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AF447 pilot: 'Damn it, we're going to crash'

New extracts from the cockpit voice recorder reveal that three seconds before impact, one of the crew exclaimed: "Damn it, we're going to crash, this can't be true!" ( さらに...

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It's easy to second guess..I had a gyro failure turning base to final on the ILS at Toronto. Single pilot and no back up gyro. Controller calmly said, "can you make standard rate turns?". Yes. "Continue your left turn, this will be a no gyro approach, you need not acknowledge further instructions". Continued one 360 back onto the ILS and straight in to the runway. Awesome controller made us both look good. The 447 guys had no one to ask for some help. Fate is Hunter has a long list of good pilots with "wings forever folded". There but for...........
Obviosly these are complicated platforms of a much larger scale that our smaller general aviation aircraft. Still basic skills and experience will contribute to more sucessful outcomes in these extreme and stressful situations. I see these ads for excellerated regional jet qualifications and wonder if the experience factor is being downplayed. This in conjunction with more computer centric systems seems to be driving the increased occurance of high profile accidents. Case in point: didn't the computer shut down the engines when the Airbus sucked up the birds and eventually had to be ditched in the Hudson? Computers are helpful tools but they cannot process multiple information inputs, make judgements, and initiate actions as well as a trained and experienced human being. In my opinion we all, as pilots, need tohave he ability to "go manual" and solve the problem.
Kendall: I am a thinkin' that the bird ingestion itself was what shut down the engines. That being said, I am glad I am in semi-retirement now and don't have to be forced typed on an Airbus. Any system that will lock a pilot out of the loop, regardless of the reason, doesn't need to be in the air. I have voiced this many times, BUT, the AB system will not let a pilot exceed a flight envelope to any degree, without reprogramming. #1. In the event of an upset of some type, you may not have that time, AND #2.That little bit of momentary excess may be just what you need sometime to pull your tail out of a crack. Solly Cholly, not for me.
All you had to do was push the nose down to gain speed THEN pull back on the stick and climb again or as "Attempt #2". Sad that a 14 year old knows that but these pilots that are trained for AF didn't.
I have had a pitot failure at 37,000 feet at night in IMC. The airspeed slowly rolled all the way to zero. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. We began a descent to ensure airflow over the wings and began flying by the backup instruments. I wasn't sure how I would react to something like this until it happened. Things happen so quickly, it would make your head spin. These guys got overwhelmed and reacted too late to correct it. A stall at that altitude takes nearly 10 percent pitch down to recover. The engines don't produce enough power to recover alone. It is difficult to force yourself into that kind of attitude when not practiced. Please learn something from these guys and don't play arm-chair quarterback. It is unfornate their training did not include high altitude stall recovery. It is some of the best training I ever have had. You don't now what it will be like until it happens and your mind starts racing. Train for it, don't pretend you know what it is going to be like.
John I keep harping about everybody missing the point here as you have so aptly put it. These guys were overwhelmed by all the bells & whistles in the cockpit and didn't have enough training for instinct to take over.
You have got it right. Without being in the element it is hard to understand what they were going through.
Joe Raio 0
skylab72 0
As WBookout has mentioned too many posts in all the FA threads about AF447 waste time second guessing the crew. At least there is much concern over the excessive stimulation from multiple automated systems all in an alarm state at once. I loved the 'picking fly s__t from black pepper' analogy. But why does no one seem alarmed about REQUIRING a crew to fly an aircraft into the last 10% of the coffin corner of their flight envelope, at night, in questionable weather, with an AD outstanding on pitot tubes for precisely these meteorological conditions, so the airline can protect it's on time stats and fuel efficiency ratios. No wonder AF cagily refers to it as a, "delicate issue of human-machine interface". I'd say it's brutal not delicate. FIFTY airliners (Part 25 aircraft, operated under Part 91 rules) have fallen from the sky in the last five years suffering from what is euphemistically called 'loss of control incidents'. That is obscene and unacceptable. Safety has been traded away for speed for too long. There is no way a computer can even detect that there is fly s__t in the pepper, so it could ask the human to take over in a timely fashion. It just waits until the inputs make no sense and asks the human to sort out reality while complaining about everything that makes no sense. A fatal combination.
Here here ! The Fly sh_ _ and black pepper was my analogy but I can't take credit for the phrase. The computer like a bad manager holds it's hands up and says 'your airplane. I got you into this mess let's see you get us out'. But then it puts sh_ _ in the game and won't allow you to exceed the parameters programed into itself.

As a kid I dabbled in cars. A friend approached me with a heater problem recently The thermostat control would not open the heat valve and it was going to cost $500.00 + to get heat in the winter. $500. for a computer controlled choke cable and butterfly valve in a water hose. Why??? Because they can? It took me the best part of two days to redesign and fix what used to take a couple of hours.

My point is that computerization is not always the best answer. To allow it to take over is never the right answer unless you consider the politics of the industry. If we're going to dumb down the fliers than we need to simplify the machines and the only way to make them idiot proof is computerization. I have a loooong politically incorrect theory about all this; too long to even outline here.
skylab72 0
If the lawyers will not let computers drive cars, which they can do, why are they pushing them to fly aircraft which they cannot do?
If they can dumb down the pilots chores they can hire cheaper pilots
maybe if these carriers didn't hire "cruise flight" crews with almost ZERO flight experience we can see LESS of this kind of thing happen. Anyone is capable of making a mistake, but just as we saw in the buffalo NY crash inexperienced crew is a recipe for disaster. Many experienced crewmembers have chosen to leave the airline business because of the horrible things that management has done to us, like myself, I have chosen to work for a fractional company, where they want experienced pilot flying the VIP's around (in fact, their corporate insurance requires this). Personally, i think everyone should have high quality pilots in their cockpits on their flights... and would like to see the flying public put pressure to make working conditions good enough for us to return to the airlines. A 10 dollar change to airfare, and a companies decision to hire qualified pilots is all it takes to reduce the number of accidents. I have been flying for nearly 22 years and can tell you that I have seen many EXCELLENT pilots give up on commercial aviation because of abuse. You can like or hate what I have to say, but in the end, next time your rear end is on a plane, who do you want in your cockpit? a recent flight school grad, or a 22 year veteran?
I wondered how long it was gonna take you to get in here and sound off.LOL
I don't remember if we have chatted before - but by sounding off do are you saying my comments are justified or unjustified? As a fellow ATP with some grey hair - I assume you agree with what I had to say?
Flight computer on this A/C turns off stall warning below a threshold airspeed (Aviation Week & Space Technology). In a stall, slow it enough and the stall warning quits...speed back up, as in pushing the nose over, and the stall warning re-annunciates. For this reason pushing the nose over appeared to put the a/c back in a stall. I think this was a major factor in these poor guys wallowing all the down to impact. No excuse, just another contributing factor.
skylab72 0
More bad news!
SAY Again?? Slowly this time. Is this on all Airbus formats?
I'm like Mark>>>>>>>>>>>SAY AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The airplane is stalling! Quick... pull back on the stick! Tragic. What has happened to basic pilot skills. Cessna 172 skills.
push yoke forward. push throttles forward. There. That was easy.
and yet it wasn't done... so obviously it isn't "that easy" after all. There was a book I read a while back, I think it was called "the black box" and it showed the transcripts of a few dozen crashes. In some cases the instrumentation and warnings are so overwhelming with conflicting information. Obviously lower the nose and add power is the right answer, but its easy to armchair quarterback.

there was one year alone that clear cellophane nape on the static ports crashed two 757's. They had overspeed and stall warnings at the same time. Their airspeed obviously was not accurate, and all because the aircraft waxers or painters ran out of masking tape which would have been clearly visible. Both happened in IFR night conditions I believe - But THAT is what this thread is really all about - automation, good or bad.

I wonder if there was an overspeed warning that confused the crew
I am an avionics tech for a U.S. regional that operates CRJ 200 aircraft. And I am here to tell you that when probe heat is on high, it is enough to send an aircraft technician to the airport clinic with serious burns on his hand after touching one of the probes inadvertently for only a fraction of a second.

With that kind of de-icing power, it is hard for me to understand how the pitot probes could have iced, even in the worst imaginable icing conditions.
They were in a storm, maybe they got hit by lightning or popped the circuit breaker. Maybe the pitot system was intact and uneffected? I can't wait to see more info from the FDR as to what was really going on there. These crashes keep me up at night sometimes - especially with something like this, its so simple, how can this happen? How could they have pulled up in a stall. What were they seeing on the instruments. But the captain knew immediately what to do - so it really just points the finger at inexperience.
Yes, exactly what I would do with an overspeed indication. Not saying that's what AF had.
We can talk about pilot reaction/training here and already have in other posts, but I still have this nagging feeling that they got totally overwhelmed in that cockpit with all the alarms going off and false readings they were getting. That being said, was the Aircraft responding properly to what inputs they were making. Previous reports show what they did, but I don't think they necessarily show that the plane did what it was told, AND THAT IS A FALLACY OF AUTOMATION AND EVEN MORESO ON AIRBUS.
Here's the guy I want driving me around. This is what pilots do. They think.

What made him grab for the AB? What made him keep his speed up 100% over the fence?
Gary, was the checkride in 1980 a commercial ride? If so, then you were being tested on an incipient stall, normally recovered prior to it going full (if that was the standard back in '80). My commercial ride was in the early 90's.
while at 380 there is no reference to the outside world and these pilots were trying to figure out what was happening to the plane, pretty much like a white out. Sadley they missed the cues they learned in basics.
while at 380 these pilots had no reference to the outside world and what was happening with the plane pretty much the same scenario as a white out. Sadly they missed the cues they learned in basics.
i fly on just flight simulator and even i know that you dont pull up in a stall. you push down as to regain the speed needed so you can pull up and start climbing
Do you know how to recognize a stall? I mean without the stall warning going off...and with high indicated airspeed. The majority of the descent, the stall warning was not going off and the indicated airspeed was too high, not too low. Recovery from a stall is a lot easier if you know whether or not you are in one.
@KEVIN MONTCALM- According to all I've read about AF447 the stall warning was continuously sounding. I'm not sure it's a valid point. But if it's so it certainly added to the mountain of information from which to sift through and make a decision. My point is with too much to sift through you can run out of time to make the decision. You sift your way down to the surface. From fl 36.5 to the surface in 3.5 min is a fall rate of 10k'/min. That don't leave no time for foolin'. In the article the pilot in command admonished the guy doing the driving to push the control forward and his read back was I've been pulling it back for a while. Panic had set in like shock and the aircraft was not responding because it was programed not to but there was no way to know because the pitots were clogged. I think too much information overwhelmed the decision maker, but I'm not sure it mattered because he was not driving the airplane
@MARK LANSDELL - You might 'arta have read more...see excerpt from May 30 Av. Week & Space Tech:

...At about the same time, the recorded speeds became invalid (which happens when speed is below 30 kt.) and the stall warning stopped. The aircraft was at an altitude of 35,000 ft. and the angle of attack exceeded 40 degrees with the aircraft falling by around 10,000 ft/min. The engines’ N1 was close to 100%.
At 2 hr. 12:02 min., the pilot flying said, “I don’t have any more indications.” Around 15 sec. later, the pilot flying made pitch down inputs and the angle of attack decreased, the speeds became valid and stall warning sounded, but no recovery took place.

link to the full article:

[This poster has been suspended.]

Read Marl Lansdell's comment real close before you, as a student pilot, sit in such pious judgement of some fairly well qualified ATP's in that cockpit. His last lines especially.
"Panic had set in like shock and the aircraft was not responding because it was programed not to but there was no way to know because the pitots were clogged. I think too much information overwhelmed the decision maker, but I'm not sure it mattered because he was not driving the airplane". You may not have intended it that way but that is sure as hell how it came out. Not saying that you don't have a right to your opinion, but as a student, you can either keep this know it all/judgemental attitude or listen, learn, ask questions and become a better pilot for it. As I have said many times before, WE WEREN'T LOOKING OUT OF THEIR WINDSHIELD.
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Too bad they didn't have the benefit of our Air Force pilot training. The lsat time I ever did what they did was in the Piper Cub. After that, we practiced, practiced and practiced more with stalls and recovery. (However I doubt I would like to try spin recovery in an air liner.)
Somewhere way back yonder I remember hearing about a 707 pilot that had to do about a complete roll to bring his bird back into control. Don't remember the circumstances but it was dang sure outside the filght envelope. Point is is he did it, and all survived and they made a normal landing. It was a HAIL MARY to recover from something but fact is that the Airbus system would have locked him out of being able to do that. Wish I remembered the details. It was just mentioned by somebody in an earlier comment string about AF447. I remember hearing about it also in my younger days flying one of them things under the tutelage of a senior captain.
This is the story I was told by a British Airways pilot - no airline mentioned. The young co-pilot and old [aka OLD] Captain were in very rough turbulance and the airplane got upended, went past vertical and the captain said: 'We are dead !" The young co-pilot replied: "Can I have a go ?" and took over and brought the plane under control. The 'story' went that the captain was embarrassed and resigned shortly after getting back to base. That is my memory, don't knock the details. I have a visual memory. . . .
I hear you my friend. Like I said, all I remember is that the recovery action was well ouside the envelope and that the AB system would've prevented the recover because that was one of them thar thangs the plane wasn't supposed to be able to do. LOL
Get the nose down, get the nose down, so she will fly again. Basic flying skills.
smoki 0
A 3 to 3.5 minute time elapsed from onset of the "problem" at or near FL300 to impact had to mean that the sink rate was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 fpm. Were the static ports also clogged or malfunctioning? Not that I'm aware of or at least no report to indicate such. That coupled with a high nose attitude suggests what? In the technical world of aerodynamics the term is "Boundary Layer Separation" which when translated to common jargon is "STALL" of the main lifting airfoil or wing. In the big-iron world it's referred to as a "Deep Stall." And what is the tried and true method of recovering from a stall since aeroplanes were invented? Lower the nose to reduce the Angle of Attack (aerodynamicists and their weird terms) and thus reattach the boundary layer so the airfoil is once again performing as intended to lift the weight of the airplane and stop the sink rate while adding power to increase airspeed.

Ah, but therein lies a trap with a pitot system that may be malfunctioning to give a false indication of speed. But a deep stall in a heavy commercial airplane should be accompanied by airframe buffet of some amount. Forget stick shakers and all that rubbish - you got one helluva stick shaker if your rattling around in your seat. I've never heard of a smooth 10,000 fpm descent in a nose high attitude accompanied by wing rock, have you? Transonic buffet at high airspeed differs markedly from stall buffet in terms of frequency and magnitude with the latter being unmistakable not to mention the classic characteristic of mach tuck (uncommanded nose down tendency) at high/transonic speed. So while its true that multiple warning indications in postmodern electric airplanes can be distracting especially when so much time and effort has been poured into mastering all that electronic gadgetry, basic aerodynamics hasn't changed nor will it in the foreseeable future

Simulators can be used quite effectively to train big-iron pilots to recognize stall characteristics of their particular machine to include deep stall and the required prevention/recovery technique. It can be practiced over and over until it's mastered. If we could build a moon landing simulator 40 plus years ago that was attested to by astronauts of the day to have a utility and fidelity essentially equal to the real thing thus eliminating any surprises, then you know we can eventually figure out how to simulate everything that went on in this accident. Accordingly pilots can be trained to tune out all the bells and whistles if necessary and rely on the basics of stick, rudder and throttle to fly the machine. Thus they can be trained to put themselves in the control loop and not simply rely on being a systems operator/monitor trying to assimilate all that data while acting on it in vain when the adrenalin is pumping and the ground/sea level is rushing up to meet them.
dmanuel 0
We are talking minutes, not seconds to troubleshoot and react to the problem. If what you are doing does not solve the problem, try something else. I heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.
Best I remember, there were about 3 1/2 minutes in there from top to bottom. With the total overwhelming from all the bells and whistles as well as bad info from the Airbus sooper dooper system, whether they had the training or not, I don't think they had the chance of a snowball in hell.To boot, I don't think this thing has been duplicated in a SIM yet. Can we say perfect storm??? I think John Dale has it right up here in his comments, DON't ARMCHAIR QB OR PASS JUDGEMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN THERE!
I didn't realize it then, but I saw this coming back in 1980. When I began flight training in 1965, my instructor was a WWII instructor who taught me to control the airplane. When we did power on stalls, he would haul the control back until we had a nose up angle of more than thirty degrees, and when a wing stalled, I damn sure knew it. Fast forward to 1980. During a check ride, the instructor called for a departure stall. I did it how I was taught, and scared the instructor. He grabbed the controls and slammed the elevators down. He advised me that is NOT how it is done now. Don't let the airplane stall, RECOGNIZE the stall coming. How the Hell are you going to know what to do when it does actually stall? I would hate to see what they are teaching now a days.
@Gary: I can appreciate what you are saying and you and your check ride instructor are both correct. You were trained how to handle a stall after it had happened. He was teaching you what I call a defensive manuever, to pay attention to what the plane was doing and don't get in that situation in the first place, kinda like defensive driving. It is obvious too many young ones these days are only taking a situation as it happens rather than remember they are trained not to go these places to commence with.
It sounds to me like the check ride instructor was in a stall once and didn't like it. And your justification sounds like something from the FARs.'to avoid a crash, stay out of the situation'. Not much of a mantra for training. One problem of many is that after a pilot graduates to large airplanes there is no further training for stalls. Big birds gobble too much gas and simulators aren't flexible enough. Perhaps there should be some mandatory time in smaller, affordable airplanes with emphasis on stall recovery, not just recognition.

There was another article earlier this week re: AAL at DFW. I insist the solution there was Needle/ball and airspeed pilotage. Fly the airplane first. 2 missed approaches in a 73,in clear air, were expensive, and probably not necessary because of a pressurization setting. It appears the Pilot in command forgot the primary responsibility to fly the aircraft first. It takes two people to land a 73, one to fly and one to read the check lists. You can't divide your time diagnosing a problem while in the pattern.
I dont think it was a lack of training that caused the crash. Profesional pilots would not do that if it was a normal stall that everyone says can be fixed from basic stick and rudder training. There must have been something more which would lead them to stalling the aircraft while not being aware of the situation.
I think it was a matter of too much superfluous information from the computer. This was no time to force the crew to pick the fly sh_ _ from the black pepper.
sbirch 0
As has been said, armchair piloting begs the question whether they reacted properly, but I would remind everyone of the following; neither FAA Part 25 (200-207) Transport Category Airworthiness Standards for certification nor EAA code specify any recovery standard for high altitude stalls are required to obtain aircraft certification. As a result, we really do NOT understand the characteristics or have a standard by which an aircraft must perform in that configuration. In addition, we really do not understand what the Airbus computers "allowed" them to do based on the air data computer. There are so many factors at work here beyond pilot error.

My guess is that all the ADs that have been issued should lead to a permanent change in the standards - as they should. NASA should also do more research on the subject to benefit all of us.
They just needed to stay straight and level, and leave the throttle alone! They failed to recognize that they were in alternate law, tried climbing the bleed off the extra speed they thought they had and then stalled all the way into the drink without ever reacting properly to the stall. Failure to react to recognize and react to an instrument failure, followed by an incorrect response and failure to recognize alternate law followed by failure to identify and recover from the stall they caused.
The heck of it all is, and what everybody seems to have gotten away from or to have forgotten, is that this whole mess was caused/started by an apparently bad or malfunctioning pitot tube which went sour and gave bad information, There had already been a recall on from Thales anyway and this aircraft was one that had the faulty tubes on it and was on the schedule to have them replaced. It just didn't make it.As with any computer system, Garbage in, Garbage out.
Simulating a high altitude stall is like this - Imagine having 50 percent of the normal power you have at low altitudes and you have the mushy feeling of slow flight in the controls. Now everytime you pitch up beyond a couple of degrees you enter a secondary stall. You can't add more power and you can't pitch up more than 2-3 degrees above a 7 degrees pitch down. Now imagine having an airspeed indicator that is telling you bad information. It is a deadly scenario at night and IMC as we have seen. Simple stall characteristics seen in normal scenarios don't apply.
You know John, ever since those boxes were recovered and more info has come out about what they went through and I am like you, I have seen and heard more arm chair quarterbacking than ever before and a whole lot of "shoulda, coulda, woulda" but like I have maintained from the gitgo, WE WEREN'T LOOKING OUT THEIR WINDSHIELD. To boot, by virtue of their hours and the seniority it would take to fly this route, these guys were not rank amateurs and probably had more hours in type than some of these guys have total. As you have so aptly put it, we all know what to do but these things will not manifest themselves alone. There are other things that come with them, and those can throw you off course, if you are not careful, before you ever work your way to the root cause of an upset.
Wayne you repeatedly mention "armchair pilot" mentality on this thread. If your aircraft is dropping out of the sky... literally. A/S indicator correct or not, at zero or frozen in one place. Why not fly the wing? Your at 37,000 ft or so. There's time to get the nose down even if your looking at -4000fpm. Stall recovery has nothing to do with power. Get the nose down and fly the wing. Isn't that what you would do.. MOST of us would do? So yeah its "armchair piloting" but if one of my crew was hauling back on the yoke in a stall I might suggest releasing the back pressure. BTW sitting in the front seat at cruise altitude for 8,000hrs while the skipper sleeps doesn't prepare you for a high altitude stall. Seniority is close to a no factor/ no help here. It truly comes down to classical and old school training.
Well, I mention that mentality only because a lot of us on this thread are making a rush to judgement about what the pilots should have done and what would seem basic to us but as John alluded to above and I said and have maintained all along, we weren't looking out their windshield and have absolutely no real idea what was going on inside that cockpit. The background noise on the CVR indicates to me that the panel was going completly beserk with alarms and false readings inside. If that was the case it would have probably overwhelmed anyone. Remember the Quantas A380 that blew the engine a few months back. As fate had it, there were 5 senior captains on that plane and 3-4 did nothing but answer alarms while the others flew the plane. Had they not been on there the outcome of that flight, by their own words, would have been a hell of a lot different. I can't help the fact that I am a Boeing man but I lay a lot of this to Airbus's sooper dooper system that ties everything completly together and at times will lock a pilot out of the loop to where he can't correct it. What has really came out in all this is what the pilot's did but there hasn't been much on how the aircraft responded. If they were totally overwhelmed and/or disoriented and dark, in weather, etc. they may not have known they were in a stall?
I know one thing about AF447 for sure and that is that we will never really know exactly what did happen. The mechanical portion may can be reconstructed and since the insurance companies and lawyers are involved, they will be trying to lay as much as possible on the men that are dead and can't defend themselves. Ain't nothing right about it but that's life. There may be some things that both Airbus and Air France may glean out of all this and quietly make some changes, but there won't be an impartial ruling/recommendation come out of this like we'd have with an NTSB investigation that let's the chips fall where they may. This will be a "BLAME IT ON/SCREW THE PILOTS DEAL before its over.
kbl2010 0
"armchair" pilots underestimate what it might take to recover from such a situation. Recovery may have taken 14.000fpm or more and a nose down of 15 degrees or more. I think no professionell pilot has ever seen this kind of "unusual" attitude in a commercial airliner... Even in Fullflightsimulators you cannot be sure if a high level stall is programmed realistic...

At the end it all depends if you all are willing to pay the price for all the crews being trained and kept current on basic and unusual attitude flying of big jets... With the current transatlantic fares we all should be greateful that the airlines do not put a flightattendent as a cruiserelief pilot in the cockpit..;-)
they should have known to push down to get the airspeed up so they can get enough airflow going over the wings so they could get out of the stall
Yea, sounds crazy doesn't it?
Here's your reference (from May 30, 2011 Aviation Week & Space Technology).

...At about the same time, the recorded speeds became invalid (which happens when speed is below 30 kt.) and the stall warning stopped. The aircraft was at an altitude of 35,000 ft. and the angle of attack exceeded 40 degrees with the aircraft falling by around 10,000 ft/min. The engines’ N1 was close to 100%.
At 2 hr. 12:02 min., the pilot flying said, “I don’t have any more indications.” Around 15 sec. later, the pilot flying made pitch down inputs and the angle of attack decreased, the speeds became valid and stall warning sounded, but no recovery took place.

and the link:

My dad & I are both serious pilots and read this journal cover-to-cover.
Hey fellows. Yea, I know it sounds crazy but here's an excerpt (May 30, 2011) from Av Week (link is below):

At about the same time, the recorded speeds became invalid (which happens when speed is below 30 kt.) and the stall warning stopped.
With the latest release of information from the cockpit, it seems that in extreme situations more training would be valuable. How often or does the crew work together on a number of flights? Like here where too many pilots/crew do not get enough sleep, where reactions resulting from not as clear thinking, or poor standards in testing situations? I think of flight # 3407 and how they pulled up, too, then crashed. It all is a sad story.
Automation was suppose to end pilot error. However, when the imputs to the computer fails it reverts to the pilots skills. Today, airline managements discourage hand flying the airplane, thus, maintaining the skills required are not there when needed.
James, I totally agree with this- A united 777 captain was my Designated Examiner for my CFII, he told me that he barely flies at work - well, flew. In fact, you need to have a certain number of auto-land (Cat CIII and III) practice approaches, and between long haul flying, and trading off from PF to PNF, he was lucky to actually land the plane from time to time. This is a real problem. Some airlines actually contracted out aerobatics training for their pilots, so get them back in touch with real stick and rudder flying again. When at mesa, the CRJ900 had the thrust to reach FL410 but not the lift to sustain it, and in the "coffin corner" where overspeed and stall were nearly touching (maybe 10 knots or so apart, we saw some high altitude stalls occur at our company when we first started flying the newer bigger version of the CRJ. The company restricted us from climbing above 390 I think, maybe even lower, and we all had to do high altitude stall training. It was excellent to see how the plane can get away from you, especially when the yaw damp fails and you dutch roll while stalling with no vis at night.The inputs did feel counter intuitive. I would be surprised if Crappy Mesa airlines did this kind of excellent training and a large flag carrier like air france did not. I am not sure if they do or don't. But on that transcript the when the captain came to the cockpit, funny how he knew immediately what to do, it was just not executed or it was too late with that 15k descent rate, They simply should not have pilots at the helm of these planes who don't have those same instincts to do the right thing
LarryQB 0
Basic stick and rudder skills are obviously important, but equally important is analyzing the problem. In the case of the Colgan crash I believe the pilots thought they were in a tail plane stall rather than the wing stall they were actually in. They reacted properly to a tail plane stall scenario by raising the nose and retracting the flaps. Unfortunatel that wasn't the problem... and being casual about their job was a factor.
The simulator could be programmed to better replicate the stall of the aircraft. However, it cannot do it exactly like the airplane for a number of reasons.

The biggest problem is that there is no requirement to teach stalls in transport aircraft so there is no requirement for the simulator to replicate the aircraft in this regard.

Most civilian pilots only see full stalls when doing their initial training for their first license in small single engine aircraft.
I am getting in late, but I like the discussions by Bookout and Dale. I have read what has been released and can't imagine having a 'feel' for the plane using a joy stick for a control. One item bothers me. A modern and certified airliner goes to almost zero airspeed and continues to fall nose up. Something has to be done about the pitot. We flew Canberras at that altitude all the time. Don't remember any problems with pitot heat.
And full stall. My recollection is that an ATP is not taught that. He is taught to detect it long before and 'never stall.' Of course they did a long time before in earlier training. . . .
@Donald: I remember the modified WB-57's from my USAF days at Kirtland in the late 60's and remember one tipping a wing and cartwheeling through base OPS and down the aero club ramp, ending up at one of the fire station doors, making a heck of a mess of things(I was on the rescue chopper then, woking out of the FSO). Can't remember if there were fatalaties or not. That said, other than occasional failure, you don't hear of major problems with pitot's, BUT, in the case of AF447, there was already a recall on them by the mfg, Thales, and AF had began replacement, AND this aircraft was on the list to have them replaced but it just didn't make it.There had to have been total disorientation in the cockpit to fall for 3.5 min and not be able to tell it. You are correct about the training. Depending on where you get it, it may vary a little but now, even though stalls are well practiced now in initial training, early detection is also getting in there,or at least was. Like anything else, a good pilot should instinctively stay as far away from that point as he can.
Thanks for the reply. Fortunately, I was not in that WB-57 [in fact did not know of it].
After each one of these AF447 articles I read, my personal opinion is pretty much unchanged after an entire year. On one hand you can say that an orchestra of warning lights, buzzers, and indicators coupled with the reality of the situation while flying through an intense storm presents and accident-prone environment. But on the other hand, part of being a pilots is the ability to handle an ugly situation and not let it get the best of you.
basic stick and rudder skills lacking. probably not the full fault of the crew, too often in todays modern aircraft all training centers on the auto flight systems. I flew with very intelligent co pilots that could name all the numbers, punch all the buttons but had no "feel" for the airplane, crosswind landings with them was a hoot! they had no idea where the wheels were or what the airplane was doing, simply put, they drove it to impact. I found from 767 on down in size they all responded fine to a bit of cross control/wing down a bit into the wind.
Sadly this crew probably had no concept of "unload the wing" in a stall ... these poor guys just kept pulling back ... sad but true. they or their training dept forgot that pilots fly the airplane when all goes south.
Sad but true. 447 and their lack of basic skills or inability to use them, has been talked to death here on FA and other places and will be for eons.Pulling back is a natual human type instinct when the opposite is what's needed. Same thing happend to Colgan Air at Buffalo. There was complacency then reaction with disastrous results. There will never be a substitute for stick & rudder and basic skills that take over narturally when the bells and whistles fail.
Straight from the FARs. 'To avoid a crash stay out of the situation.' Not much of a training method. Sounds more like the check ride instructor was in a stall once and didn't like it. one problem is that once pilots graduate to large aircraft there is no further training other than chalk talks with regard to stalls. Big birds gobble too much gas and simulators aren't flexible enough. Maybe there should be some mandatory time in smaller airplanes emphasizing stall recovery.
They simply flew a flawed, but flyable aircraft into the ocean. AF, Airbus, and the pilot's union are in the butt-covering mode.
I disagree SLIGHTLY steve. I agree after an accident airlines only REALLY care about "damage control" and not about the people really. And i Do agree the airbus product is subpar, but the pilot union has nothing to gain by "covering this up'... in fact, it would be in the pilot unions best interests to show that good, well trained pilots are worth the investment. Airlines love these inexperienced low hour "cruise crews" - it saves them a boatload of cash - they see it as a statistic - most crashes happen during landing and takeoff. Shame on them. And yes, Id love to fly "heavy metal" but cant because of greed. So as a pilot, and an ALPA pilot, I LOVE the fact that people are getting the truth.

The only thing about releasing these to the public is that those crewmembers were husbands and fathers, etc etc, and when cockpit voice recorders were installed we pilots were promised our final words would be private, for the investigation and for our families only - and of course it gets leaked out and becomes just another false promise of privacy. How would someone like every blemish, every mistake, and your dying words plastered all over the place. What if my final words are private prayer, or a final "i love you" to my wife and daughter - does the word have to hear those parts?
You obviously have some union pay axe to grind. What about the families of all those pax in the back that should still be with their loved ones? Thes guys didn't crash on t/o or landing, they dropped from level cruise at FL30+. Unions always protect the poor performers...been to the post office lately?
Ahh, got it - your a hater - and given what you just said about the post office, which vaguely insinuates that I sent in my vote to unionize at the company I work for, you probably have a handful of wrong information about me as a person, a leader, my ethics or really anything about me at all. Unions are not evil or good - each one has its own "personality" if you will , and this discussion isn't about a union anyway, So why don't you take your special interest out of this IMPORTANT and real problem in aviation that requires attention so more people don't die - can you handle that?

Its about how good pilots aren't flying the heavy metal - specifically during cruise flight for this discussion, where the companies use cheap labor. Its not a PAY AXE to grind since I don't work for Air France - and anyone on this forum can see that. I flew for both union and non-union companies and have to tell you that there was a lot of firing taking place for bad performance at Mesa airlines (a union shop) and none of us had a problem with that. Not the union, pilot group, or management. And we had some EXCELLENT pilots there - I mean, If one word was wrong on call outs on memory items it was a failure. Thats strict, and that pressure made a better pilot and thus a safer airline.

Why you turned this into a union discussion is beyond me, and since I am was in a highly visible role at work, my guess is you know exactly who I am since I use my real name and are making some very stupid comments because of a union drive at work. I on the other hand have no idea who you are and really don't care. Its not about me, its about the airlines hiring subpar pilots, to SAVE MONEY - and now yet another plane full of dead bodies are proof that things have to change... so that good pilots, LOTS of good pilots don't go to other jobs like nursing, or real estate etc etc because of airlines use of bankruptcies to destroy their financial security - and hire cheap labor. Never-mind the dead folks?? Who the hell do you think you are?

My comment is simple, there should not be subpar, right out of flight school "cruise pilot" flying a large jet with hundreds of people overseas on a flag carrier. Do you have any problem with that comment MR. Emery or whatever your real name is, for all I know it is your real name, I don't care either way - Because if you have a problem with that, tell that to the faces of the victims families and I will let them fix your "unusual attitude."

If you have something against me and want to talk to me, email me at, or call me at 847-344-9010 and we can yell at each other all day - but don't divert the attention from the death of hundreds because your an idiot - this isn't about you and it isn't about me, its about the industry -
idk who you are...but you obvioulsy have too much time on you hands...nice rant though
give me a call - explain the post office remark, Im all ears
perhaps English your 2nd language...lighten up Francis...
Actually English is my 2nd language - thanks for proving how ignorant and bigoted you are. And cowardly since you don't have the testicular fortitude to call or email me yourself you're nothing but an insignificant little man. Try lightening it with humor but everyone sees WHAT you are.

I never commented on any of your posts with an attack on YOU - and you hide behind the curtain of the internet. And I believe you missed the verb in your sentence if you want to be nit picky about my writing, "perhaps english IS your 2nd language" would have been the proper way of writing that you ignoramus.

And still, I invite you to argue face to face and not on a forum that discusses the unnecessary death of hundreds on an Air France Flight - the discussion is huge, and the more people pay attention to the problems in our industry the sooner we can fix them. So no, I won't "lighten up" when it comes to an industry that cuts corners whenever it can, and actually does analysis to see if repairing a known problem will cost more than paying lawsuits of the victims - and choosing to act on whichever costs less.

My agenda is for people to know what is really going on out there, and demand change. And you are the only one who seems to not care. But what if your ass was in a seat on that flight STEVE? do you think people should just calm down and not talk about things, and maybe bring about some change? Would you be going down in a 15,000 feet per minute stall with an inexperienced cruise crew pulling back on the stick rather than lowering the nose - chanting anti union songs all the way down - I didn't think so.

Automation is excellent to an extent, it has saved many more lives than it has cost. But Airbus aircraft not allowing pilots to do maneuvers outside its normal envelope WILL cause fatalities. And having inexperienced crews will too. And yes, I have a very big bone to pick with seeing my friends and colleagues that are better suited for the job not getting hired so that those airlines can save a few bucks and pass it out as executive bonuses.

And the funny thing is that I am a REPUBLICAN - but it seems that free market and GREED have been used interchangeably. its not. I believe in "compassionate capitalism" And it should be okay to say whats on your mind without being called out. The constitution grants us freedom of speech but people like you try to silence others with comments like yours regarding "all my free time" and "been to the post office recently". You don't scare me - whoever you are.

People put their trust in us when we fly them from place to place, and we shouldn't be afraid to say that there is something wrong with the way things are done. And I've felt that way when I was in training and now, nearly 22 years later. So its not like I just changed my story because it benefits me....

1. Make airbus allow the pilots to maneuver however they like - no limited control inputs
2. High altitude stall training every 6 months
3. No use of low hour "cruise crews"
4. No more "human cost" vs "repair cost" comparisons
5. A third pilot static system so that when one is compromised the two remaining clearly indicate what is happening
6. Build quality of airbus needs to be improved, tail snapping off on two different flights, engine falling off a flight shortly after 9/11
what are you like 12?

this story is about piloting/lack therof, not pay and bennies, which you seem to have serious personal angst over

stop whining about what the Exec's make (jealous much?)
...your picket line chant posts don't solve the problem
Still waiting for your call Steve - like I said - your on the wrong thread for this and should be ashamed of yourself. If you have anything else to say, lets step outside - this is about DEAD PASSENGERS - not your platform to take shots at me personally.
ok, over're like 7

the shame is all on you partner

I will follow the rest of the board and ignore you now
And yet you keep posting a response - you're hilarious! And spineless for not calling. Why don't you give me that call and talk to me man-to-man rather than hijack this thread. Steve, Cameron, whatever you want to call yourself - its getting old. You say the "shame is all on you partner" and yet your comment to me is what sparked this discussion. If you have a problem with me, be a man - i'm waiting! I know people like you have multiple screen names and converse with themselves, I am waiting for those to come out of the woodwork to show "the aviation community" agreeing with you. Maybe you cant afford the call, OK, give me your phone number and I will call you. The fact is I have nothing to hide, and all you have is rude comments and an agenda. I chimed in with my personal opinions about how to stop this kind of accident from happening again... or do you own this internet?
A friend once said there are things you shouldn't do - 1. Never piss into the wind. 2. Never fly on an Airbus Plane . I forgot the rest !
David: you said never fly ON one. I personally don't want to have to learn how to fly one of them things.LOL
skylab72 0
That other one is, Don't tug on Supermans cape...
And honestly I'd rather not even fly IN an AB anything.
Where was the backup instruments required by certification? Reminds me of the pilots on an old 727 out of NYC, "look at that airspeed, pull her back some more, let her climb" In reality the pitot tubes had frozen over....resulting in a false high airspeed
The back ups were there, but they failed too. Yup trippkle redundancy wasn't enough. Airbus has redesigned the pitot tubes. Too much information is as dangerous as not enough. A rolling computer screen display of error information meant for the maintenance folks was of NO particular use to the flight crew. I'm told the computerized airspeed indicator is not even in the easiest place to view in the Airbus display. Your eyes have to search for it. I don't think there is a stick shaker in the Airbus unlike the Boeing's. And it certainly appears that the French are more interested in saving face than fixing the problems. When there are only 2 minutes to reverse a crash there is no time to misunderstand an order. Everybody on deck has to know how to fly the airplane.
It would be great if all airlines would re-produce that situation in the sim. so it never happens again!
Jim: I don't know if they can
Completely agree with you gusthedog. We apparently need to go back to basics with airline training then throw in the automated programming / button pushing training.
These guys were fighting so much on so many levels. As military pilots, probably, they are engineers trained to identify and fix problems, as pilots they are taught to fly the aircraft first all the while ignoring their human reaction to duck and cover. The French air minister has to bow to pressure to white wash Airbus, partly owned by the French. Easy then to blame the dead guys. No one is talking about the Airbus pitot tubes or computerized controls just the flight crews reactions. We've all watched computer screens roll on and on listing information good and bad so fast you can't see it never mind read and understand it. These guys had about two minutes give or take 30 seconds to identify, all the problems, sort out the flying concerns and react correctly from an overwhelming report to the maintenance people in Paris. They never stood a chance.
Well said, Mark. You know, one thing the USAF recognized a good while back was that a pilot cannot digest all information that it is possible to feed him what with the onset of the computer age. Besides even trying to, it was taking away time needed to engage an enemy aircraft or concentrate on the mission at hand. This became very notable in development of the F22 Raptor, went a little backwards into some older aircraft and is a primary part of development in anything new. Instead of just broadcasting all that info out there, it can now be accessed if needed but for simplicity sake and talking, it kinda all gets to be combined if not immediately relevant.Boeing has taken some steps toward this with their glass but I kinda think Airbus has taken it a step or 2 too far, based on what I have read and seen. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Your last line is very correct.
Thanks. I have always been a believer that too much information is as bad or worse than not enough. I call it the War Games Syndrome. Most younger folks have seen the movie. Looks like Airbus subscribes to the theory that computers and robots can do it better, just like in the movie. Too bad we can't program ALL the choices, but then we don't know all the choices do we. Our own arrogance will be our downfall. We can't even build a flight simulator to simulate ALL the conditions. I have a picture in my mind of some low level engineer "improving" the aerodynamics of the pitot tubes without considering the aspects of "super chilled" water and it slips through the cracks of a busy day.


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