The problem for me with the clear issues that Air France have is not cultural to the country at all, but is cultural to the airline. Everything I read to do with the fatal accidents which Air france have had indicate that they can not accept any responsibility, they always try to place the blame elsewhere i.e. with Airbus, or continental.
You mean like LH's crosswind landing in HAM, that the BFU later blamed on Airbus' manual?
Although I am sure that a lot has been done within the company behind closed doors to address the problems, I struggle with the fact that these are major safety issues and the problems need to be dealt with transparently. Pilots need to be able to look at Air France as an example and be able to say this is what they have done to deal with the situation. Korean air can hold its head up high and say this is what we did to create a safe airline. From what I can see at the moment Air France can not.
Define major safety issues. Luck (or the lack of) plays quite a role. If AF's accidents were cut in black and white then I would agree with you. Looking at the discussions of e.g. AF447 and the resulting changes in stall recovery procedures by many airlines and regulatory authorities it seems that the answer is not as clear cut as you would like.
Since you mention transparency: How transparent are AF's competitors? Where are those reports? What about Swiss(air)? Exempt from your statistic? Two flights I can think of with no survivors were flown by senior/training captains.
Think you nailed it. . lived 12 years in France, loved it, but I could still be frustrated by some aspects of the French mentality. I can certainly offer "being French" as a casual factor in a fairly high number of French accidents. . .. . . but, as you say, we are not allowed to say that in this blinkered/politically correct world we habitate.
Please, tell us more! Worked for AF? Seen their pilots work a flight while you were sitting on their jumpseat? Do you have copies of their SOPs? Sat in their CP's office while he disciplined some pilots? What can you offer besides a hint that you are an expert in la vie d'Air France?
Since you mentioned aspects of French mentality... What about the drinking mentality of a large island N of France? Ever considered alcohol (or the lack of) being a problem with British society? Finger pointing is easy, I could just say that many British aviators have a problem with alcohol. Fair, classy, just? Of course not. Be careful how and where you point your finger at.
B738Driver is the one that nailed it. Once again his quote:
Airbus and Boeing did not design their procedures based on societal cultures, and these are adopted by operators around the world. Also some airlines have a great variety of origins amongst their ranks. SOP's are designed to make it work without consideration of their crews' culture.
Corporate culture is important, societal culture is not. Be careful, this is a dangerous territory! Let's remain politically correct.
Last edited by Squawk7777; 27th Dec 2012 at 23:58.
It appears that the NTSB believes as I stated above.
As a result of the investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations:
To the Federal Aviation Administration:
Require that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91K, 121, and 135 operators establish procedures requiring all crewmembers on the flight deck to positively confirm and cross-check the airplane's location at the assigned departure runway before crossing the hold short line for takeoff. This required guidance should be consistent with the guidance in Advisory Circular 120-74A and Safety Alert for Operators 06013 and 07003. (A-07-44)
Originally Posted by PAXboy
But the NTSB has to produce endless lists of checks. if they go for KISS then any fault that occurs will be countered by lawyers, "You didn't tell them" eventhough the response is, "They are/were pilots, employed by a company with legal obligations blah blah." If you have laid out a zillion rules and something went wrong, "We did all that we could."
For NTSB and similar organisations, this kind of action is a SOP.
I wonder who has more credibility on the issue...the NTSB or a non-pilot named PaxBoy. I suggest the NTSB recommendation for verifying runways prior to entering for takeoff is a credible recommendation. Thanks for the input though.
Last edited by JammedStab; 28th Dec 2012 at 10:01.
I actually resent people defending Air France in a way to suggest that there record is acceptable and is due to external factors, and everybody critical is Xenophopic. When I apply for a job these days outside of my own country, I have to provide a certificate of no incidents or accidents to a potential employer. I firmly believe if as individuals we have to provide these to companies then in turn companies should provide certificates with a record of their accident or incidents to passengers.
To compare Air Frances long list of passenger fatalities and hull losses with Lufthansa's failed crosswind landing or the British airways 777 hull loss (which was entirely due to external factors), or the swiss fatal accident (again entirely due to external factors) is ridiculous. Whilst risk can not be removed entirely, it should be mitigated to the maximum, and clearly Air france have failed their customers from that point of view.
List to passengers: 1. 1985- Rio de janeiro 747-200 hull loss 2. 1988- Alsace A320 Hull loss- 3 fatalities- 50 injuries 3. 1994- A300- Hijack- Hull loss- 3 fatalities 4. 1996- 747- Turbulence- 1 fatality- 30 injuries 5. 1998- Bogota- Hull loss- 53 fatalities 6. 1999- Chennai-747-200- Hull loss 7. 2000- Paris- concorde- Hull loss-109 fatalities 8. 2005- Toronto-A340-300- Hull loss 9. 2009- Atlantic Ocean- A330- Hull Loss- 228 Fatalities 10. 2011- New York- A380- Aircraft damage 11. 2012- Washington Dulles-A380- Very hard landing- Aircraft damage 12. 2012- Damascus- unecessary diversion into a War zone 13. 2012- Sofia- Attempted departure from a Taxiway
This list is just from memory, and whilst external factors may have contributed to a number of the incidents, in its entirety this list is shocking and not at all comprehensive.
Last edited by kungfu panda; 28th Dec 2012 at 10:44.
In Paris I once sat pax, (with a full load of pax), in an AF 747 as they jacked and changed a wheel assy while fueling. I could even see skydrol dripping out of the wing root fairing! Last time on AF for me.
Hi, Air France B777 F/O here, in the company since 1998.
Facts : record of safety is really bad, on its own or compared to similar sized western companies.
Context : French culture, historically state-owned company whose management is still nowadays decided by the government, even though the state does not own the majority of stakes, several badly managed mergers leading to bitterness, civil aviation environment heavily biased towards airbus via the Dgac/government, in short airfrance was for a long time more of an administration than an airline company.
We always thought we were the best, while crashing planes.
Now, people have to know that things are really changing from the inside, and unfortunatly it took the rio to start the change
The team composition : Curt Graeber, PhD, Boeing Human factors chief John Marshall Delta safety and security chief Geoff Sartori Quantas safety chief and more....
They issued this report and measures are steadily being implemented, and closely followed by our pilot's union.
The LOSA (line operation safety audit) has been performed, and measures are implemented following the results.
We adopted the aiplane manufacturers SOP, we are reorganising our Dispatch, changing our charts provider, rethinking our check and training philosophy, and many other things.
The truth is, this kind of change requires at least 10 years, as it is the whole structure and company culture who are evolving (finally...and already too late for the deads in the rio and concord accident).
My message won't change the airfrance bashing on these boards, and some arguments here are justified, and acknowledged, while others are hatred, but this is the internet^^
But we know we must learn from everyone to improve, or we will disappear.
"My message won't change the airfrance bashing on these boards, and some arguments here are justified, and acknowledged, while others are hatred, but this is the internet^^"
I think you may be surprised. Faced with good results, the carping and bashing will fade. It is my prediction. From the labor action you initiated to force the corporation to change pitot, til the present call for improvements, the pilots have carried the reputation admirably...
Reputation starts at the top, and in the front. You are to be commended for posting, and one hopes you will continue to keep all of us informed...
Just want to add that from my point of view it is not about hatred or French bashing, it is a sense of injustice. If Ryanair had the same record as Air France, they would never stay in business. If the company that I work for in China had an incident of any serious kind the CAAC would ground us, and we'd probably be out of business. From an individual point of view, if I have a reportable incident in China, I will lose my "no accident or incidents" record, which would prevent me from working. Air France though, they're able just to keep on going, allowing them to be complacent.
Even in the production halls things can be dicey; safety barriers being removed and floor covering rolled back over missing floor panels-sounds funny but try suddenly falling from deck to deck- internal access scaffolding incorrectly fastened and giving way leading to falls, safety barriers being removed and flooring put back into place despite it clearly stating on the fiche [permit to work] that it had to be there. Pity about the €30,000 electrical harness that was now stopping the floorboards laying flat....hey ho the list is, long. Throw in semi-educated sub-sub-sub-contractors working to time constraints on pain of loss of earnings/sacking and away you go......
I don't blame the individuals though.
They are programmed from the minute they enter school about one thing only, Nation First in all respects.
I would also like to add that I have, once the effort is made, never met a more open and friendly people, those who wish to portray themselves in the best way possible.
That's funny, because i have a different take on french education and airline business.
One of the many reasons that some few pilots had a bad habit of not always strictly following SOPs (besides having TOO MANY rules to follow, which is adressed now, and poor management,) is the focus on critical thinking in public education, which may be very good concerning philosophy and politics, but needs not be systematically applied to every procedure, especially when all the data leading to the establishment of this procedure is not known... ( huh, that may appear pedant... ).
Incidentally, one most welcome change in the company culture is the openness concerning incidents, which can be perceived as an avalanche by people outside the industry. We, as pilots, were sometimes not even aware of incidents that occured within the company, only weeks later did we learn about it. The communication is now improving, so is the unwanted publicity, but i believe the incident rate is on par with the industry.
If AF's safety culture is terrible due to being French and a nationalised (or at least very state-influenced) industry, why does EDF - the world's biggest electricity industry by power output, which is a French nationalised industry - manage to run a huge fleet of nuclear reactors and a complete reprocessing fuel cycle with a really excellent safety record? When the UK, Japan, and the US have all failed at this at various times?
(and the States doesn't do civil reprocessing. I leave out the USSR because, well, where do you start.)
And why does SNCF, the French State Railway, manage to run the world's first and best high-speed rail network with a really excellent safety record? When China has had at least one horrible accident with an HSR, the UK and Germany have had nasty accidents with not-quite-HSR, and a lot of other countries (including the UK and US) haven't even really got it together to build it?
(Further, the French Navy operates a fleet of nuclear-powered and armed submarines and a nuclear-powered carrier. Like the RN and USN, they've never had a nontrivial accident with a nuclear ship. But then, navies usually seem to be good at nuclear, and anyway that's the military.)
This should be good news; AF can find out how EDF and SNCF do it, and copy them.