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French pilots cease cooperation in crash inquiry on dispute over causes

Thursday, August 4th 2011 - 02:06 UTC
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AF447 Airbus from Rio to Paris slam into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people AF447 Airbus from Rio to Paris slam into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people

French pilots on Wednesday suspended cooperation with an inquiry into the 2009 crash of an Air France jet as a dispute over the causes of the disaster opened deep wounds in France's prestigious aeronautics industry.

The SNPL airline pilots union declared the boycott after it emerged that crash investigators had removed a recommendation about one of the Airbus A330's systems from an interim report last week, focusing instead on possible pilot error.

The BEA acknowledged the move but hit back at claims that the decision had cast doubt over its independence.

It said it had not abandoned the idea of making a recommendation on the A330 cockpit alarms but that the issue needed more work. Meanwhile in an unusual statement, it hammered out even more clearly the main question hanging over the pilots.

“The stall alarm rang out uninterruptedly for 54 seconds from the time the stall started without provoking an appropriate response from the crew,” the agency said.

The BEA said last week that crew had failed to respond to repeated stall warnings and listed a series of actions that experts said went against the handbook.

Its 10 recommendations included better training for pilots to fly aircraft manually, particularly at high altitudes.

The ongoing inquiry into what caused flight AF447 from Rio to Paris to slam into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board, has pitched France's flagship carrier and its pilots against plane-maker Airbus and crash investigators.

The outcome may have legal implications for dozens of potential compensation claims on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Why ignore in the official report the recommendation on the stall alarm? Were other significant modifications made to the report?” the SNPL said in a statement, noting that the BEA reputation had been “seriously shaken.”

An association for victims' families said the BEA actions had undermined the credibility of the investigation.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • wangito

    When the monkey doesn't know how to dance, he will say that the music is to be blamed.
    Every student pilot knows what to do when the stall alarms goes off.
    We will see more of these type of pilot fatal errors. Automation is a must and will continue, but it must be well backed by manual knowledge. I know what I am talking about, I have been instructing flight for the last 42 years.

    Aug 04th, 2011 - 02:07 pm 0
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