"Air France Flight 447 was a scheduled airline flight from Rio de Janeiro-Galeão (GIG) to Paris-Roissy (CDG) involving an Airbus 330-200 aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on 1 June 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 aircrew. The investigation is still ongoing, and the cause of the crash has not yet been formally determined. An interim report from the BEA on 27 May 2011 revealed that the aircraft crashed following an aerodynamic stall. It further revealed that minutes prior to the crash, the pitot tubes (speed sensors) started to give inconsistent readings" (Wikipedia, 20112).
According to the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile (BEA), the French civil aviation investigation authority, only released its final report on 9 July 2012. The report was released after the cockpit voice recorder(CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) were recovered and analysed two years after the accident. (Scribd., July 2012)
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Findings Review By Flightglobal's Operations & Safety Editor David Learmount
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According to Kaminski-Morrow (2012), this accident was a result of human error involving cognition, stress and sensory overload and the interaction between man and machine. The flight deck crew as found to be in a state of “emotional shock” that resulted in incorrect pilot actions that caused the aircraft to go into an unrecoverable dive.
1) Pilot Error
Pilot Error is a phrase used when the pilot is responsible for the accident. Pilot Error encompasses mistakes, oversights, poor situational awareness and incapability in operating the aircraft. For example, Air France Flight 477, the pilot was held responsible for being unable to recognize and recover from an aerodynamic stall.
In its third Interim Report, it was determined on the 29th of July 2011, that Pilot Error was the major cause for the accident. It was mentioned in the report that during the flight the pilot had experienced unusual airspeeds and did not use the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in unreliable airspeed procedures. In attempting to tackle the problem, the pilot in command kept increasing the angle of attack of the aircraft, which caused the stall warning to sound for a continuously for 54 seconds. The control columns on the aircraft started to buffet however, the pilot did not make any verbal comments on it and failed to realize that the aircraft was stalled. Due to the design of the stall warning, it kept sounding as the pilot checked forward, and didn't make any noise when the pilot pulled back. This confused the pilots, and even though they were aware that the aircraft was descending rapidly, they were unsure which instruments to trust. This eventually confused the pilots,and they lost all situational awareness.
Want to know more?
- Air France flight 447
- This Wikipedia page provides more details of the occurrence.