Air France Pilots Didn't Know What Was Happening
Neither co-pilot had been trained for sensor malfunctions, new report says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2011 7:31 AM CDT
In this Monday, June 8, 2009 file photo released by Brazil's Air Force, Brazil's Navy sailors recover debris from the missing Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean.   (AP Photo/Brazil's Air Force, file)

(Newser) – The crew piloting a doomed Air France jet over the Atlantic did not appear to know that the plane was in a stall, despite repeated warning signals, and never informed the passengers that anything was wrong before the jet plunged into the sea, according to new findings released today. Based on cockpit recordings from the crash, the French air accident investigation agency is recommending mandatory training for all pilots to help them fly planes manually and handle a high-altitude stall.

The report confirms that external speed sensors obstructed by ice crystals produced irregular speed readings on the plane. A stall warning sounded numerous times, and once for a full 54 seconds, but the crew made no reference to it in cockpit exchanges before the jet crashed, according to the BEA. The pilot was on break at the time, and neither of the co-pilots at the controls had received recent training for manual aircraft handling or had any high-altitude schooling in case of unreliable air speed readings.
 

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