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Some additional news on the Air France Atlantic crash

Started by Phil Bunch, Tue, 17 May 2011 17:30

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

Until somebody recreates the exact panel indications, if ever possible, we won't know what those people thought.


I wrote two things which provide a lead:
a. People in such situations even following proper selection, training and experience, don't always perform as expected even it means to save their own lives, the example given was in that Stratocruiser.
b. Human abilities are greatly deteriorated by a very confusing and inhibiting self-switching flight control system, especially when already saturated by multiple alarms, warnings and horns, and a captain shouting instructions from behind.

I've seen a few messages suggesting a control authority problem in pitch due to the elevator increasing trim angle from 3 to 13 degrees during the event, as probable cause. Even so that isn't an explanation to the aft sidestick control input, makes no sense to me, nor that of instrumentation and indication problems as main cause (they were a factor though).  Neither was there mention in the report about forward trim application, it's hard to believe the report would have taken its facts out of context by omitting relevant information.

Pilot gross situation awareness problem led to the inability to effectively respond, in the 3:30 minutes of stall. The only explanation which makes sense to me.
Regards, Zinger


IMHO it would be complete for the record, but not really necessary. The key factors are right at our faces, making everything else minor.
a. Prolonged deep stall. Inconceivable under any circumstance that a pilot cannot recognize it, in or out of a storm, with correct display or pitch black cockpit.
b. No recovery control input, not even for a second, was  made from entry of deep stall and for 3:30 minutes, which in the first place was generated by poor flying technique.

There have been enough recent similar incidents in Airbus aircraft to realize most of the lessons learnt. Looks like Air France has been busy doing things other than safely transporting people, not just for a while. {somehow FIFA jumps to mind}.

As for Airbus, the following event supports my view, a pompous company attitude which hints that pilots who crash their planes, even the best pilots, are just an incapable bunch of fools. I beg to differ, it is their automation design which forgot to bring human factors properly into account. Plenty of evidence. Also how DGAC by their biased conclusions attempt to support (so they believe) French products.
"On 30 June 1994, trouble struck the certification programme for the PW4000 engine when an A330 registered F-WWKH, aircraft number 042, crashed near Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, killing all seven occupants onboard. The flight was designed to test autopilot response during a worst-case scenario with the centre of gravity near its aft limit. Flown by Michel Cais of Air Inter, Chief Test Pilot Nick Warner and five other people, including a KLM captain, were also on board. The accident was investigated by an internal branch of Direction General d'Aviation, which revealed that the accident was a result of slow response and incorrect procedures taken by the crew, and poor co-ordination of the recovery procedure."
Edit: here's another:
Air France Flight 296 was a chartered flight of a newly-delivered fly-by-wire Airbus A320-111 operated by Air France. On June 26, 1988, as part of an air show it was scheduled to fly over Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport (ICAO code LFGB) at a low speed with landing gear down at an altitude of 100 feet, but instead slowly descended to 30 feet before crashing into the tops of trees beyond the runway. Three passengers died. The cause of the accident is disputed, as many irregularities were later revealed by the accident investigation. The common misconception of Air France Flight 296 being an unmanned plane flown by a computer was created after TLC released a show without researching the crash appropriately, and mistook fly-by-wire as a fully automated system, not requiring pilots. This was the first ever crash involving an Airbus A320.
Regards, Zinger