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July 29, 2011

Air France 447 probe report out

French air safety investigators have released their report on the crash of Air France 447 and say the pilots didn't know how to fly with the airplane when the cockpit automation was lost during a severe thunderstorm.  The report recommends stepped up pilot training, according to Bloomberg.

The document chronicles the final hours of the Airbus A330 aircraft, revealing a plane that responded accurately to commands, and confusion on the part of the two co-pilots while the captain was off duty. Neither pilot appeared to realize the plane had stalled, even as an alarm sounded for 54 seconds before the jet hit the ocean in the middle of the night.

The comments in the cockpit display “total incomprehension of the situation, and they are heard saying several times that they don’t know what’s going on,” BEA Chief Investigator Alain Bouillard said in an interview after presenting the report.

- Bob Cox


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I would hold off on throwing these guys to the wolves until after final report. Were they trained to handle this kind of emergency? How often had they hand flown the aircraft in a "severe thunderstorm" with alternate control laws. Basic aircraft instrumentation should always be available to the pilots. This all happened so fast with them not knowing what was valid and what wasn't. I've never flown the Airbus products but the manufacture isn't going to come out of this without a lot of egg on their face too.

2:10:05 - Autopilot and auto-thrust disengage

2:10:51 (46 seconds later) - Stall warning

2:12:02 (1 minute 57 seconds later) - "we have no valid indications"

2:14:28 (4 minutes 23 seconds later) - structural break up

"Dead men can't defend themselves."

Charlie Jui

This is a French Government investigative agency trying to decide whose fault led to the crash: (a) the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, owned in part by the French Government, or (b) Air France, owned by the French Government, or possibly (c) the pilots

The result of the inquiry in my mind was a foregone conclusion. The conclusions drawn so far does not explain the positioning of the elevators...oh but that would jeopardize the financial position of Airbus...

Will the NTSB and FAA have a shot of analyzing the data independently?

Hall Decker

Forget what will be a self-serving report. William Langewiesche is almost certainly working on a definitive story.

If you don't know who he is, do a Google, check Amazon.

He is, for my two cents, the best aviation writer working today.


Seems weird to me that trained professional pilots would not know how to fly a plane. That just doesn't add up. Either that or those men never should have been flying. It is all a little weird.

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