Rio-Paris airbus crash 'might have been prevented' if pilots had been briefed on previous incident

 

Paris

A French investigating judge is examining evidence that the
Rio-Paris airbus crash might have been prevented if the pilots had been briefed
on a terrifying incident the previous year.

According to an online update (http://www.airfrance447crash.com/) to a book on the crash, which will appear in print shortly, Air France and Airbus failed to notify pilots about a crisis aboard a Paris to Madagascar flight on 16 August 2008 that bore striking resemblances to the chain of calamities which befell flight AF447 over the south Atlantic nine months later.

An American writer and aviation expert, Roger Rapoport, says the events aboard the Air France Madagascar flight – and the successful action taken by its pilot to prevent a crash – are now central to the Rio-Paris manslaughter investigation which is being conducted by a French judge, Sylvie Zimmerman.

Mr Rapoport says an independent study by aviation experts sent to the judge last week took a much tougher line on the possible criminal responsibilities of Airbus and Air France than the inconclusive final report of the  French air accident investigation bureau, the BEA, the previous week. His book reveals that the experts’ criticism is based partly on events aboard an Airbus 340, AF flight 373, from Paris to Tananarive in Madagascar in August 2008.

The pilot of the Madgasacar flight lost reliable indication of his airspeed because the recorders, or pitot tubes, had iced up. Amid heavy turbulence he descended to 4,000 feet, turning off the instructions from the aircraft’s computerised guidance system or ‘flight director’.

Much the same circumstances led to the crash of AF 447 in the south Atlantic on 1 June 2009, which killed 228 passengers and crew. In that case, however, the crew lifted the plane’s nose and made a series of other calamitous misjudgements which led the aircraft to plunge into the ocean.

The BEA report suggested the crash was caused by a mixture of systems’ failure and pilot error. It did suggest, however, that the pilots may have been led into error by the computerised fight director.

Air France and Airbus were placed under formal investigation for manslaughter in March last year. Judge Zimmermann must decide whether to recommend that criminal charges should be brought against either company or both.

Mr Rapoport quotes a veteran French aviation expert as saying: “If Air France and Airbus had done the right thing and notified Airbus pilots about the specifics of this near disaster on the Madagascar bound flight, new emergency procedures and better training certainly could have saved the lives of 228 passengers and crew…”

Jacques Rocca, a spokesman for Airbus, contacted by The Independent today, dismissed these conclusions as “false… just plain wrong.”

He added: “To suggest that we failed to warn airlines or pilots that flight directors are unreliable when the pitot tubes fail is absurd. All pilots know this already.”

Mr Rapoport told the Independent:  “The BEA report makes it clear that that 'the absence of any (pilot) training at high altitude in manual aeroplane handing’ and the failure of ‘feedback mechanisms’ made it impossible to apply the correct recovery procedures. The Madagascar flight was a case-book example of how pilots should react but the details were not circulated.”

A French lawyer who represents families of victims of the crash, Maitre Stephane Busy, confirmed to The Independent today that the Madagascar incident formed part of the judicial inquiry. He said: “The problem is that putting the ‘flight director’ on ‘off’ is recommended but… there is no reminder on the instruments panel. Air France and Airbus knew that this could be a problem but they allowed their aircraft to continue to fly.”

Cedric Leurquin, an Air France spokesman, said the Madagascar flight incident has been “normally analysed” and “concerned stakeholders were informed”. He added: “For the rest… Air France…adheres faithfully to the BEA's analyses published on July 5.”

Mr Rapoport’s book is an updated English language version of a book published in French last year. It went online last night and will appear in a print version shortly as “The Rio-Paris Crash; Air France 447”.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam