According to a new court-ordered report, Flight 447 crashed after ice-blocked speed sensors shut down the autopilot and the crew reacted incorrectly by pulling the jet into a steep climb until it slowed to an aerodynamic stall. The "aircraft’s stall went completely unnoticed by the crew, who made no reference to it," according to the report, which was presented to victims’ families yesterday (October 5).
COMMENT: Manslaughter charges have been filed against Paris-based Air France and Toulouse, France-based Airbus as part of the criminal investigation, which could increase damages payouts if any criminal liability is proven. Crash investigators have convened a “human factors” working group of psychologists, physicians and pilots to examine how the Flight 447 crew analyzed and responded to cockpit information.
The criminal report also notes the captain’s failure to consider a detour around bad weather shown on the radar, despite concerns repeatedly voiced by a copilot, and questions his decision to take a break while crossing the so-called inter- tropical convergence zone, which is generally stormy.