The trial of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris (228 dead) opens this Monday in the criminal court. Airbus and Air France are being prosecuted for manslaughter. The pilots were betrayed by the flight data.
More than 13 years after the crash of the Airbus A 330 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, which killed 228 people, Airbus and Air France are on trial, starting today, October 10, and ending December 8, 2022. They have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the courts are accusing them of “misconduct”, in particular for not having taken into account “the seriousness of the multiple incidents of loss of speed indication that occurred on 15 other flights between May 2008 and May 2009”.
“The pilots’ conversation”
The discovery of the black boxes in 2011, two years after the crash, allowed us to better understand the series of human and technical failures that led to the disaster. At issue were the Pitot probes. These tubes placed at the front of the aircraft allow to measure the speed. While crossing a thunderstorm, the probes probably froze, not providing useful information to the pilots.
While the plane is close to the Equator, the pilot in function and the co-pilot come to trigger the Toga procedure, to be followed in case of stall. Here is their conversation revealed by the black boxes.
It is 2 hours 11 minutes and 3 seconds GMT :
“I’m in Toga eh?”, asks the pilot on duty.
“We still have the engines. What occurs?”, answers the co-pilot.
2 h 11 min 32 :
The pilot on duty: “I don’t have control of the plane anymore. I don’t have control of the plane at all.”
The captain enters the cockpit: “Hey, what are you (doing)?”
Pilot on duty: “What’s going on? I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on.
Pilot on duty: “I feel like we’re going crazy fast, right? What do you think?”
Co-pilot: “What do you think? What do you think? What should we do?
The captain: “I don’t know, it’s going down”.
2 h 12 min 27.
The co-pilot: “You go up… You go down, down, down, down.
Pilot on duty: “I’m going down now?
The captain: “No, you’re going up there!
Pilot on duty: “Am I going up? Okay, let’s go down.
The captain: “That’s not possible”.
Pilot on duty: “What’s … How come we’re still going down at full speed?
Co-pilot: “Pull up, pull up, pull up, pull up.
Pilot on duty: “But I’ve been at full nose up since before.”
Captain: “No, no, no, don’t pull up”.
The co-pilot: ” So, go down “.
2 h 13 min 45.
The copilot: ” So, give me the controls, I’ll take the controls “.
2 h 14 min 05.
The captain: “Careful, you’re pitching up”.
The co-pilot (who has taken the controls): “I’m pitching up?
The pilot in charge: ” Well, you should, we are at four thousand feet “.
The captain: “Come on, shoot!
Pilot on duty: “Come on, pull, pull, pull, pull.”
End of the recordings.
In less than four minutes, the A330 crashes into the Atlantic. There were no survivors. Thirteen years later, the families of the victims, but also the pilots’ unions, want justice to establish who was responsible. So that such a tragedy does not happen again.