Air France Black Boxes’ Initial Data Show Nothing Wrong With Crashed Plane

Discussion in 'Flying Blue | Air France, KLM/Partners' started by jbcarioca, May 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Black-boxes from the fatal Air France crash in 2009 revealed no new technical issues with the Airbus SAS A330 jet on first examination, according to the planemaker, though investigators said it’s premature to blame human error.
    Analysis of voice and data recorders is “just beginning,” France’s BEA accident investigation bureau said in a statement after Airbus told airlines that preliminary findings didn’t warrant changes to equipment or operating guidance. Carriers were told after the crash to switch speed sensors on the model.
    Investigators said yesterday they’d uploaded a complete set of data from the black boxes, recovered from the Atlantic and shipped to Paris this month after two years’ immersion at a depth of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet). The wreck of flight 447 was found weeks before the second anniversary of the June 1, 2009, crash, which killed 228 people en route from Brazil to Paris.
    “The gathering of the entire cockpit audio and flight parameter data makes it almost certain that this accident will be fully explained,” the BEA said today. Airbus said separately in a BEA-approved telex sent to airlines yesterday that it has “no immediate recommendation” for A330 operators and promised further updates when “authorized to share more information.”
    Paris-based Air France didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
    Pitot Tubes

    Flight 447’s last automated transmissions, minutes before the crash, had suggested that faulty speed readings from devices known as pitot tubes could have caused the autopilot to shut down in bad weather, a situation pilots are trained to handle.
    On June 4, 2009 Airbus instructed airlines to remind pilots how to respond to inconsistent speed readings using the Quick Reference Handbook and Flight Crew Operating Manual kept in the cockpit. Two months later it advised A330 and A340 operators to switch from Thales SA (HO)pitot tubes to Goodrich Corp. (GR) versions.
    Investigators have said that failed sensors couldn’t by themselves have caused the crash and that an improper response to the readings or other unrelated elements would be required. The absence of information on the flight’s final minutes has so far hindered the development of plausible scenarios.
    Air France and Airbus have said they disagree with manslaughter charges laid against them over the accident, the worst in the carrier’s history.
    Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon says there’s no evidence that the crash was caused by pitot tubes. Records in Europe and the U.S. document dozens of incidents where the probes failed and pilots retained control.
    Premature

    The BEA today dismissed as premature an anonymously sourced report in French newspaper Le Figaro indicating that early findings suggest the crash resulted from a mistake by the crew.
    “To give way to sensationalism and publish non-validated information when the data analysis is just beginning shows a lack of respect for the deceased passengers and crew,” the agency said. It gave no information on the initial findings.
    Airbus said in a statement it “strongly disagrees with any form of speculation” on the accident’s causes. Air France pilots also cautioned against assumptions regarding human error.
    “We cannot accept that the pilots who died in this catastrophe should be throw to the lions of public opinion before a complete analysis of all the causes of the accident,” the SNPL pilot union said in a statement today. “In no way does this note from the aircraft maker allow us to conclude that the accident resulted from an error by the crew.”
    The crash investigators have pledged to release an interim report in July or August, with a final report due in early 2012.
    To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net; Laurence Frost in Paris at lfrost4@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net;Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net
     
    secretsea18 and sobore like this.
  2. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    Thanks for posting this information.
     
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  3. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    What a mystery this is turning out to be. I'm not sure if it makes it easier if it was a mechanical error rather than human error. My thoughts go out to all who were effected by this tragedy.
     
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  4. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I think it makes a major difference. If there were any aircraft fault the solution might be a mechanical one: replace the parts that failed and/or revise maintenance procedures. If, however, it were due to pilot error the consequences for training and/or procedures will be more difficult and subjectives ones to repair. It seems to be the latter, although nobody is saying anything yet officially. If so, that adds to a recent series of AF mishaps that point to inadequate trainings and procedures. AF already has a very strong incentive to improve training and procedures after the recent JFK A380 taxi incident and a recent spat of AF failings, plus some not so recent, dating from the Concorde crash. That last one was blamed on a Continental aircraft piece on teh runway, but there remains the idea that AF could have been more diligent.

    I believe the emphasis will now shift quite forcefully to AF. I also think it should, and I am a fan of AF.
     

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