Tuesday, 13 December 2011

What really happened on Air France flight 447

Recently, I came across this. It's an article in the magazine Popular Mechanics which contains the transcript of the flight deck recording just prior to the aircraft breaking up and crashing into the sea.

Personally, I think the article is sensationalist and rather unfair. It lays the blame firmly on the most junior of the two FOs at the controls. Admittedly he did react in an incredibly stupid way (pulling the control column up rather than pushing it down) but we all know that humans can behave insanely under extreme stress. As usual, the causes of the accident are many - both pitot tubes freezing at once, Air France failing to train its crews properly on this scenario in the simulator, the extreme weather, and who knows, fatigue may have played a part, too.

What this article does do, though, is remind us that today's aircraft, clever as they are, are not infallible. These pilots felt it was impossible to stall an Airbus, but learned to their cost that it wasn't.

As for that FO in the right hand seat - I can't stop thinking about his family reading this. The poor things. How awful that his final moments are available for all to read - and for all to condemn him, too.


  1. Airbus is doing a really good job paying people off on this one. Once again the pilots are put squarely at fault.

    The pilots did do the wrong thing for the speed at which they were flying. However, it's to be expected since they didn't know the speed at which they were flying! The pitot tubes freezing was a problem known by Airbus, but it's being swept under the rug. Grrrr....

  2. I agree! THis is the second blog note (that I've seen) to mention the PM article, the other one thought it was wonderful...) For Gawd's sake folks, let's don't jump to conclusions based upon only part of the details. Does the transcript tell the WHOLE story? I think not. One would note that the professionals have been mute and will remain so, until the French authorities release their final report. Then - and only then can we begin to evaluate the details. Thanks for shouting down PM for this really stupid article! -Craig

  3. Hi there. First of all. Merry Christmas! I just found your blog (literally just, maybe 10mins ago), and I'm really glad I did. My boyfriend may soon fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot here in Finland, and I guess I just wanted to say that I think your blog is really going to answer to all my doubts. Aka I truly thank you for this blog. Blessing to your son and your husband.

  4. Wow, this is such a sad story. I feel bad for his family too.




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