Cause of 2009 Air France Tragedy Determined

by nph | May 23rd, 2011

Air France Flight 447's Black Box

Air France Flight 447's Black Box

May 23, 2011

As France’s BEA civil aviation safety bureau investigators study the recently discovered flight data and voice recorders belonging to the ill-fated Flight 447–which killed 228 people when it plummeted into the Atlantic in June 2009 while en route from Rio di Janeiro to Paris–they’ve come to some early conclusions about the cause of the crash.

SPIEGEL Magazine has interviewed anonymous sources who say that the plane’s pilot was not in the cockpit during the most critical phase prior to the accident but instead came rushing in soon thereafter with instructions for his co-pilots about how to save the plane.

The data is also supporting long-held theories that the plane experienced a deep stall caused by frozen speed sensors.

As SPIEGEL points out, “The big question is: What triggered the stall in the first place? One possibility is that the pilots reacted incorrectly to the speed sensors’ failure. But even if this was the case, it still wouldn’t be enough to free the plane’s manufacturer or operator from all responsibility. The fact is that, at the time of the catastrophe, the Air France pilots had been poorly briefed about the growing number of speed-sensor failures — and, more importantly, about the right way to respond to them.”

With the initial findings pointing toward both pilot error and technical error, investigators have a complicated case on their hands.

Read more.

What do you think was the primary reason that Flight 447 crashed?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.

Photo courtesy of Reuters