Air France 447
9 years ago, doesn’t it make you feel old that 9 years ago Air France 447 vanished without a trace?
June 1st 2009, Air France 447 took off from Rio en route to Paris. The overnight flight would cross the Equator which was known for vicious storms. Three men were in-charge of the aircraft.
The captain, 58-year-old Marc Dubois joined in February 1988 and had 10,988 flying hours,
The first officer, co-pilot in left seat, 37-year-old David Robert had joined Air France in July 1998 and had 6,547 flying hours,
The first officer, co-pilot in right seat, 32-year-old Pierre-Cédric Bonin had joined Air France in October 2003 and had 2,936 flight hours, (not much more than me on IF yet the things he did was Grade 1 worthy.)
The two first officers were in charge of the aircraft as it headed into the storms. The pitot tubes froze over as it headed into the storm. This caused the speed indicators to go offline and the autopilot to switch off. Normally pilots just keep the plane level till the autopilot comes back on 1 minute later. However, Pierre pulled the plane into a 7000ft/m climb. More than twice that of a normal climb just after takeoff. More than 10 times what is normal at that altitude. The plane stalled shortly after and the alarm went off.
This alarm went off 75 times before the plane crashed. Yet Pierre kept the nose back till shortly before the crash.
Once Dubois had returned and realised that Pierre was stalling an A330, he ordered to relinquish the controls and lower the nose. However, at 2000ft the plane GPWS warning went off telling the pilots to climb. They attempted to climb but the plane did not have enough room or speed. It crashed at 02hours14minutes28.4seconds.
228 people died making it the deadliest crash of an A330 ever, and the first A330 to have loss of life in commercial service.
As we get closer to the possible recovery of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, we have to remember lots of other planes have vanished into the water and taken years to find. Air France 447 crashed on June 1st, it took till June 8th for floating debris and bodies to be found. And took nearly two years for the debris at 3800metres to be found. Hold on tight, MH370 will be found, hopefully next week but maybe next year. Let this be a reminder it can happen
Video reconstructions and documentaries:
The Sydney Morning Herald. (2011). Bodies found in Air France wreckage. [online] Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/world/bodies-found-in-air-france-wreckage-20110405-1czx5.html [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].
Wikipedia. (2018) Air France Flight 447. [online] Available at:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447 [Accessed 1 June. 2018]
Stark, L. and BARRETT, K. (2009). Jet’s Tail Could Lead to Answers. [online] ABC News. Available at: https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/International/story?id=7800378&page=1 [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].