French Investigators Detail Loss of Control in Go-Around

 - February 24, 2014, 2:30 PM

France’s BEA air accident investigation agency has released its serious incident report into the loss of control of an Air France Boeing 777 on November 11 while it was flying a Category III approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. During a go-around, the aircraft came within 63 feet of the ground before it established a positive climbout. The BEA said the pilot flying–the 14,370-hour captain–failed to execute the go-around according to Boeing procedures. The report also cited him for inadequate management of the aircraft’s automation system during the go-around. While the flight had been airborne for 10 hours when it arrived in Paris, the crew reported they did not feel fatigued. Illumination of a Cat III status warning light at a height of 350 feet agl during the Cat III autoland procedure mandated a go-around. A relief pilot in the cockpit later said that neither of the two pilots seemed to notice the warning until he mentioned it. The captain said he inadvertently pushed the autothrottle disconnect switch, located on the thrust levers, rather than the takeoff go-around (TOGA) engagement switches as he moved the levers to maximum thrust. The pilot flying failed to disconnect the autopilot, however, and the aircraft continued descending as airspeed increased. Both pilots attempted to adjust the aircraft’s pitch attitude, canceling out each other’s action. It took another 10 seconds before the Boeing’s pitch reached the standard go-around angle of approximately 20 degrees nose up. The aircraft later landed without incident.