Bad data behind Air France crash - claim

2011-10-05 22:09

Paris - A lawyer for families who lost loved ones in a 2009 Air France plane crash said on Wednesday that the investigation so far into the accident appeared to show that the pilots received bad data from their plane.

Airbus and Air France have been charged in France with involuntary homicide for the crash that killed all 228 people aboard Flight 447 as it headed from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The judges investigating the charges met with family members of the victims on Wednesday to update them on their findings so far.

Alain Jakubowicz, a lawyer for an association that represents the families, said that those charges are "still valid" after hearing the latest in the investigation.

A report from France's accident investigation agency, or BEA, described a scenario in which poorly trained pilots reacted exactly as they shouldn't have when their plane stalled over the Atlantic - pointing the nose up instead of down.

But the report also noted that they were dealing with bad weather, faulty sensors, incoherent speed readings, and a cacophony of alarms.

Jakubowicz dismissed the BEA report on Wednesday, saying the judges' investigation is "the only one that counts".

"The feeling we had, but we have to be cautious, is that the information that the plane sent to the pilots didn't allow them to make good decisions," added Thibaut de Montbrial, a lawyer for one of the families.

Airbus and Air France have engaged in a tug-of-war over where responsibility for the crash lies.

  • hotenglish - 2011-10-05 23:18

    Sounds like the Bermuda Triangle has moved south due to global warming.

  • Steve Kay - 2011-10-06 01:58

    Wierd, I've heard the same. But you just need to fly a pitch attitude that is safe. Yes at high altitude its a very narrow range, called "coffin corner". But this was an international flight - NOrmally only the most senior pilots get these jobs, because of seniority and the much higher pay on the bigger planes. As usual, it sounds like a combo of problems caused the loss. I had an avoidable accident in a light plane 30 years ago. Problems 1- I ignored a situation where when retracting the wheels, only the nose wheel came up. put it all down, and then everything was normal. Problem 2l - I always thought the crunch when the gear retracted was it locking in place up, so the electric pump could turn off. Turns out the crunch was it breaking loose from a jam due to a bad adjustment. Problem 3 I was overtired. I noticed cycling the gear down didnt make the crunch on the downward cycle. I looked out at the mirrors and could see both main wheels down. Couldnt see the nose wheel I could have simply asked the tower to take their binoculars to see if the nosewheel was out. I also had an alternate means of manually pumping down the nosewheel but forgot about that Big surprise, not too much damage but a new prop was the biggest item. the whole problem was these engines all leak a little oil, combine it with dust and dirt and it jammed up a couple of the switches underneath that control the gear operation. Combo problems - hard to predict.

  • Roman Moroni - 2011-10-06 05:47

    The problem is that instict will have people point the nose upwards to avoid going down - I think it will take almost robotic nerves to do the right thing and go into a dive to try and solve a stalling problem. I'm not a pilot but that's my 5 cents. And then: Are commercial pilots trained well enough, or do they rely heavily on the electronics controlling the large passenger jets?

  • MxT - 2011-10-06 08:07

    Similar situations have happened in the past without the tragic result of 447. Airline pilots are trained to act appropriately when some sources of information fail or give conflicting information. Why these pilots behaved in the way they did needs thorough investigation. Lawyers are not the people to do this investigation.

  • daaivark - 2011-10-06 08:23

    Bad, bad data. Into the corner with you.

  • Marina - 2011-10-06 08:41


      daaivark - 2011-10-06 09:01

      He He He.

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