to fly the plane
Happily for Pileits Boeings never crash....(UA flight 585 and USAir flight 427 were indeed perfectly engineered Boeings !)
preacher1
preacher1 2
Maybe you need to read the report and some of the earlier ones and you will see the Captain didn't know what in hell was going on until he came back into the cockpit and things were already underway by that time. In looking at the FA profiles, I see a student talking up against an ATP that could just possibly have a little seat time in the 2 Aircraft and know what in sam hill he's talking about rather than a samart aleck popping off. It is attitudes such as yours that really make CRM hard at times.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Sad part is though P, you are 100% correct. They were at the controls and the way the system works overseas is that there can be both civil & CRIMINAL liability. Since the crew is dead and can't defend themselves, you can bet your ass that AF, Thales, Airbus and the whole bunch of mfg's are breathing a big sigh of relief right now. I haven't read this whole report yet, but enough to see where it's headed. Dead Men tell no tales.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Are the laws that different? If the pilots were found at fault, isn't Air Chance still liable as they were employees?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Politics at it's finest!
preacher1
preacher1 1
yeah, buddy
Derg
Roland Dent 1
And of course if AB do happen to change the controls to a yoke it would prove that THEY were at fault.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I doubt you'll see that but you may see an override or lock come out subtely
nickpiszczek
After reading more now I have become highly aware that this is typically a French response. I have now decided that I am angry. This aircraft was clearly recoverable and horribly poor pilot technique is to blame,Period. Any attempt by Air France and french aviation authorities to blame firstly an erroneous system error caused by exterior mechanical fouling and then aggravated pilot response is absurd. I will remind all that you are dealing with a company and government that not only went after Continental airlines for criminal liability in response to Concorde's fatal FOD encounter they specifically named and found guilty not only Continental airlines but a Continental mechanic who they claimed was personally liable and subsequently handed a suspended probationary sentence in French courts. Air France had been warned time and time again that unsatisfactory tire maintenance and improper pressurization techniques of Concorde's mains could have a dramatic consequences. This is who you deal with in the international scope...But hey as long as it works for the French, Com se com sa.
gorsek
wayne gorsek 2
I have three jet type ratings including two single pilot, two from CAE and one from Flight Safety, both have woefully inadequate stall and upset recovery training just as the airlines do. The plane could have been saved by flying pitch and power. Further a serious lack of advanced upset and stall recovery training is the #1 cause of jet crashes. It can take 12,000 feet to recover from a stall in the FL 300 - 450 range if done correctly, if not done corretly everyone dies. Stalling a jet in the FLs is not like stalling a Cessna 172 at 8,000 feet, stall is violent and severe. Also failing to use full ailerons and staying off the rudder to roll upright is another common mistake, improper use of rudders in jets will kill you quickly. First push to unload the stall, be patient to recover airspeed and AOA, adjust power and use full ailerons to roll upright. When you recover be very patient and gradual or you will enter secondary stalls or rip the wings/tail off.
Wayne Gorsek
Founder, Chairman & CEO
www.drvita.com
Guts
Steve Gutzmer 2
Again don't be fooled by this accident investigation that puts most the blame on the crew, the press picks up on that and sensationalized the events of how could they let this happen. Lesser inexperienced pilot experts fall into this armchair quarterback position as well. It's important to consider what this crew was presented with and the obvious limitations of the airbus. Dead crew are always the easiest to blame and are the preferred targets of liability deflection from manufactures. You guys read the report, put your self in the seat then decide on what to comment on, don't forget that you've been up late, jet lagged and fatiqued.
mahmoodflt
i am sorry for the lost those people on board and for thier families
whip5209
Ken McIntyre 2
Any A300 pilots on the board? I have a question. When the aircraft stalled, the pitch was +16.5 and later the sink rate was around 11,000 fpm. Would it have been even possible to recover?
KW10001
Kylan Walters 2
Just a curious question, but I wonder if the FBW system on an airbus aircraft lets you recover from a stall as easily as it is in a non FBW airplane. It really turns my stomach to think that the pilots may have been doing everything correctly to recover, but the computers themselves were interfering. I also wonder why AFLOOR protection didn't work on the airplane. Technically, it should be impossible to stall an Airbus if the computers are in control, but obviously something wasn't functioning right.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Kylan,
alpha floor and stall protection were disabled when the autopilot disconnected and flight control went from normal to alternate law.
nickpiszczek
While I am not completely up to speed with the accident report...This sounds to me like the classic "who has the airplane"?
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Dudeman,

I've heard this issue of averaging the control stick inputs before, but it doesn't appear anywhere in the report. According to the report, each pilot can take control, which the other pilot can then override. In fact, the report documents that at 2H 11M 37S the PNF "took over priority without any callout and continued to handle the aeroplane. The PF almost immediately took back priority without any callout and continued piloting."
I recall discussion of averaging conflicting control inputs relating the the EgyptAir crash off the East Coast that was attributed to suicide by the pilot, and perhaps in earlier discussions of F 447, but again it's not mentioned in the report.
A closely related issue, which clearly DID contribute to the outcome, is that the side stick motions aren't synchronized; so that while the PF was holding the side stick all the way back, the other stick didn't move, and so the other pilots weren't aware that the stick was being held all the way back.
whip5209
Ken McIntyre 1
Thank you Dudeman, but you misunderstood my basic question. If the crew had cooperated, could the aircraft even be recovered from such a horrible flight attitude? Would the software not allow a recovery? Would the airframe be compromised? Would the flight controls even be operable? May sound like dumb questions, but I'm curious.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Seems to me I remember something in that report or one of the earlier releases about the computer taking the sum of the joystick input and that right and left seat were opposing each other, hence 0 input or close to it. I am not typed in an AB of any type and don't plan to be, BUT, in talking with some friends that are, it ought to be impossible to do about anything bad to one. At least that is the thought. Problem is, that same system will lock out a pilot if you try and exceed the flight envelope. That bit of a margin just may be what you need sometime to pull your butt out of a crack and/or recover from an upset. In those times, you don't have time to change laws and figure out what you have and don't have. There ain't a plane built, including AB, that doesn't have a safety margin built into that envelope to where it can't be exceeded for a few seconds but AB is the only one that locks out the Pilot.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
That is exactly what happened.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Ben: It may not be in this one and I am not AB typed, but there was, in an earlier report, much discussion about those joystcks being independent, with no override, and as it is FBW, the computer did have to average the input. That said, maybe we can get an AB typed on here to clear it up. I was the one Dudeman quoted and I would like to know for sure myself. Wayne
preacher1
preacher1 1
Ken: I think the AC could have been recovered up to a point, that point being where they started trying. It would take 10-12 grand to do it and then being careful, so it would really depend on altitude. They were in Alternate Law so the system would not have locked them out. That being said, at that point would be when those basic flying skills would really come into play.
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 1
My knees get a bit weak every time I board one of those things.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Preacher1,
OK, I think I've got the straight dope on this. If you search for "STL 472.755/92", you should find a 210 page "A330 Flight deck and systems briefing for pilots". Pretty fascinating stuff. Anyway, the flight control priority logic is described on page 5.39. In brief, in normal operation, the Captain and F/O inputs are "algebraically summed", which would have the same effect as averaging them. However, each pilot also has a take-over button on his sidestick, which allows him to take full control. Neither side has priority--"Last pilot who depressed and holds take-over button has priority ; other pilot’s inputs ignored." This results in a very conspicuous annunciation on the panel in front of both pilots, telling them which position currently has authority.
So this is apparently what was going on during the flight--the PF and PNF were alternately pushing their take-over buttons, transferring control from one stick to the other and back again.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Thanks for clearing that up. Like I said, I'm not typed in one so didn't kno. A guy on here the other day(whom I do'nt know) said he was an AB captain and that there was no overide button. Sounded strange and I just hadn't had the time yet to get into it. That makes more sense. I had heard that averaging business before and I guess that's where it came from. Tks
preacher1
preacher1 1
Problem is, there are so many getting out there now, it don't matter whether pilot or pax, you will draw one every now and then and the airlines don't care.They are just looking at $.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Wayne,

It seems clear from the report that there were no "violent and severe" changes in attitude. In fact, the Captain had to be summoned back to the cockpit; presumably, he would have come back of his own accord had any major deviations occurred. Yet the angle of attack was 35 DEG to 40 DEG for much of the incident. Is there some condition other than a stall that could result in a 40 DEG angle of attack without a stall?
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Ken,
I'm not an A300 pilot, but it's pretty clear from the report that the plane was recoverable. At one point (around 2H 12M 17S), the PF "made pitch-down inputs. In the following moments, the angle of attack decreased, the speeds became valid again."
In one of the great ironies of this tragic situation, this caused the stall warning, which is supressed at low airspeeds to avoid stall warnings during takeoff, to activate again. As a result the PF assumed this was the wrong action, went back to full pitch-up, and held it there all the way to the water.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well said, Steve
craigdbell
Craig Bell 3
Any pilot who has ever lost the verizon or is flying over unpopulated areas at night has felt the panic of wondering what his attitude was. I have a 1 inch nut hanging by a string below my compass. If it's on the windscreen or on the overhead, I'm in trouble.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 9
I lost Verizon years ago because of their crappy attitude

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 2
If you'd look at his profile, you'd see he has one. Everybody likes a backup. Different strokes for different folks.LOL
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
What, you don't want to hang your nut on a compass???
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
AB now installing free "nut on a compass" with each new plane. :-)
mariofer
mariofer 2
This is the price we pay for so called "innovation" I guess. Don't worry about teaching the ole stick and rudder skills to pilots; a bunch of computers will work this out for you!! until the computers become blind and dumb because a frozen pitot tube that is. But oh crap, it is FBW and the computer just went into degraded mode(read dumb. Remember, it cant tell airspeed from a dishwasher)so even with the best stick and rudder skills, the pilot can't feel a thing on the hand controls on what the plane is doing. Well, I guess this goes along the same lines as A320s not being able to dump fuel, why would we need to do that? Our planes are infallible and invincible. G-d help us all who need to get into these video game machines for a living.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
If I recall NASA went through this in the beginning. The pilots refused to fly in the capsules if there were no manual over rides. They certainly came in handy one ce or twice.
sandylns
Brian Lager 2
This was a classic F/U by the two co pilots. It's got nothing to do with FBW or computer malfunctions. The A330 is a good aircraft. Of the 887 built to date only 6 have been total hull losses.
Compare that to the 747. A total of 1435 have been built with 49 hull losses. The A320 another FBW has had 23 hull losses for the 5166 built. Compare that to the 737 which has a total of 7147 built for 159 hull losses.
FBW is here to stay as is non fuel dumping aircraft.
Pitot problems are not confined to Airbus. Check out the Flt Safety foundation and do some research. You will be surprised how many times it has figured in hull losses. There is no substitute for good airmanship. Crews constantly go through the simulator and ALL scenarios are practiced, including complete loss of pitot information.
As for your contention that FBW is a video game, think again. Even with a complete loss of power, there is still a set of primary instruments to guide a pilot. You just have to believe in them.
sandylns
Brian Lager 1
I meant this aircraft has a set of secondary instruments. An analog ASI, An altimeter and an Attitude indicator. Plus a DDRMI. Why the crew chose to ingnore them is a mystery. All the other systems were functioning normally except for the pitot's.

[This poster has been suspended.]

sandylns
Brian Lager 1
Questionable! Being an AME licensed on 747,767, A320, CL65, DC8, DC9, L1011 and MD 11 plus earlier manufacturers as varied as Handley Page, Avro, Vickers, Supermarine and others during my 75 years, I would hesitate to say that one manufacturer is better than another. All have their strengths and faults. Some make life easier on the flight line, some are just dogs. Boeing is very good at what it does. Airbus is a bit different. But both companies make good airplanes.
arkimike
Titanic was invincible too and look where that wound up!
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 1
Absolutely!
zimmerfly
zimmerfly 1
B737s normally don't have fuel dump either.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Most cases, up to a 757 don't have them and although most have them, it is technically an option above there. There was a weight ratio in use for years by the FAA and then it switched from a straight % ratio to factoring in one engine performance on climbout. The fuel dump itself is tied to one engine performance rather than heavy landing weight, although that is a part of the formula. It is kinda complicated and I forget the FAA part#, but go to google and type in AIRCRAFT FUEL DUMP. There are several, but I think Wiki has a pretty detailed explanation
TWA55
Should read react correctly.
lkcalwood
Tom Smith 1
The detailed account I read said one pilot was pulling back, the other pushing forward on the controls. Net effect on an Airbus electronic control = 0. I hope they corrected this, as I will fly Airbus,.... but I don't like to.
theschoolofchuck
I'm no pilot, but I think this accident highlights the importance of how to appropriately "ration out" data and information to the flight crew. Let's not forget about 2 Boeing 757's that crashed under extremely similar conditions.
andriy17
night, ifr, airplane is not acting properly......we will never know what exactly brought down this bird. RIP to all of those people who lost their lives, we will always remember you!
notaperfectpilot
I think that there are four words that sum up the whole root cause of the chain of events that led up to the accident and that is: lack of situational awareness. I think that if you were to dig real deep, you would still come back to one statement: the crew didn't know exactly what was going on. Don't believe me? Go look at the transcripts and it is quite obvious!
BismarckRamalho
Ok, if one minute the airplane was at 900km/h, why just not keep manetes on same position? You can't read instruments but how about gravity, can't pilots feel that plane was going up instead of down? Airbus will not change cabin instruments on 330s? Thought Air France pilots were among the best, but now....
amahran
amahran 1
I thought that conclusion was obvious just by listening to the CVR....
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 1
First thing you do in any emergency is FLY THE AIRPLANE. 3 degrees nose up on the standby horizon or whatever the requirement is for that aircraft type and set cruise thrust. Then one guy analyzes while the other FLIES THE AIRPLANE.
mm2young
mm2young 1
The French, BEA and the gov't., got what it wanted: pilot error by the dead pilots.
I'm not a pilot, but reading the interim and last official report suggests to me that it was not only pilot error, it was computer error, Alternate Law or not.
The plane was going in and out of stall, confusing the relatively untrained cockpit crew: one man pulling the nose up, the other pulling the nose down, each cancelling the other out. The programming was blindly doing it's flawed job.
Flight training has turned a bit to computer training, leaving out realistic anti-stall training. The causes of the disaster were, in my inexperienced mind, computer malfunction and incomplete flight training -- faults of Airbus and gov't. overseers (if any!).
jvandoren
Did anyone anywhere mention Pitot Heat and Alternate Static? Both are pretty basic and pilot-controlled, right?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
"failed to react swiftly". Understatement?
janjacq
janjacq 1
De toutes façons les boîtes noires ayant dévoilées leurs réponses aux différentes questions, il sera très difficile voire impossible de conn'aître exactement ce qui c'est passé dans le fond de cet évènement tragique !
Dans la forme on peut broder sur un scénario qui reste toutefois très ambigü...
... ordinateur défaillant, sondes picot qui gèlent (c'est pas la première fois et celà se produit chaque jour sur des dizaines d'appareils) celà n'empêche pas un fonctionnement correct !
Il y à 3 ans que cet avion à chuté entrainant ses passagers et ses membres d'équipage vers la mort ! Par plus de 4000 mètres de fond des corps ont été remontés, c'est une prouesse que devait bien Air-France aux familles de ces victimes. C'est dur cet accident...
20U60N4
STEVE EMERY 1
Fly long enuff, and you'll encounter something not in the training manuals. The Capt. and Co's made a series of bad decisions that flew a flawed, but flyable, aircraft into the water. Blame whomever else you want, the buck stops on the flight deck.
dmaccarter
dmaccarter 1
BEA final report, in English, in PDF.

Everything you or anyone will ever know of want to know about this is here:

http://media.webcastor.fr/vod/bea/pdf/f-cp090601.en.pdf

Confusion in the cockpit. Complete absence of situational awareness. Maybe a lack of experience, but everyone seems to agree it was a recoverable situation up until the last moments. Too bad!






dcfechter
David Fechter 1
I believe the commuter crash in Buffalo was caused by the pilots making the same mistake, trying to climb when they should be doing the opposite!
devsfan
ken young 1
This boils down to the design of the aircraft. The mfgr insists the computer is smarter than the human operating the craft. The humans are trained to defer to the electronics.
Furthermore. The Captain of the aircraft should have put his foot down and ORDERED control of the aircraft because as it appears in the transcript it was he and only he who realized the plane was in a stall.
I am not a fan of Airbus fly by wire design where aircraft have no yoke. The pilots are basically sitting there only to allow the plane's computers to operate the aircraft.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Too bad we weren't on that plane. We could have had a Walter Mitty day.
Gurica
Gurica 1
Just one question: why the pilots did´t make a 30 degrres deviation either right or left in order to avoid that storm?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, as I have said a few times, this thing will be armchaired and talked to death for a good while to come, BUT, while putting the blame on the pilots, that gets CRIMINAL liability off Air France management and the manufacturers. That said, it appears that there was enough blame here to go around to everybody. You had an experienced flight crew that was totally startled/overwhelmed to the bells&whistles that the Aircraft started putting out, caused by a bad vendor part that they knew was bad but hadn't replaced yet. IMHO
theschoolofchuck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQnZMf7-Pbk
I'm no pilot, but this just about sums it up.
jaypek
Phil Knox 1
At 02:10:55...another of the pitot tubes started working again..."The cockpit's avionics are now all functioning normally. The flight crew has all the information that they need to fly safely, and all the systems are fully functional. The problems that occur from this point forward are entirely due to human error.

Read more: Air France 447 Flight-Data Recorder Transcript - What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447 - Popular Mechanics
"...my question is this...given that the pitot tubes were giving reliable info at this point in the flight...why didn't the flight crew switch the auto-pilot back on?
PilotSwede
Funny how posts like this always bring out the "know it alls".
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
One difference:
AF447 took off, RMS Titannic didn't.
One similarity:
LZ Benthic zone
jaypek
Phil Knox 1
Another thought...why didn't cockpit protocol dictate that the more senior F/O (Robert) take command/control of the aircraft in the absence of the senior pilot? He seems to have been more aware of the situation!
jaypek
Phil Knox 1
At 02:10:55...another of the pitot tubes started working again..."The cockpit's avionics are now all functioning normally. The flight crew has all the information that they need to fly safely, and all the systems are fully functional. The problems that occur from this point forward are entirely due to human error.

Read more: Air France 447 Flight-Data Recorder Transcript - What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447 - Popular Mechanics
"...my question is this...given that the pitot tubes were giving reliable info at this point in the flight...why didn't the flight crew switch the auto-pilot back on?eat
smoki
smoki 1
A lengthy investigation and report could have been summed up in a relatively short paragraph. The crew failed to recognize the most basic aerodynamic phenomenon since fixed wing flying machines were invented, i.e. stall of the main lifting airfoil, the wing. Training of AF crews apparently was lacking severely in basic aero and way over done on believing all those bells and whistles as the be all end all for handling the machine. Seat of the pants flying and judgement is still applicable no matter how many computers there are to supposedly "help" the pilot.

There's a huge difference between mach buffet when approaching transonic speed for "conventional" machines of which the A330 is one, and airframe buffet associated with wing stall. Mach buffet is essentially non-discernible on today's swept wing jet transports. Mach tuck upset is a different story. Fortunately for most, like the A330, airframe buffet associated with wing stall is still very discernible.

When the pitot tube was blocked the airspeed indicator essentially became an altimeter so the speed went off the chart. The autopilot disconnected as advertised with an ADC input of increasing speed. The pilot in command apparently believed the high speed indication which can occur obviously in a region of turbulent and sudden headwind gusts. So he pulled up the nose to climb and reduce the speed while presumably reducing power, all of which was a perfect setup in the high altitude thin atmosphere environment for what followed: stall, deep stall, a high altitude upset as it's often called, with accompanying airframe buffet and an ensuing sink rate approaching 10,000fpm as the nose was held high (poor judgement). Holding the nose high obviously was doing nothing to reduce the high ROD nor the faulty high speed indication with rapidly decreasing altitude, nor the clue of aerodynamic stall resulting in continuous airframe buffet. Thus the classic last words were heard on this like so many other CVRs in the final seconds: "Ah shit, we're gonna crash."

It was all totally avoidable especially since the A330 had a history of pitot tubes icing up in cruise which begs the question: What's up with the pitot heat on that machine? Yeah, it's too easy to blame dead guys but what else can you do when the facts speak loudly that they probably had their heads up and locked on this one - maybe because they like so many others these days were digital age slaves who believe that if it comes out of a computer, it can't be wrong!
wgbjr
Bill Buchanan 1
Popular Science or Mechanics did have a really good article on this that detailed the settings and voice recorder. According to their report, the pilot continued trying to climb during the stall. The pilot and copilot's sticks work independently from each other if my memory serves me correctly.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Absolutely!
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Paul,
The FDR clearly shows airspeed indications going down, not up, from aabout 275 knots to about 60 knots (e.g., page 22 of the final report). This would seem to rule out a concern about overspeed as an explanation for the PF to make "abrupt and excessive"nose-up control inputs.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
What's a manete?
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Tom,

There has been much speculation that this was a factor in the accident, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It is true that by default the flight computers average the position of the two side sticks. But either pilot can take control by pushing a red button on his side stick, and it appears that the plane was flown by the pilot in the right seat for the vast majority of the time in this mode. According to the cockpit voice recorder, at 2H 11M 37.5S the pilot in the left seat says "controls to the left" and presumably takes control, but according to the final report the pilot in the right seat immediately takes control back.
When there is movement of both sticks, the system annunciates "dual input". According to the CVR transcript, the FIRST time this happened was shortly before the plane passed through 10,000 ft., when it was past any possibility of recover. As such, this could not have affected the outcome.
preacher1
preacher1 1
BTW, just so you'll know, new owners came in today and decided they didn't need my position anymore; gave a nice going away present and all was amicable, so I am officially retired now.LOL. for a bit. I'll probably find something to stay busy with for awhile.lol
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Plenty here who could have saved the day! Lol
theschoolofchuck
I'm not a pilot either and I agree with you. From what I've read, the cockpit instruments and data presentation to the flight crew were lacking. Sure, the crew had several safe ways out of this situation, but they were unable make those decisions based on the training AND instrument readouts at the time. A flight in pitch darkness over the ocean must have not only reliable instruments, but it also must present the current flight data and parameters to the crew in a manner that allows them to make the appropriate decisions. This accident was a combination of engineering mistakes(Airbus), flight crew training(Air France), and pilot error(the lessor factor in my opinion). Airbus makes great airplanes and 99.999999% of the time the pilot/plane interface performs fabulous, but this unique case unfortunately cost over 200 lives.
zimmerfly
zimmerfly 1
Google Translate may help

Anyway the black boxes have unveiled their answers to various questions, it will be very difficult or impossible to know exactly what is spent in getting to the bottom of this tragic event!
In the form we can embroider on a scenario that remains very ambiguous ...
... failed computer, pitot probes that freeze (this is not the first time and this happens every day on dozens of devices) this does not work properly!
It has been 3 years since the plane fell causing the death of its passengers and crew! Bodies have been raised from more than 4000 meters deep, it is a feat that was ??? Air France to families of these victims. It's hard this accident ...
preacher1
preacher1 1
In a way the FBW system would need to be looked at as independent of all the other crap. Most folks are not comfortable with the joystick, because unless they are recent
ex military fighter pilots, it's brand new to them, all other AC having stick/yoke, GA or big iron.The Boeing 777 is all FBW but has the stick as does the 787.I think the one thing you hit on here is the training. As we progress, and new pilots come into the system, as technolgy has sure made life easier in the front end, it has also led to complacency or at least a false sense of security and when something like this comes along, there is no training to fall back on and the end result is what we see here, As to why the Captain did not exercise his authority, I do not know. I seem to think from an earlier report that he did, but it was too late. Only he could answer that and obviously he can't. There are still many good pilots out there with good basic skills but as we retire, we'll be left with those like we are talking about here. As I said early on, this thing will be armchaired to death now for a good while and we can all surmise as to what did happen but will never know for sure.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I don't recall hearing anything about it, one way or other. Heat should have been on. I would think it would be a checklist item on about anything but not sure. That said, I believe that(pitot heat not turned on) was at the cause, or at least a big part of the cause, of that Air Florida 737 crash up in DC years back
preacher1
preacher1 1
No doubt there was total confusion, but as another post and one of mine says, there was a total loss of situational awareness by the crew. Had that not happened and there been some decent cockpit communication, they might not have cancelled out each others inputs and got the nose down and recovered from the stall. Had they recovered from the stall, the bells and whistles may have settled down. Who knows? Lot's of if's.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Fred: you are exactly right but as in this column and comments on earlier reports, the basic stick/rudder skills are no longer being taught or at least emphasized as being needful and we are getting cockpits full of button pushers. I hate to categorize all in an age group as inept or lacking in skills as there will always be the exception, but the median pilot age out there now is getting younger. Reckon safety and automated features can keep up with lack of basic skills, knowing things like you are talking about here without have to go to a checklist first? I came out of a 707 into a 757 and it was like daylight&dark.After about 20years in the 57 and retiring, a checkride in a new 767 was the same experience. The Automation is getting there, but every now and then, stuff will break.
jaypek
Phil Knox 1
They also turned on the engine and wing de-icing equipment...why didn't they have the warming equipment for the pitot tubes also activated?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Amen to that. Mr. Murphy can complicate anything.
preacher1
preacher1 1
which 2 757's?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
You obviously could read the english written post, how about posting in English???
theschoolofchuck
One was an Aeroperu and the other was a Berginair. The pitot tubes were covered with tape I believe in both cases and the flights were over water at night. When all the error messages and warnings came on both crews failed got confused.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgenair_Flight_301
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroper%C3%BA_Flight_603
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I think I remember the one is south america being covered static ports (taped up when cleaning exterior).
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
The taped up one was the one coming out of the Dominican Republic.
preacher1
preacher1 1
According to the reports on the links above, ports were covered on both of them for whatever reason. Both were in 1996 and I have slept since then, but as I was flying a 57 at the time, I remember paying particular attention to these.My feeling now is as it was then, Pilot error and lack of CRM in the cockpit(3 heads are better than one and the Captain is not God all the time)is what caused the BirgenAir IMHO.He should have aborted takeoff. As far as the other, those poor guys never had a chance. Dark, over water, and no visual references, and all intrumentation going kablooey. It wasn't that they were overwhelmed with info as the AF447 crew was, they just had nothing reliable at all. In daylight or with any kind of visual reference they could have probably have gotten it down, OR, if that 707 had gotten to them in time. You can't fault the effort by all involved here.
theschoolofchuck
Three pitot-static system failures(ice, tape, etc.). Three experienced flight crews, three tidal waves of warnings, buzzers, error messages, and autopilot disconnects. Three misinterpretations of the instruments. Three crashes into the sea at night.
preacher1
preacher1 1
To all this I will add, IMHO, that Thales was the pitot tube mfg and it was already know that they had a bunch of bad tubes out there and they had been identified. Forget the tail# but AF447 was on the list to have them replaced. This is one reason everybody is trying so hard to put the blame on the pilots and keep the crimnial and liability off them.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Apparently so was the other one according to the link above, at least some static ports:
"Later investigation into the accident revealed that duct tape was accidentally left over some or all of the static ports (on the underside of the fuselage) after the aircraft was cleaned, eventually leading to the crash. Employee Eleuterio Chacaliaza left the tape on by mistake"
preacher1
preacher1 1
Here's the quote on the DR one from the link:
"Investigations later showed that the plane was actually travelling at 220 knots at the time. The investigation concluded that one of three pitot tubes, used to measure airspeed, was blocked. No tubes were recovered so investigators were unable to determine for certain what caused the blockage."
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Truth is Wayne if they had a linked yoke it would have been immediately apparent that something human was amiss. The AB stick control is just not condusive to emergency inputs with a PIC and his minder. I mean is why not just be perfectly tansparent. It is a toy control system for people who do not exist in real life.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Right on Wayne.
preacher1
preacher1 1
On 447 you are probably correct. From an earlier report, it appears that one of the pilots recognized the stall and was trying to nose down but the other joystick was cancelling out his actions. Chances are, if he could've gotten nose down, and the plane back under some kind of contraol, that a lot of the crap that was coming at them would have went away, but we'll never know.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
One thing we all know, no matter how good a pilot you are, is that without visual clues or some working instrumentation (and the knowledge to use it) you ain't gonna make it by the seat of the pants.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
So on the walk around check this was missed by the crew?
Derg
Roland Dent 1
That's a diplomatic reply. AB stsrted to moan about "basic flying skills" in other words the pilots were incompetent. This put the Sh** up the AF guys and not long after at least one scheduled service chickened out about 500 miles into the trip (weather on the radar) and went back to A America. They neither trusted the pitot instruments and or/with the whole machine. AF had TOLD AB long before this accident about conflicting instrument and AB had doen sweet fr*** all about it. And don't forget this service was right on the limit for fuel. The guys wanted to make it to Paris with a minimum of a detour.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, below here is an ATP instructor, Jeff Wilson, and he makes some pointed comments about the required training and what has already been hashed and rehashed earlier but he really brings it down to home. From where he speaks, it might not have mattered what brand the plane was.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Phil,
According to the Flight Crew Operating Manual, pitot heat is automatic when either engine is running or the plane is in flight. According to the report, under very unusual conditions the quantity of ice crystals entering the pitot tube can exceed the de-icing capacity of the heating element.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
The ability to feel the plane going up or down. Only the French have it. :-)
preacher1
preacher1 1
that looks like something you might try & write after too much Plymouth.LOL
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Whayne, I think that big culprit was heat to some sensors that gave them faulty power readings. Took off with way less than t/o power. Never firewalled throttles.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Congrats on the retirement. I have been asked when I am planning on leaving--hint, hint--they can replace me for half the money. I knew after the transition period they would start looking at dollars. Is all amicable here too. Life is goood!!!
preacher1
preacher1 1
me too.lol
preacher1
preacher1 1
Take a little time and watch the video on the link that Charles Collins just posted on top. It pretty much sums it up. Not anything new but it puts it all in perspective. It's about 12 minutes long.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Who did the PIC leave in command when he left the cockpit? Was this a case of too many cooks in the kitchen with no chef?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
According to the MI article the pitot heat was turned on at the begining of the incident. According to that article they got their AS indicator back on line
preacher1
preacher1 1
Phil: another thing that may be buried in there but not emphasized about the pitots: It is saying that the tube iced up, BUT, all were Thales tubes that had been recalled for known problems, AND 447 had these tubes and was on the list to have theirs replaced. I wonder if it did actually ice up or just go funky.
jaypek
Phil Knox 1
10-4...got it!
preacher1
preacher1 1
Yeah, I have slept since then but I remember they got off in a heckuva snowstorm and they started stalling on climbout and then down in the Potomac.He mentioned Pitot heat up above here and that just came to mind. I remembered something in there about it but wasn't sure.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Even Plymouth can't get me there.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Seem to me he left the right seat guy as PF and he was junior in hours and seniority. That was out of an earlier report. I don't know if it's in here or not(it may be in the cvr). I think that is why the left seat tried to jump in but he never called for contol, I don't think, and with the joysticks not connected, one literally didn't know what the other was trying to do.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Interesting. So when the new math don't work you gotta go back to the old math but the young don't know the old math! Lol
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
After reading the Recorded transcript, I didn't find a reference to command transfer while the PIC was off the flight deck and napping. Maybe when 3 people are involved an assignment of command is needed so there is no doubt. I'm second guessing and don't mean to. I don't know if a clear chain of command would have helped or not, but it's something to think about
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
We're going down Larry, we're going down...
preacher1
preacher1 1
And they did

[This poster has been suspended.]

THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
U said it right!!!
235kk2
Jeff Wilson 1
ummm...why did they fly though that weather? flying skills wouldn't have had to be challenged..wasn't the crew a cruise crew? why did captain go to rest knowing the convergent zone was active with large cells? power & pitch aren't trained at high altitudes in the sim session.. all this add up to control problems when pitot tubes ice up!
aletanevich
sera que la automatizacion y confiar demiasiado en la computadores de gestion de vuelo hizo que olvidemos volar por instinto
preacher1
preacher1 1
Seems to me from an earlier report that the biggest cell was being masked by the fisrt one which didn't look like much and then they were in it before they knew it. I think part of that is just conjecture though. It looks like the radar would have picked it all up. The only ones that know for sure are very dead.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
English!!!
preacher1
preacher1 1
I googled that a day or 2 ago but can't remeber what it said.
235kk2
Jeff Wilson 1
attenuation is a learned skill set..preflight planning is a requirement for the captain..fuel planning is done by dispatch without the deviation planning..pressing through can cause power & pitch problems..making schedule is paramount! what can you expect?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Wayne, Google the Mechanics Illustrated article that details the voice recorder for 447. Lots of interesting first hand data there. Radar had to be adjusted.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Somewhere below here is another comment about current day pilot training. As you say, it is a learned thing and you gain experience as you go. Whole bunch of button pushers out there right now and will be more as us seniors retire
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
You know, it's an English site, and they could obviously read it, but can't post a reply in English. Flightaware needs to filter that...
235kk2
Jeff Wilson 1
as a instructor providing training in both classroom & simulators I see the gaps in what is required training from that which requires experience & judgement. the technology in the cockpit isn't fully understood and interpreted from the training required in most curriculums. i.e.: how many times have you trained high altitude flying without valid airspeed and turbulence while all systems are shutting down. my sims can't even duplicated fairly this scenario..wish it could be trained! that's why we need to fly around that weather!
preacher1
preacher1 1
I know what you mean. You really just pray that it don't happen. I always went around wx if possible. I remember though as a pax on DAL one night coming back from NC, we stopped at Memphis. Captain came back and said a bus was coming for those that didn't want to fly bad wx to LIT. Line stretched fom STL to IAD topping at 65000. Back to that almighty schedule, he said the plane was going to LIT, whether we were on it or not.I was young and bullettproof and stayed on it. Wished I'd have rode the bus. It took us about 10 minutes to punch thru it but I have remembered that 10 minutes all my life and that was back in 79.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
In '79 Wayne that Captain was earning well over $100k per year, and for that sort of money that 'plane was damn well going to get where it was scheduled to be come hell or high water.
SWEATINTHSWAMP
@preacher1, I must have been flying on Braniff that same night lol! Anyway, my question to you is could the severe weather have been a factor in being unable to respond to a stall?

IOW, did severe thunderstorms complicate the situation if your bouncing up and down and sideways due to weather? I have read a lot of conflicting information as to whether or not they actually were in severe weather too.
235kk2
Jeff Wilson 1
It's unfortunate that this behavior is more prevalant than it should be. sometimes it's the basics that need to be trained! JUDGEMENT & DECISION making! We don't train radar ops either..we assume everyone is a expert at this discipline..equipment is changing and proper techniques need to be understood.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well that whole mess came out of Texas and West. I don't know where you were but I figure a bunch of folks got caught in that.
As far as AF447, there is a comment pretty close to the top here that kinda sums up the whole thing. The Pilots lost situational awareness.Wx played a part in it, just how much we don't know and many other things complicated it, but they got overwhelmed because they literally lost track of where they were at and what they were doing
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I don't know anything about an airliner, except what a coach seat feels like, but most ga aircraft I have flown will fly out of a stall if trim is nuetral and you just let go. Of course , that only works at altitude.FBW is probably different deal.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You're pretty close. Some are a little different, but a stall is caused by a lack of speed/lift and if you head anything down, speed will increase, and you should recover. Every situation is a little bit different but you are more than right about one thing though, my friend.That only works at altitude. Other than not having direct control, I don't think the FBW would make that much difference if it was working properly.
Akaderwood
Akaderwood 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Probe finds fatal Air France crash caused by pilot error

Pilot error and faulty readings led to the crash that killed 228 people on an Air France flight from Brazil to Paris in 2009, France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis concluded on Thursday.

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2012/07/report-concludes-air-france-crash-caused-by-pilot-error/797131/1
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Has Air France Flight 447 mystery finally been solved?

More than three years after Air France Flight 447 plunged into the southern Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard, authorities are preparing to release their final report on the fatal crash.

France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said the data indicated that the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed because the aircraft's speed sensors gave invalid readings, but there are other theories on why the plane went down.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/04/world/europe/air-france-flight-447-explainer/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
preacher1
preacher1 0
And once again, no real clear cause. Several factors and they will all be armchaired to death again in this forum and others but the fact remains that all souls on board are dead and hopefully some of the things brought forth have been or will be change to prevent a recurrence.
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 0
Saw a Nova special on this accident that was done prior to the boxes being recovered. One thing that absolutely stunned me about that damned over-engineered Airbus is that the autothrust reduced power but the throttles did not move!! What damned fool engineer came up with that? What bloody idiot approved it? It's insane! With the information overload they were getting from all the fault readings, it was so easy for them to miss glancing at the engine gauges. I'd like to take a bat to the guy who came up with that.
whozee
whozee 2
Why do airpilots trust on only one height and speed sensor? Do they not have a GPS heigt and speed as sensor? In maritime shipping you ALWAYS have to use all means of navigation
Derg
Roland Dent 2
Fair question. Ships need 2 dimension co-ordinates and are slow movers. The NASA satt system was not designed to be accurate with altitudes. I know that the Russian satt system is four times more accurate than the one in the West but I am not sure on height. But it is true enough once an a/c is outside the radar envelope it is a lone machine without outside inputs. Small aircraft use the GPS system at lower altitudes upto 10k feet. The bigger commercial flights have sophisticated systems that really make the GPS look like a toy.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
Altitude was not an issue. Altimeters works correctly, and the crew made a number of comments relating to altitude.
GPS speed is not usable, because winds aloft--especially in the jetstream--can exceed 200 knots, meaning that the airspeed could differ from GPS groundspeed by up to 200 knots.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
I also remember seeing a documentary which talkwd about the pilots not taking control of the thrust when the a/c went into alternate law. And that had they done so and applied a basic thrust / pitch configuration, the a/c would've resumed straight and level flight at a safe airspeed regardless of pitot info (or lack thereof).
Which to me tended to further support the notion of a simple lack of basic airmanship and situational awareness by the crew.
May all rest in peace, finally, maybe. And may we all learn something from the tragedy.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I'm a thinkin' that loss of situational awareness caused a general panic and overrode anything thing else. While the report said that the AC went into Alternate Law, none of them that I have seen made any mention of whether or not that fact was recognized by the crew, which, judging from the general mood of panic & confusion, I doubt it was.If they did not know that it changed laws, they would not have went to the thrust. Not manually trying to take hold of the AC in the first place does lend itself to that
confusion/lack of airmanship. This one will be gummed to death for years to come because of the mystery and what if's.
benthurston
Ben Thurston 1
The crew did recognize that they were in alternate law, as evidenced by statements by the PNF at 2H 10M 16S. And there were several changes of thrust, so they were aware that they had manual control of the thrust levers.
The primary cause of the accident was the crew's failure to apply the "unreliable airspeed indicator" procedure, which called for 5 degree positive pitch and climb thrust. This would have kept the plane approximately level and would have given them time to sort out the root cause of the problem.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Thanks Ben, I missed that in all that. You are probably correct on the actual cause, but as in any fall, the fall is not the cause of death. It's that sudden stop at the end that generally gets you. Why they failed to apply it is the 64$question.