Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

France

Pilots boycott Rio-Paris crash inquiry

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-03

French pilots have suspended their collaboration with an ongoing probe into the cause of the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 after the authorities' decision to focus on possible pilot errors in their latest report.

REUTERS - French pilots on Wednesday suspended co-operation with an inquiry into the 2009 crash of an Air France airliner as a dispute over the causes of the disaster opened deep wounds in France’s aeronautics industry.

The SNPL airline pilots union declared the boycott after it emerged that crash investigators had removed a recommendation about one of the Airbus A330’s systems from an interim report last week, focusing instead on possible pilot error.

The BEA air crash investigation agency said its final report may make a recommendation on the A330 stall alarms but said it also needed to analyse why pilots had ignored the crucial alert for almost a minute without making the “appropriate” responses.

The ongoing inquiry into what caused flight AF447 from Rio to Paris to slam into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board, has pitched France’s flagship carrier and its pilots against planemaker Airbus and crash investigators.

The outcome may have legal implications for dozens of potential compensation claims on both sides of the Atlantic.

The BEA said last week that crew had failed to respond to repeated stall warnings and listed a series of actions that experts said went against the handbook for dealing with a sudden loss of lift.

Its 10 recommendations included better training for pilots to fly aircraft manually, particularly at high altitudes.

On Wednesday, the BEA confirmed French press reports that it had removed a recommendation on the stall alarm from a draft report because more work needed to be done on the subject.

In a statement, it said this would be handled in tandem with a study of human behaviour under stress which is expected to dominate the next phase of its two-year inquiry, with a final report embracing both topics due to be issued later this year.

Pilots however said the agency should reveal its thoughts on the design of Airbus cockpit systems sooner.

“Why ignore in the official report the recommendation on the stall alarm? Were other significant modifications made to the report?” the SNPL said in a statement, noting that BEA’s reputation had been “seriously shaken”.

An association for families of crash victims said the recommendation’s removal had undermined the credibility of the investigation and called for its immediate publication.

Stall warning trap?

The BEA says it is too early to say why the A330 crashed on June 1, 2009, but they have more or less pieced together how.

The autopilot switched off after the aircraft’s speed sensors became blocked with ice at high altitude and “fly by wire” features—designed to keep the plane within safe limits even when being hand-flown—were also disengaged.

Under manual control, the A330 rose and then appeared to enter a stall, plunging from 38,000 feet with alarms sounding.

Air France said on Friday its pilots must have been confused because the stall alarm kept going on and off. According to information from the black box flight recorder, the plane’s stall alarm sounded 11 times.

Pilots have complained of a stall warning “trap” due to a design feature under which the computers stop calculating the stall once the speed drops below 60 knots, well below normal.

The BEA recommendation would have asked authorities to study whether the alarm should be modified, two sources said.

Airbus refused to enter the fray, but people familiar with the Toulouse-based firm accused the French national airline and its pilots of trying to sink the inquiry by diverting attention from evidence set out in the black box tapes.

“Their only solution is to blow up the investigation,” said one source, asking not to be identified.

The stall alarm controversy marks the third wave of speculation about the cause of the crash, which focused firstly on possibly faulty speed sensors, then pilot error and now the basic parameters that determine whether a plane stays aloft.

When an aircraft enters an aerodynamic stall, air stops flowing correctly under its wings and it can no longer fly.
 

Date created : 2011-08-03

  • FRANCE

    Pilots' lack of training blamed for Rio-Paris crash

    Read more

  • AF 447 CRASH

    Paris-Rio crash victims' bodies arrive back in France

    Read more

  • AF 447 CRASH

    Two years on, families of crash victims mark tragedy

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)