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Air France Flight 447 captain not in the cockpit

Co-pilots at controls when plane fell from 38,000 feet


 

The flight recorders from Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic in June 2009, reveal that the captain was not in the cockpit when the aircraft began its fateful descent. Instead, the plane’s two co-pilots were at the controls. Pilots on long flights often take turns at the controls to rest and remain alert. The revelation comes as part of the ongoing crash investigation being conducted by the French agency, BEA. The flight recording devices were recently recovered from the bottom of the ocean. They also indicated that the plane had stalled numerous times as the co-pilots were maneuvering through heavy clouds. The Air France flight was travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 people onboard were killed.

The Globe and Mail


 
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Air France Flight 447 captain not in the cockpit

  1. They are called International Officers not co-pilots, and either qualified to sit in the right seat.  Without an air speed indicator they were in trouble.

  2. I should of said either qualified to sit in either seat.

  3. THAT WAS IRRESPOSIBLE CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE TO PUT SO MANY LIVES IN DANGER AS WE CAN SEE IN THESE DAYS NOBODY CARES FOR THE LIFE OF OTHERS AND OUR SELFISH  TAKES ADVANTAGE IN EVERY SITUATION  SADNESS FOR ALL WHO DIED AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR SOME STUPID DECISION  TAKEN

    • The captain doesn’t need to be in the seat every moment of an eight hour flight.  The two copilots should have been more than capable of flying the entire flight themselves, if need be.

      What’s most disturbing is how the managed to put it into a stall and not recover, or even recognize that they had entered a stall until they had already been plummeting to the earth for a couple of minutes.  That is what has me shaking my head.  I just can’t think of a reason they wouldn’t try to recover from the stall instead of allowing the plane to belly-flop into the ocean.

      • They said that the plane sent messages to Airbus HQ about inconsistent speed readings. The petot tubes used to measure speed probably gave different speeds, and the pilot was probably was alerted by an overspeed warning because one of them gave a wrong reading. If they tried to slow it down, the plane will stall. This is how they probably put it in stall. National Geographic has a story on ”
        Birgenair Flight 301″ that is similar. But then if Captain wasn’t there, they could have called him in since he has more experience.

        How couldn’t they recover? Well, while the swept wing design is very efficient, it is really harder to recover from a stall of a plane of that size. In addition, weather might have been a factor.

        • It might have been a pitot tube icing issue, no doubt, but from what I’ve read it seems that the pilots were getting a stall indication, but not an overspeed indicator.  If they were getting an overspeed indicator, that’s one thing that could explain the nose-up manoeuvre.  I’m not convinced this a Birgenair or Aeroperu-type incident yet. 

          It’s certainly hard to recover from a stall of a large aircraft at 38K feet, no question, but it seems they didn’t even *try* to start recovering from that stall until they had already plummeted almost 20K feet.  It’s just bizarre all around.

          EDIT: You know what, the more I think about it the more I wonder if they thought they were having a problem with their ADIRS (like Qantas 72)? It’s virtually the same aircraft model, and the pilots acted like they didn’t trust their stall warnings or altitude information.

          • I wonder if it’s lack of emergency training for pilots.  This very same thing — the pitching the nose up in the face of a stall warning — was what caused the Colgan Air crash outside Buffalo.  And you have to wonder if it’s just that human beings, when faced with a crashing plane, will naturally pull the nose up.  …because it’s quite simply counter intuitive to do it the other way.  It’s like the proceedure needs to be repeated over and over and over and over again, so that even in the face of catastrophe, when one’s primal instincts take over, there will be no instict to pull the nose up.

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