There's no mystery about the crash. The A320 was brand new technology and there was a perception that it was stall-proof. Possibly the crew believed it would always get them out of trouble.
The crew did a low speed fly-by at an airshow, IIRC not approved in advance. The aircraft was configured for landing. It floated down the runway at idle maintaining height with airspeed bleeding off. Without sufficient kinetic energy all the FBW could do was slowly increase angle of attack, getting ever nearer to a stall. At alpha floor, thrust automatically increases to GA
power (even if the thrust levers are at idle) which would enable the aircraft to climb away. The aircraft did what it was designed to do, but because the crew did not apply thrust early enough there was no way it could climb and avoid the trees. The aircraft was simply flying too slowly.
The crew claimed the engines would not respond and the altimeters were reading 100 ft when the aircraft was actually as low as 30 ft.
Who knows whether Norbert Jacquet should have been put in mental institutions or not. There is medical evidence that he is entirely sane. There were also rumours circulating that the black boxes were tampered with or swapped to protect Airbus. However even without such recordings, the sound of the engines spooling up as the aircraft enters the trees is enough information to realise why the aircraft crashed, if not who was responsible. There was no fault with the FBW system, just human error.
[Edited 2010-01-02 13:13:45 by jetlagged]
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