Air France Plane Stalled, Entered 3.5-Minute Plunge
Autopilot shut off hours into flight; captain was resting
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2011 8:55 AM CDT
Investigators of flight Air France 447 during a press conference in Recife, Brazil, March 25, 2010.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Air France Flight 447 slowed, stalled, then began a 3.5-minute plunge into the Atlantic, the investigation into the 2009 crash has found. The autopilot system on the Airbus 330 cut off just after pilots told the cabin crew of coming turbulence; the younger of the two co-pilots then aimed the nose higher—but the plane’s angle was too high to achieve lift, Reuters notes. At some 38,000 feet, the Airbus stalled.

The plane then began falling at a rate of 10,000 feet a minute, rolling to the left and right as it did so, Bloomberg reports. The pilots then reduced the engine thrust and attempted to lower the nose by pushing down on the controls. One minute before the plane hit the water, the second-most senior pilot took over the controls. Flight captain Marc Dubois, who was resting when the trouble began, did not take control at any point. Click through for more details from the Air France investigation.