BEA Releases Air France 447 Accident Final Report
France’s aviation accident investigation bureau (BEA) released its final report on the June 1, 2009 Air France Flight 447 Airbus A330 accident today. The accident resulted, according to the BEA, from a succession of events that began with “Temporary inconsistency between the measured airspeeds, likely following the obstruction of the pitot probes by ice crystals that led in particular to autopilot disconnection and a reconfiguration to alternate law,” and “inappropriate control inputs that destabilized the flight path.” Before the accident sequence of events began 2 hr 10 min 05 sec into the flight, the captain had left the cockpit, putting two copilots at the controls. After the ice crystals obstructed the pitot probes, “The airplane’s flight path was not controlled by the two copilots,” the BEA noted. “They were rejoined [90 seconds] later by the captain, while the airplane was in a stall situation that lasted until the impact with the sea at 2 hr 14 min 28 sec.” The final conclusion in the BEA’s synopsis is: “The crew’s failure to diagnose the stall situation and, consequently, the lack of any actions that would have made recovery possible.” AIN contributing editor Thierry Dubois is at the BEA press conference today, and AIN will publish more details on the report in the July 9 issue of AINsafety.