This may be accessed by clicking the View Report icon below. BEA France Accident Airbus A F-GZCP AF Atlantic Ocean. In its final report into the loss of an Air France Airbus A over the South Atlantic on June 1, , French air accident investigation agency. Thursday, July 5, was a much anticipated day, as the entire aviation industry awaited the release of the final report on the Air France

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The Airbus Aoperated by Air Francestalled and did not recover, eventually crashing into the Atlantic Ocean at This airliner’s first flight was on 25 Februaryand it was Air France’s newest A at the time of the crash. The aircraft was carrying passengers, three aircrew and nine cabin crew in two cabins of service. There were three pilots in the aircrew: Of the 12 crew members including aircrew and cabin crew11 were French and one was Brazilian.

The majority of passengers were French, Brazilian, or German citizens. Air France had gathered approximately 60 to 70 relatives and friends who arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport to pick up arriving passengers.

Many of the passengers on Flight were connecting to other destinations worldwide, so other parties anticipating the arrival of passengers were instead to appear at various other airports that were the passengers’ final destinations. The Airbus A is designed to be flown by a crew of two pilots. Because the hour “duty time” flight duration, plus pre-flight preparation for the Rio-Paris route exceeds the maximum 10 hours permitted by Air France’s procedures for pilots to operate an aircraft without a break, Flight was crewed by three pilots: In accordance with common practice, captain Dubois had sent one of the co-pilots for the first rest period with the intention of taking the second break himself.

After having attended the briefing between the two co-pilots, the captain left the cockpit to rest at Probably two to three minutes after this the aircraft encountered icing conditions the cockpit voice recorder recorded what sounded like hail or graupel on the outside of the aircraft, and the engine anti-ice system came on and ice crystals started to accumulate in the pitot tubes pitot tubes measure how fast the aircraft is moving through the air.

Without the auto-pilot, the aircraft started to roll to the right due to turbulence, and Bonin reacted by deflecting his side-stick to the left. One consequence of the change to alternate law was an increase in the aircraft’s sensitivity to roll, and the pilot’s input over-corrected for the initial upset.

During the next 30 seconds, the aircraft rolled alternately left and right as Bonin adjusted to the altered handling characteristics of his aircraft.

This action was unnecessary and excessive under the circumstances. The aircraft’s angle of attack increased, and the aircraft started to climb above its cruising level of FL The icing event had lasted for just over a minute. The trimmable horizontal stabilizer THS moved from three to 13 degrees nose-up in about one minute, and remained in that latter position until the end of the flight. As the aircraft began to descend, the angle of attack rapidly increased toward 30 degrees.

A second consequence of the reconfiguration into alternate law was that stall protection no longer operated. Whereas in normal law, the aircraft’s flight management computers would have acted to prevent such a high angle of attack, in alternate law this did not happen.

Indeed, the switch into alternate law occurred precisely because the computers, denied reliable speed data, were no longer able to provide such protection — nor many of the other functions expected of normal law.

In response to the stall, first officer Robert took over control and pushed his control stick forward to lower the nose and recover from the stall; as Bonin was still pulling his control stick back, the inputs cancelled each other out. Noticing the various alarms going off, he urgently repot the two crew members: The stall warnings stopped, as all airspeed indications were now considered invalid by the aircraft’s computer due to the high angle of attack. Roughly 20 seconds later, at From there until the end of the flight, the angle of attack never dropped below 35 degrees.

From the time the aircraft stalled until its impact with the ocean, the engines were primarily developing either percent N 1 or TOGA thrust, though they were briefly spooled down to about 50 percent N 1 on two occasions.


The engines always responded to commands and were developing in excess of percent N 1 when the flight ended. First officer Robert responded with: The aircraft was now too low to recover rwport the stall.

Shortly thereafter, the Ground proximity warning system sounded an alarm, warning the crew about the aircraft’s now imminent crash with the ocean. Bonin, realizing the situation was now hopeless, said: We’re going to crash!

This can’t be true.

The flight data recordings stopped at Its pitch was During its descent, the aircraft had turned more than degrees to the right to a compass heading of degrees. The Airbus was destroyed on impact; all passengers and crew on board were killed instantly by extreme trauma. Its final position report at They offered a tantalizing but incomplete picture of what had happened to Flight The remainder of the messages occurred from Weather conditions in the mid-Atlantic were normal for the time of year, and included a broad band of thunderstorms along the Intertropical Convergence Zone ITCZ.

Commercial air transport crews routinely encounter this type of storm in this area. Flight was due to pass from Brazilian airspace into Senegalese airspace at approximately When he received no response, he asked the crew of another Air France flight AF to try to contact AF; this also met with no success. After further attempts to contact Flight were unsuccessful, an aerial search for the missing Airbus commenced from both sides of the Atlantic.

Brazilian Air Force aircraft from the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha and French reconnaissance aircraft based in DakarSenegal led the search. By early afternoon on 1 June, officials with Air France and the French government had already presumed the aircraft had been lost with no survivors. An Air France spokesperson told L’Express that there was “no hope for survivors”, [89] [90] and French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced there was almost no chance anyone survived.

The sighted wreckage included an aircraft seat, an orange buoy, a barrel, and “white pieces and electrical conductors”. Other ships sent to the site included the French research vessel Pourquoi Pas?

Early on 6 Junefive days after Flight disappeared, two male bodies, the first to be recovered from the crashed aircraft, were brought on board the Caboclo [] along with a seat, a nylon backpack containing a computer and vaccination card, and a leather briefcase containing a boarding pass for the Air France flight.

At this point, and with this evidence, investigators confirmed the plane had crashed killing everyone on board. The search and recovery effort reached its peak over the next week or so, as the number of personnel mobilized by the Brazilian military exceeded By 16 June50 bodies had been recovered from a wide area of the ocean. The BEA documented the timeline of discoveries in its first interim report.

Air France Flight 447

Its mission was to assist in the search for the missing flight recorders or “black-boxes” that might be located at great depth. The French submarines would be aided by two U. Following the end of the search for bodies, the search continued for the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorderthe so-called “black boxes”.

France requested sf447 “towed pinger locator hydrophones” from the United States Navy to help find the aircraft.

Air France Crash: Final Report Points to Pilot Error, Confusion | Flying Magazine

The finite beacon battery life meant that, as the time since the crash elapsed, the likelihood of location diminished. The third phase of the search for the recorders lasted from 2 April until 24 May[] [] [] and was conducted by two ships, the Anne Candies and reporrt Seabed Worker. The Anne Candies towed a U. In Julythe U. Phase 4 repott the search operation started close to the aircraft’s last known position, which was identified by the Metron study as being the most likely resting place of flight Within a week of resuming of the search operation, on 3 Aprila team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles AUVs owned by the Waitt Institute [ not in citation given ] discovered, by means of sidescan sonara large portion of the debris field from flight AF On 7 May the flight recorders, under judicial sealwere taken aboard the French Navy patrol boat La Capricieuse for transfer to the port of Cayenne.


One engine and the avionics bay, containing onboard computers, had also been raised. By 15 May all the data from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder had been downloaded. Between 5 May and 3 Junebodies were recovered from the wreckage, bringing the total number of bodies found to Fifty bodies had been previously recovered from the sea.

On 5 Junethe BEA cautioned against premature speculation as to the cause of the crash. At that time, the investigation had established only two facts: On 2 Julythe BEA released an intermediate report, which described all known facts, and a summary of the visual examination of the rudder and the other parts of the aircraft that had been recovered at that time. On 16 MayLe Figaro reported that the BEA investigators had ruled deport an aircraft malfunction as the cause of the crash, according to preliminary information extracted from the flight data recorder.

The BEA stated that no conclusions had been made, investigations were continuing, and no interim report was expected before the summer. A spokesperson for the BEA claimed “the airspeed of the aircraft was unclear” to the pilots [] and, on 4 JuneAirbus issued an Accident Information Telex to operators of all its aircraft reminding pilots of the recommended Abnormal and Emergency Procedures to be taken in the case of unreliable airspeed indication.

All occurred in cruise between flight levels FL and FL Further, after the Flight accident, Air France identified six additional incidents which had not been reported on ASRs. These were intended for maintenance Aircraft Technical Logs ATLs drawn finwl by the pilots to describe these incidents only partially, to indicate the characteristic symptoms of the incidents associated with af4477 airspeed readings. When it was introduced inthe Airbus A was equipped with pitot tubes, part number GR, manufactured by Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems.

Air France Flight – Wikipedia

A Airworthiness Directive required these to be replaced with either a later Goodrich design, part number HL, or with pitot tubes made by Thalespart number CAA.

After discussing these issues with the manufacturer, Air France sought a means of reducing these incidents, and Airbus indicated that the new pitot probe designed for the A was not designed to prevent cruise level ice-over.

Intests suggested that the new probe could improve its reliability, prompting Air France to accelerate the replacement program, [] which started qf447 29 May.

In JulyAirbus issued new advice to A and A operators to exchange Thales pitot tubes for tubes from Goodrich. According to the FAA, in its Federal Register publication, use of the Thales model has resulted in “reports of airspeed indication discrepancies while flying ginal high altitudes in inclement weather conditions”, that “could result in reduced control of the airplane.

On 20 DecemberAirbus issued a warning to roughly operators of A, A and A aircraft regarding pitot tubes, advising pilots not to re-engage the autopilot following failure of the airspeed indicators. Appropriate means must be provided visual warning directly visible to the crew to inform the crew of any non-functioning of the heating system”. On 27 Maythe BEA released an update on its investigation describing the history of the flight as recorded by the flight data recorder. This confirmed what had previously been concluded from post-mortem examination of the bodies and debris repirt from the ocean surface: While the inconsistent airspeed data caused the disengagement of the autopilot, the reason the pilots lost control of the aircraft remains something of a mystery, in particular because pilots would normally try to lower the nose in the event of a stall.

On 29 Julythe BEA released a third interim report on safety issues it found in the wake of the crash. The BEA assembled a human factors working group to analyze the crew’s actions and reactions during the final stages of the flight. A brief bulletin by Air France indicated that “the misleading stopping and starting of the stall warning alarm, contradicting the actual state of the aircraft, greatly contributed to the crew’s difficulty in analyzing the situation.

On 5 Julythe BEA released its final report on the accident. This confirmed dinal findings of the preliminary reports and provided additional details and recommendations to improve safety.

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