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Revelation
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Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 1:20 pm

Still subject to one more round of appeals, but:

Air France (AIRF.PA) and Airbus (AIR.PA) should stand trial for involuntary manslaughter over their role in a 2009 crash in the Atlantic that killed 228 people, the Paris court of appeal ruled on Wednesday.
....
Wednesday's ruling upheld new demands for a trial of both companies from senior prosecutors who have accused Air France of pilot training failures and Airbus for underestimating dangers posed by known problems with the speed sensors.

Ref: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 2021-05-12
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Aesma
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 2:26 pm

Seeing the victims' families tearing up at the announcement is very sad. They really think this will bring them some peace, I doubt it will. We're 12 years after the accident, we know the causes, we know the main culprit died with their loved ones... AF or Airbus getting at worst fines (which will be small since it's France), and probably no single individual sentenced for anything, will not do much. Also they said they want their loved ones to be recognized as "victims". Well, they were always recognized as victims. Of a terrible accident. Not some dark conspiracy.
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FLYBY72
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 2:44 pm

"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.
 
CRJockey
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 2:53 pm

FLYBY72 wrote:
"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


No, it means "The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation".
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 3:30 pm

FLYBY72 wrote:
"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.

Textbook corporate double-speak, devoid of any compassion.

Yes, it's no conclusion, but it's a step in the direction of a conclusion, a step you opposed and lost.
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 3:35 pm

FLYBY72 wrote:
"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


Do you realise how many aircraft are flying around with faulty equipment on board every day?

Grounding the world wide fleet of A330/ A340 due a handful of icing incidents of which the flights landed without incident would have been totally unnecessary.
 
ikramerica
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 3:47 pm

French law requires criminal blame assignment for unnatural death. This is how a mechanic in Houston who repaired a CO engine could be charged for the crash of Concorde. A faulty design combined with a Rube Goldberg series of events leads to a pound of flesh.

That said, as soon as we heard the confusion regarding the stall warning system I felt there was going to an attempt to coverup by Airbus and AF, because it was a poorly implemented system and AF pilots were completely unprepared to deal with what they were hearing.
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ILNFlyer
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 3:54 pm

After the MAX fiasco I'm quite glad to see this decision. Government oversight of airlines and manufacturers has become too lax IMO, at least here in the US.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 3:56 pm

FLYBY72 wrote:
They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


No aircraft is certified for flight into severe icing conditions.
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Opus99
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 4:14 pm

Why is Airbus being sued by though? Shouldn’t this be more on Air France?
 
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armagnac2010
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 4:17 pm

The real question is: why a pilot kept pulling on the stick for 53s with a stall warning, going through the deterrent buffet etc.. Not sure there is a response, and not sure a court case will help resolve it.

Most European countries lack the public hearings system which, despite some faults, allows for debate and review of all possible causses associated with a major accidents. The only alternative is going to criminal court, which is not really satisfactory; while it is supposed to establish the truth, the legal proceedings and lawyers makes it very disconnected from the reality.

Another high profile case in Europe case is the Spanair MD-82 event (flight JK5022). Families have created their own lobbying organisation, which is is now even recognised at ICAO: http://www.aircrashvictims.com
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 4:53 pm

Opus99 wrote:
Why is Airbus being sued by though? Shouldn’t this be more on Air France?


Standard Legal Operating Procedure - throw enough brown smelly stuff and hope some of it sticks. Doesn't matter to whom it sticks.
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Heinkel
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 5:55 pm

Everybody, who uses an aircraft should be aware, that there is the risk of a fatal crash. The risk is very low but it is real.

So when you - or your loved ones - can't cope with that, stay at home.

I find it a bit strange, to call the realtives, who lost someone in the accident are called "victims". The real victims were the passengers on board. Otherwise we are all victims, because everyone of us has lost loved ones during the past years due to many reasons.

I'm quite sure, the lawsuit is pushed by greedy lawyers. What do they expect from such a court case? The only people, who will win are the lawyers. They can make millions. For all others it is a waste of money.

And what is the consequence: Next time, when you buy a ticket, you have to read and sign a ten page legal disclaimer in fine print, that in case of an accident, neither you nor your relatives will bring an action against the airline, the aircraft's OEM, the airport, the manufacturer of the tires of the a/c etc. Ridiculous.

Only the lawyers and the bureaucracy wins.
 
bourbon
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 6:19 pm

CRJockey wrote:
FLYBY72 wrote:
"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


No, it means "The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation".


Who cares about faulty vanes. If you’re a pilot with 100+ hours, you’re straight and level and have a known engine parameter at straight level flight you should have a general ball park range of what airspeed the aircraft is at. That’s the most pathetic and disgusting thing about this whole crash. I find most lawsuits frivolous - but the families members of this accident should absolutely be infuriated at the flight crews incompetence to notice something was off yet they had engine power and were in cruise.
Last edited by bourbon on Wed May 12, 2021 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
FLYBY72
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 6:20 pm

Kindanew wrote:
FLYBY72 wrote:
"The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation," Airbus said in an emailed statement.


Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


Do you realise how many aircraft are flying around with faulty equipment on board every day?

Grounding the world wide fleet of A330/ A340 due a handful of icing incidents of which the flights landed without incident would have been totally unnecessary.



Well, the people that were killed and their families might disagree with you. They knew there was a problem, figured the crews could handle the malfunction and decided to wait. They were wrong. 3 crews prior to the Lion Air MAX crash landed without incident as well. Even though the news only reports the one crew prior. If you read the full report you will see where the CA was discussing the previous 2 write-ups.
 
CRJockey
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 9:21 pm

bourbon wrote:
CRJockey wrote:
FLYBY72 wrote:

Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


No, it means "The court decision that has just been announced does not reflect in any way the conclusions of the investigation".


Who cares about faulty vanes. If you’re a pilot with 100+ hours, you’re straight and level and have a known engine parameter at straight level flight you should have a general ball park range of what airspeed the aircraft is at. That’s the most pathetic and disgusting thing about this whole crash. I find most lawsuits frivolous - but the families members of this accident should absolutely be infuriated at the flight crews incompetence to notice something was off yet they had engine power and were in cruise.


I do care about faulty vanes, the AF447 crew did, OEMs do and regulators do.
That’s why there are SOPs, training, design changes and regulatory action to deal with faulty vanes.

The rest of your post is the usual half-informed. Because they actually did notice something was off, hence they reacted. Their reaction to it was far from ideal, as in so far from ideal that if they hadn’t touched anything, nothing would have happened.

They brought the aircraft unnecessarily into a state they couldn’t figure out anymore what’s happening.

Yes, it shouldn’t have happened like it did. But that goes for many accidents. I recommend leaving this „they were so stupid and incompetent“ stuff out of it and concentrate on learning how to prevent such tragedy for the future. You know, the way accident investigation and follow up should work.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 9:25 pm

FLYBY72 wrote:
Kindanew wrote:
FLYBY72 wrote:

Meaning, we got away with it and want to keep it that way.

They knew the vanes were faulty and didn't ground the aircraft that used them.


Do you realise how many aircraft are flying around with faulty equipment on board every day?

Grounding the world wide fleet of A330/ A340 due a handful of icing incidents of which the flights landed without incident would have been totally unnecessary.


They knew there was a problem, figured the crews could handle the malfunction and decided to wait.


Just imagine a system like MEL items or even implementation times for ADs years out in the future would exist. Well, how dangerous flying would be.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Wed May 12, 2021 10:34 pm

If you’re suing Airbus and AF, why aren’t they suing the regulators for allowing this flight? Let’s put names of people in the suit—the actual approval authority names of the training, of the AFM which provided procedural guidance, the instructors that may have failed to properly cover every possible pitot-static malfunction, the training plan approvers within Airbus, AF and EASA. Accidents have many causes and individuals responsible, not corporate entities who are faceless, nameless bodies.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 1:34 am

ILNFlyer wrote:
After the MAX fiasco I'm quite glad to see this decision. Government oversight of airlines and manufacturers has become too lax IMO, at least here in the US.


This is very different to the Max, there AF447 aircraft did not put any control inputs into the aircraft. The aircraft entered an area of severe icing, where they exceeded the certification limits for both the probes and the aircraft. There are limits to which any aircraft is certified to, outside of those limits they are in unknown territory.

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

This is in significant contrast to SJ182 or the Max where the aircraft produced a hazardous transients and in my view did not comply with FAR 25.1329, excessive loads were applied.

The best analogy with the AF447 situation would be driving into black ice with your car, no car is designed to function on black ice as there is no traction. The AF447 crew actions were like putting on full gas and locking the steering in one direction and then trying to blame the car not having traction as it goes out of control because of the full gas and the locked steering. No court would say the car is at fault in such a situation.

CRJockey wrote:
Who cares about faulty vanes.


The pitot tubes were not faulty, they iced over in severe icing conditions which exceeded the environmental conditions that were required by regulations. When they exited the severe icing conditions the air data had recovered.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
rigo
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:10 am

Opus99 wrote:
Why is Airbus being sued by though? Shouldn’t this be more on Air France?


I'm also puzzled by this. If there was a known defect, it should have been the EASA's job to issue a directive to replace the faulty Pitot tubes and possibly ground the A330 fleet if/as appropriate. Unless they can prove that Airbus knew of the issue and tried to swipe it under the carpet.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:54 am

rigo wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
Why is Airbus being sued by though? Shouldn’t this be more on Air France?


I'm also puzzled by this. If there was a known defect, it should have been the EASA's job to issue a directive to replace the faulty Pitot tubes and possibly ground the A330 fleet if/as appropriate. Unless they can prove that Airbus knew of the issue and tried to swipe it under the carpet.


It should be on both AF for inadequate pilot training (as I have pointed out many times before) and Airbus. But Airbus more for the cockpit design which is still in common use and the authorities allowed to be used on the A350.

More people died in the AF447 and AirAsia disasters than the MAX disasters.

The difference is that (hopefully) the problem with the MAX has been fixed. Airbus has addressed the problem with the Probes but the Gemini era Joystick(no feedback, no cross linking) control is still being used.

I'll be stunned if the initiative the regulators are talking about in terms of the Future cockpit design that Boeing will have to follow for NMA doesn't take into account MAX, AF447 and AirAsia 8501 and we have seen the last Airbus clean sheet with non-linked/non-force feedback joy sticks that may need to be placed more front and center.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 4:22 am

This is the final judgement of the French BEA.


https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 20090601-0


The BEA's final report, released at a news conference on 5 July 2012, concluded that the aircraft crashed after temporary inconsistencies between the airspeed measurements—likely due to the aircraft's pitot tubes being obstructed by ice crystals—caused the autopilot to disconnect, after which the crew reacted incorrectly and ultimately caused the aircraft to enter an aerodynamic stall, from which it did not recover.[3]:79[4]:7[5] The accident is the deadliest in the history of Air France, as well as the deadliest aviation accident involving the Airbus A330.[6]


There was no severe icing conditions.


Weather conditions in the mid-Atlantic were normal for the time of year, and included a broad band of thunderstorms along the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).[95] A meteorological analysis of the area surrounding the flight path showed a mesoscale convective system extending to an altitude of around 50,000 feet (15,000 m) above the Atlantic Ocean before Flight 447 disappeared.[96][97][98][99] During its final hour, Flight 447 encountered areas of light turbulence.[100]

Commercial air transport crews routinely encounter this type of storm in this area.[101] With the aircraft under the control of its automated systems, one of the main tasks occupying the cockpit crew was that of monitoring the progress of the flight through the ITCZ, using the on-board weather radar to avoid areas of significant turbulence.[102] Twelve other flights had recently shared more or less the same route that Flight 447 was using at the time of the accident.[103][104]


http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europ ... index.html
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 4:30 am

zeke wrote:
ILNFlyer wrote:
After the MAX fiasco I'm quite glad to see this decision. Government oversight of airlines and manufacturers has become too lax IMO, at least here in the US.


This is very different to the Max, there AF447 aircraft did not put any control inputs into the aircraft. The aircraft entered an area of severe icing, where they exceeded the certification limits for both the probes and the aircraft. There are limits to which any aircraft is certified to, outside of those limits they are in unknown territory.

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

This is in significant contrast to SJ182 or the Max where the aircraft produced a hazardous transients and in my view did not comply with FAR 25.1329, excessive loads were applied.

The best analogy with the AF447 situation would be driving into black ice with your car, no car is designed to function on black ice as there is no traction. The AF447 crew actions were like putting on full gas and locking the steering in one direction and then trying to blame the car not having traction as it goes out of control because of the full gas and the locked steering. No court would say the car is at fault in such a situation.

CRJockey wrote:
Who cares about faulty vanes.


The pitot tubes were not faulty, they iced over in severe icing conditions which exceeded the environmental conditions that were required by regulations. When they exited the severe icing conditions the air data had recovered.



There was no evidence of severe icing conditions. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europ ... index.html


Key Quote:

"Airlines confirmed that at least a dozen aircraft departed roughly at the same time and traversed approximately the same route, but did not report problematic weather conditions." The accident report (link above) also makes zero mention of unusual icing conditions. Those those interested in what really happened here is a link to the report.


https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 20090601-0
Last edited by ElroyJetson on Thu May 13, 2021 4:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
acecrackshot
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 12:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
If you’re suing Airbus and AF, why aren’t they suing the regulators for allowing this flight? Let’s put names of people in the suit—the actual approval authority names of the training, of the AFM which provided procedural guidance, the instructors that may have failed to properly cover every possible pitot-static malfunction, the training plan approvers within Airbus, AF and EASA. Accidents have many causes and individuals responsible, not corporate entities who are faceless, nameless bodies.


Because no flight would ever leave the ground.

At some point, risk needs to be accepted, and if airlines and operators are executing within the bounds of established regulatory guidance, they are definitionally not negligent.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 2:05 pm

zeke wrote:

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

.


We are all human and Airbus did its best to design a flight envelope to protect us from our human mistakes. Zeke has done an excellent summation of what happened, and after reading it, one can understand the family of the victims grief and anger. This was poor airmanship pure and simple. Went flying with a friend and this topic came up. After flying out of a stall a couple of times, it angers me still that three pilots could not figure out basic airmanship 101. But to be fair, none of us were there staring at a black sky and hearing a cacophony of warning sirens. If only they would have flown level.

If they would have flown through the icing region would the aircraft revert back to normal law on its own, or does it have to be "reset"?
 
ILNFlyer
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 2:11 pm

zeke wrote:
ILNFlyer wrote:
After the MAX fiasco I'm quite glad to see this decision. Government oversight of airlines and manufacturers has become too lax IMO, at least here in the US.


This is very different to the Max, there AF447 aircraft did not put any control inputs into the aircraft. The aircraft entered an area of severe icing, where they exceeded the certification limits for both the probes and the aircraft. There are limits to which any aircraft is certified to, outside of those limits they are in unknown territory.

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

This is in significant contrast to SJ182 or the Max where the aircraft produced a hazardous transients and in my view did not comply with FAR 25.1329, excessive loads were applied.

The best analogy with the AF447 situation would be driving into black ice with your car, no car is designed to function on black ice as there is no traction. The AF447 crew actions were like putting on full gas and locking the steering in one direction and then trying to blame the car not having traction as it goes out of control because of the full gas and the locked steering. No court would say the car is at fault in such a situation.

CRJockey wrote:
Who cares about faulty vanes.


The pitot tubes were not faulty, they iced over in severe icing conditions which exceeded the environmental conditions that were required by regulations. When they exited the severe icing conditions the air data had recovered.


Thank you for that very interesting insight. Most helpful.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 2:19 pm

acecrackshot wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
If you’re suing Airbus and AF, why aren’t they suing the regulators for allowing this flight? Let’s put names of people in the suit—the actual approval authority names of the training, of the AFM which provided procedural guidance, the instructors that may have failed to properly cover every possible pitot-static malfunction, the training plan approvers within Airbus, AF and EASA. Accidents have many causes and individuals responsible, not corporate entities who are faceless, nameless bodies.


Because no flight would ever leave the ground.

At some point, risk needs to be accepted, and if airlines and operators are executing within the bounds of established regulatory guidance, they are definitionally not negligent.


My point exactly, it makes nice headlines to sue faceless institutions. Understand the number of layers of “Swiss cheese” and you understand the complexity of the risk and futility of assigning it to an corporate entity and we know governments get sovereign immunity or, at least, the ability to set the arena.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:04 pm

william wrote:
zeke wrote:

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

.


We are all human and Airbus did its best to design a flight envelope to protect us from our human mistakes. Zeke has done an excellent summation of what happened, and after reading it, one can understand the family of the victims grief and anger. This was poor airmanship pure and simple. Went flying with a friend and this topic came up. After flying out of a stall a couple of times, it angers me still that three pilots could not figure out basic airmanship 101. But to be fair, none of us were there staring at a black sky and hearing a cacophony of warning sirens. If only they would have flown level.

If they would have flown through the icing region would the aircraft revert back to normal law on its own, or does it have to be "reset"?


The final report from the French BEA cited poor airmanship as the primary cause of the accident as you stated. Not sure how this lawsuit can find Airbus culpable.
 
acecrackshot
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:14 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
The final report from the French BEA cited poor airmanship as the primary cause of the accident as you stated. Not sure how this lawsuit can find Airbus culpable.


For starters, if there had been previous cases of full ADC loss or conflicting ADC Data presentation, and no corresponding procedures or warnings to operators presented, then Airbus would be clearly negligent in not providing direction to the crew.

I can think of a full ADC loss event in a A310 aircraft prior to AF447. Now, I understand the apples to oranges comparison, but to say there was no possibility would be incorrect. There was all sorts of data that anti-icing elements of the pitot/static could fail, correct?

Further, EASA has an institutional issue with saying it’s OK with procedural training mechanism like the MPL and then saying that certain emergencies are outside of reasonable preparation and require basic airmanship. Sorry, either training gives people the skills to operate aircraft as a pilot or you create system operators and accept the risk thereof. Philosophically speaking, it’s a choice.
Last edited by acecrackshot on Thu May 13, 2021 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
morrisond
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:16 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
william wrote:
zeke wrote:

With the lack of data from the probe, the aircraft didn’t change its attitude or thrust, it reverted to flight path which if the pilots had done nothing it would have exited the severe icing conditions safely, and would have recovered the air data back to normal. This meets the design requirements as the aircraft disconnected the autopilot gracefully, no extraordinary skill was required to maintain straight and level. We all know however the crew then made control inputs of full up elevator and maximum thrust, which the aircraft responded. The rest is history.

.


We are all human and Airbus did its best to design a flight envelope to protect us from our human mistakes. Zeke has done an excellent summation of what happened, and after reading it, one can understand the family of the victims grief and anger. This was poor airmanship pure and simple. Went flying with a friend and this topic came up. After flying out of a stall a couple of times, it angers me still that three pilots could not figure out basic airmanship 101. But to be fair, none of us were there staring at a black sky and hearing a cacophony of warning sirens. If only they would have flown level.

If they would have flown through the icing region would the aircraft revert back to normal law on its own, or does it have to be "reset"?


The final report from the French BEA cited poor airmanship as the primary cause of the accident as you stated. Not sure how this lawsuit can find Airbus culpable.


If they can dig up an internal email from Airbus from someone who was concerned about the lack of cross linking and the Joystick not being that visible to the other pilot then they will definitely have something.

You would have to assume some of those emails were circulating after AF447 and especially after AirAsia 8501 - it's just whether or not there were any previous to AF447.
Last edited by morrisond on Thu May 13, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
acecrackshot
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:19 pm

Cross linking the joystick is a pretty low contributor in my estimation. At the end of the day, it’s ALWAYS possible to push the red button until you hear PRIORITY LEFT (RIGHT). In the A320 dual inputs are summed, so joining with full down would have given a DUAL INPUT.

Honestly, more than poor airmanship, I would be interested in the training program at AF.

Certainly as part of the fallout of AF447, the FAA mandated extended envelope training to expose crews to conditions outside the of the mandated training events. It is FAR superior in my opinion to the classic stalls, steep turns and approaches we’ve done since the Northrop Alpha.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:25 pm

acecrackshot wrote:
Cross linking the joystick is a pretty low contributor in my estimation. At the end of the day, it’s ALWAYS possible to push the red button until you hear PRIORITY LEFT (RIGHT). In the A320 dual inputs are summed, so joining with full down would have given a DUAL INPUT.


Low - but it could have helped and making the stick more visible like in the C17 would not be a bad idea either to give you visual clues to what the other pilot is doing.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:33 pm

morrisond wrote:

Low - but it could have helped and making the stick more visible like in the C17 would not be a bad idea either to give you visual clues to what the other pilot is doing.


That is not the cockpit design philosophy of cockpit dark, eyes forward.

For example, Airbus training at most operators with whom I’m familiar consistently demands we say ALL FMA changes and use the autopilot inputs on the glareshield but verify the output on your PFD (such as a heading input.)

There is good reason for this and I think it’s immensely sound. Why? Because the aircraft is going to do what the FMA says it’s going to do, and will command subsystems like auto thrust accordingly. Now, once you command the autopilot off, make it do what you want it to do.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 3:36 pm

I can't find much fault with Airbus in this event. You can point at some design factors and state that they contributed but you can say that with any aircraft. AF and its crew training on the other hand is a very different story. The response of this crew was so far below par that even someone as opposed to lawsuits as I am can see some merit against AF here.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 4:28 pm

Flaps wrote:
I can't find much fault with Airbus in this event. You can point at some design factors and state that they contributed but you can say that with any aircraft. AF and its crew training on the other hand is a very different story. The response of this crew was so far below par that even someone as opposed to lawsuits as I am can see some merit against AF here.


I'm not disputing that the crew response was a major factor but during this timeframe (2008-2009) Airbus was having reported issues with the Thales pitots being susceptible to icing.

But in November 2008, after Air France had reported to Airbus a series of incidents involving Pitot tube malfunctions because of high-altitude icing on its A340s between May and August of that year,...

In April of this year, after Air France reported two new Pitot tube malfunctions, including the first such incident on an A330, the airline appealed to Airbus for a solution..

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/01/world/europe/01crash.html

From a legal standpoint, you might be able to make a case that Airbus knew there was an ongoing safety issue, especially since after the AF447 crash they recommended switching to the Goodrich pitot tubes.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 5:46 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
You claimed severe icing exceeded the limits of the aircraft. Nothing in the final accident report or anywhere else indicated any such thing.


The report is addressed to an audience that is educated in the field (like a patent), it does not need to specify everything to the minute detail as those who work in the field understand the art. There is a difference between "Nothing in the final accident report" and not understanding what is included in the report. For example where they state cumulonimbus clusters, that means the presence of moderate or severe turbulence and icing. That is stated on every SIGWX chart.

The report says

"There were powerful cumulonimbus clusters on the route of AF 447. Some of them could have been the centre of some notable turbulence.
An additional meteorological analysis showed the presence of strong condensation towards AF 447’s flight level, probably associated with convection phenomena."

Per the A330 TCDS, the A330-200 certification basis is JAR 25 Change 13 effective on October 5, 1989 and JAR 25.1419 Flight in icing condition. It was certified before CS 25.1420 came into effect in 2014 (for that matter the accident also occurred in 2009 before that came into effect). What that means is the known icing certification is not the same for every aircraft. it depends on when it was certified.

Per AC No: 91-74B "How Certification Relates to Operating Rules. Operation of an aircraft in known icing is based upon when an aircraft was built and how that aircraft was certified during manufacture. Manufacturers specify how the installed equipment in that aircraft is to be operated in the POH and AFM within certain conditions of limitation."

Per AC No: 91-74B "Severe Icing. The rate of ice accumulation is such that ice protection systems fail to remove the accumulation of ice and ice accumulates in locations not normally prone to icing, such as areas aft of protected surfaces and any other areas identified by the manufacturer. A representative accretion rate for reference purposes is more than 3 inches (7.5 cm) per hour on the unprotected part of the outer wing. By regulation, immediate exit is required."

What are the protected systems in ATA 30 (Ice and Rain Protection) listed in the A330 FCOM ?

I will give you one last hint, did the report state ANY system that was unable to "remove the accumulation of ice" ?

If yes, that by definition is severe icing ("The rate of ice accumulation is such that ice protection systems fail to remove the accumulation of ice").

ElroyJetson wrote:
Also, documents provided indicated other aircraft flew at roughly the same flight path and heading and did not experience severe icing.


The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This is that the BEA reported regarding other aircraft

Flight IB6024

"Flight IB6024 (Airbus A340) passed at the level of the ORARO waypoint at FL370 approximately twelve minutes after AF447."

"These conditions were particularly severe 70 NM to 30 NM before the TASIL waypoint. They moved away from the route by about 30 NM to the east to avoid cumulonimbus formations with a significant vertical development, and then returned to the airway in clear skies close to the TASIL waypoint."

Flight AF459

"Flight AF459 (Airbus A330-203) passed at the level of the ORARO waypoint approximately 37 minutes after AF447."

"After flying through a turbulent zone in the head of a cumulus congestus formation at the level of NATAL, without having detected this zone on the radar, the captain selected gain in MAX mode. At about 2 h 00, he observed a first echo that differed significantly depending on whether the radar’s gain was in CAL or MAX mode. The TILT was set between -1° and 1.5°. He decided to take evasive action to the west, which resulted in a deviation of 20 NM to the left of the route. During this evasive action, a vast squall line with an estimated length of 150 NM appeared on the screen, which was set to a scale of 160 NM. The echoes were yellow and red when the radar was set with gain on the MAX position and green and yellow when the gain was on the CAL position"

Flight LH507

"Flight LH507 (B747-400) preceded flight AF447 by about twenty minutes at FL350.

The crew reported that it flew at the upper limit of the cloud layer and then in the clouds in the region of ORARO. In this zone they saw green echoes on the radar on their path, which they avoided by changing their route by about ten nautical miles to the west. While flying through this zone, which took about fifteen minutes, they felt moderate turbulence and did not observe any lightning. They lowered their speed to the speed recommended in turbulent zones. They saw bright St Elmo’s fire on the windshield on the left-hand side."

None of the other aircraft flew the same track, same level, at the same time, a conclusion based on the observation of other crew near the time of the accident is not evidence of what happened to AF447 at the time of the accident.

ElroyJetson wrote:
If you can point to where in the final accident report it indicated severe icing of the entire aircraft exceeded the limits of the aircraft and broght it down I will cede the point.


I have given you enough hints above to find it, if you are unable to understand where that is located in the report please make a statement to that effect. Like I said above there is a significant difference between not in the report, and not understanding what the report is saying.

Also I guess by that sentence you think severe icing only means significant ice accumulation where the weight of the ice is so significate it exceeds the amount of lift being produced, that is not the definition of severe icing, hence I provided it above from AC No: 91-74B.

The final BEA report is really immaterial for any court proceedings, anything the BEA publishes cannot be used in a criminal court. The court will hear its own evidence, it will have its own expert witnesses, the court will make their own independent decision.

This sort of statement appears in the front of any accident report

"The BEA is the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority. Its investigations are conducted with the sole objective of improving aviation safety and are not intended to apportion blame or liability.

BEA investigations are independent, separate and conducted without prejudice to any judicial or administrative action that may be taken to determine blame or liability."
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 6:41 pm

william wrote:
This was poor airmanship pure and simple. Went flying with a friend and this topic came up. After flying out of a stall a couple of times, it angers me still that three pilots could not figure out basic airmanship 101. But to be fair, none of us were there staring at a black sky and hearing a cacophony of warning sirens. If only they would have flown level.

I'm not sure we should emphasize the "cacophony of warning sirens" aspect. The pilots are put through simulator training when there is a "cacophony of warning sirens", it is a part of their job to be able to cope with such warnings and still do the right thing. If they cannot, they should have been weeded out during initial or recurring training a long time ago.
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 8:37 pm

armagnac2010 wrote:
The real question is: why a pilot kept pulling on the stick for 53s with a stall warning...


:checkmark:

I read the transcript of the CVR (was it in French - don't remember since I am fluent in that language) and what struck me was that the two co-pilots on the flight deck flying the aircraft in the absence of the captain were not working together as a constructive team. They worked for Air France and IMO should have behaved more competently.
 
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Re: Airbus and Air France ordered to stand trial over AF447 crash

Thu May 13, 2021 9:15 pm

Revelation wrote:
william wrote:
This was poor airmanship pure and simple. Went flying with a friend and this topic came up. After flying out of a stall a couple of times, it angers me still that three pilots could not figure out basic airmanship 101. But to be fair, none of us were there staring at a black sky and hearing a cacophony of warning sirens. If only they would have flown level.

I'm not sure we should emphasize the "cacophony of warning sirens" aspect. The pilots are put through simulator training when there is a "cacophony of warning sirens", it is a part of their job to be able to cope with such warnings and still do the right thing. If they cannot, they should have been weeded out during initial or recurring training a long time ago.


I agree. There is no cacophony of warning sirens in the cockpit. It is not a movie.
Audible warnings are prioritised according to severity and possible flight impact.
The guys have been in dozens of SIM sessions and there is no reason to believe, that they haven’t been able to cope with the „sirens“.

What they apparently have not been able to cope with is basic pitch and power flying in high altitude. Something the industry realized as a problem not only after AF447. And something that must be addressed and has been addressed.
Last edited by CRJockey on Thu May 13, 2021 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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