View Full Version : Brit Air aircraft down

Cyclic Hotline
23rd Jun 2003, 10:32
Pilot killed but 23 survive plane crash in France

23.06.2003 1.24 pm
NANTES, France - A plane carrying 24 passengers and crew crashed in northwest France on Sunday night killing the pilot, police said.

Three people were injured when the plane ploughed into a road near Brest airport in France's Brittany region just before midnight (10am today NZT). The other 20 onboard escaped relatively unscathed, a police official said.

France's France Info radio reported the aircraft belonged to Brit Air, a unit of French flag carrier Air France. - REUTERS

23rd Jun 2003, 12:48
The aircraft, according to the BBC, was en route from Nantes to Brest and (according to the OAG) was AF 5672, a CRJ-200.

I'm in Jersey, about 120mi NE and we had some pretty violent t/storms and lightning last night, so I'm wondering if windshear might have been a factor?

23rd Jun 2003, 15:54
(CNN) -- An Air France flight operated by Brit Air -- a French regional airline -- has crashed, killing the pilot and injuring a passenger.

Flight AF 5672, flying from Nantes to Brest, was carrying 21 passengers and 3 crew when it went down about 800 meters (875 yards) short of the runway at Brest-Guipavas airport late Sunday, Brit Air spokeswoman Anne LeBour said.

LeBour provided no explanation for the crash, but said the flight data recorder had been recovered from the Canadair CRJ-100 aircraft.

An investigation into the crash has begun.


Fool's Hole
23rd Jun 2003, 16:16
What's this "KILLING THE PILOT" statement.
There are TWO PILOTS always!
Reporting by media again is being simplistic.
Killing the Captain or the First Officer, or Killing A Pilot would be more bearable.


23rd Jun 2003, 16:44
This is from the National broadcaster in Ireland:

"The cause of the crash is not known. There were thunder clouds at 2,000 feet with a visibility of 800 metres.

Passengers said the plane caught fire very quickly.

The forward door had been torn off, enabling them to scramble out.

Several spoke of possible pilot error. One said he had heard the co-pilot say: ‘I told him to turn up the throttle.’"

Strange thing for a co-pilot to say if it is true.

Condolances to all nonetheless.

buzz boy
23rd Jun 2003, 17:39
on the continent (France holland etc) the Captain is refered to as the pilot and the first officer is refered to as the co-pilot. Just a difference in culture.

24th Jun 2003, 01:29
Several spoke of possible pilot error. One said he had heard the co-pilot say: "I told him to turn up the throttle"

that's the litteral translation for the french sentence :
"Je lui ai dit de remttre les gazs"

Which means : I told him to go around

Sounds less strange this way ....

24th Jun 2003, 02:45
A couple of links to what is being said in French media:

TF1 (http://www.tf1.fr/news/france/0,,1079718,00.html)

France 3 (http://www.france3.fr/semiStatic/42-NIL-NIL-236836.html)

Condolences to family of the Captain,


24th Jun 2003, 03:23
"Je lui ai dit de remttre les gazs" (sic)
Which means : I told him to go aroundDon't think so, "I told him to add power" is more like it. Now this may well have been in preparation for a MA but that's not what was said. And why just sit there while PF drives it into the ground ?

24th Jun 2003, 03:37
"remettre les gaz" means unambiguously "going around" in French phraseology, not "add some power".

In France, a Captain is called "Commandant de Bord" and a First Officer "Officier Pilote de Ligne". I don't see any cultural difference whatsoever...

Willie Everlearn
24th Jun 2003, 03:39
First of all, as the wreckage lies smoldering by the side of the road just short of the runway, I'd like to lead this posting with my offering of condolenses to the family of the Captain.

Secondly, as a Type Rated TRI on the CRJ, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah...:p
I am inclined to credit a 5,000 hours plus "ON TYPE" CRJ Captain with having encountered 'something' on the approach that left little or no margin.
I leave your imaginations to evaluate that remark. :ok:

The suggestion of Pilot Error at this stage is preposterous. N'est pas??? :confused:

We may in fact have to deal with the proverbial "error chain" in this one gents. (Not very profound, is it?) :oh:

I find the term 'co-pilot' very unprofessional and reeking of disrespect. (But, that's me) IMHO it is also a reference/term that should be swept out of our industry once and for all. As we all know, having at some point in our careers, been the 'co-pilot' we all know how silly the term/reference truly IS!!!! :ok:

...and let's not scoff at what the F/O apparently said, or remarked in the final split seconds of the approach for his degree of assertiveness may well be the stuff of MCT/CRM presentations in the months ahead as we examine another CFIT/Windshear/False GS capture/Stall accident on finals.
Who knows??? :confused:

Let's step back and let the information unfold from the mouths of the French Accident Investigators who literally gather the facts each of us will ultimately learn from.

Willie :ok:

24th Jun 2003, 05:38
Willie, you are absolutly right with what you said. Something somebody might have heared gives no clue at all about the reasen for the things that have happened. Let`s stop speculating and get back to the world of facts.

Jump Complete
24th Jun 2003, 05:45
Condolences to the family, friends and collegues.


24th Jun 2003, 05:50
Bonjour Paper Tiger
I can guarantee the sentence "je lui ai dit de remettre les gaz"
actually means "I told him to go around" ... Am a bit used to french speaking since 32 years .
Is just a matter of translation. Word for word is not perfect translation.

Co-pilot ... a problematic word ? Well, don't think so.

24th Jun 2003, 06:28
I can guarantee the sentence "je lui ai dit de remettre les gaz"
actually means "I told him to go around"

Well there's French and there's French ;) So how would you say "add power" in France ?

24th Jun 2003, 16:04

gaz (remettre les...) (verb) : to overshoot, to go around, to put on the power


go-around (verb): remettre les gaz
power (put on the) (verb): remettre les gaz

Source...The Aviators English and French Dictoionary, Ron Wingrove and John Jammes, Cranfield University Press, 1995

I'm not saying it's right, but that's what it says. But in practice I'd respect the opinion of Ppruners above who fly in a French cockpit.

24th Jun 2003, 19:36
Sounds to me like people are arguing two sides of the same coin. Since the go-around procedure inevitably involves whacking on full power, it's hardly surprising that the two phrases "go around" and "increase power" are the same.

Algy's right - what you ultimately understand by the phrase surely depends on what you've been taught as a French pilot operating a French plane, irrespective of what the Google Translator says?

24th Jun 2003, 19:51
For what its worth, latest thoughts. Condolences to all involved.

A sudden illness of the captain is emerging as one of the prime possible causes of yesterday’s crash of a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ-100) at Brest in France.

The 53 year-old commander was the only person who died in the accident and there is reported evidence that he may have collapsed in the cockpit before the impact.

The Brest public prosecutor, Francois Nicot, told French media at the scene that the co-pilot has now said that the captain “had a problem” and that he “collapsed on the controls”. Yesterday the co-pilot was reported by a passenger to have repeatedly said immediately after the accident: “I told him to go around.”

An autopsy on the highly experienced captain, who had 16,000hr total time and 5,300 on-type, is to be held shortly.

Nicot says the possibility of the captain having collapsed remains to be proved, but says he considers it a “serious” one.

The aircraft was landing on runway 26 at Brest-Guipavas airport shortly after midnight in conditions of poor visibility and with broken cloud as low as 200ft (65m), but with light winds. The head of the western region of France’s DGAC described the conditions as “not exceptional for Brest”.

The runway has a Category III instrument landing system and precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights. It has not been definitively confirmed that they were in use, but there is no suggestion that they were not.

The aircraft hit the ground, landing-gear extended, just over 1nm (2km) from the threshold, broke up due to impact with surface obstacles and caught fire. The 24 passengers escaped through a door which had apparently been torn open.

25th Jun 2003, 00:46
Of course I bow to native Francophones. It just struck me as odd that to go around is a phrase which doesn't actually say that, and seems to have conflicting usage. So again, how would the French say add power (as in 'Too low - glideslope') without meaning/implying a go-around ?

ATC Watcher
25th Jun 2003, 04:12
I find it amazing that some are arguing with French natives the meaning of "remise de gaz" ( which is indeed a GO AROUND ), also since, according the BEA rep. ( the French investigating authority) this remark was made by a passenger who heard it apparently .. etc..
Let's wait a bit before speculating as to the reasons of this tragedy, and my sincere condoleances to the capt familly .
For those interested , to ADD POWER is " rajouter de la puissance " ou " remettre/ rajouter des tours " ( ou de la N1) " in day-to-day talk.

25th Jun 2003, 17:54
Well if we want to go deeper on the translation issue, here is this one :

If you translate "Go around" in french, word for word, it means
"va faire un tour", which means in english "have a walk"

I can imagine the situation approching the minimums :

"Captain ? Have a walk !"

Just to add a smile in this sad subject.

Stability Jane
25th Jun 2003, 22:10
Well said Willie. Very sad news.

26th Jun 2003, 00:07
I was in France the day of the crash over night and here the story is that the Captain had a heart attack or fainted!!! But if the weather was bad thunderstorms etc., from my professional flying, a good decision would be to divert or do a Cat 3 approach with Auto Trottle. Does the CRJ - 200 have Auto Trottle??

May the Captain RIP, and respects to the family....

26th Jun 2003, 01:39
CRJ is CAT III capable with HGS. But no Autothrottle.

26th Jun 2003, 02:36
This is the second survivable CRJ accident that I know of, the other being AC in Fredericton (http://aviation-safety.net/database/1997/971216-0.htm) where all survived.

Canadair's doing something right:ok:

26th Jun 2003, 03:25
PR et al, source of my confusion (not an 'argument' BTW) cleared up:
from http://www.tc.gc.ca/CivilAviation/RegServ/terminology/glossary/menu.htm
"Pull up and go around"
An instruction given to the pilot by ATC when, in the controller's judgment,
the aircraft landing procedure cannot safely be continued to touchdown.

Fr: « Remontez et faites un circuit »This is what I thought I had heard years ago.

Willie Everlearn
26th Jun 2003, 03:35

La manière de le dire n'est pas importante!

"Go-around" when it is used and understood, in whatever your native tongue, means precisely that. :ok:

None of us needs to re-visit CRM issues on communication, n'est pas? Therefore, the blood lessons of the past have resulted in SOPs. :ok:
Rest assured that the good folks flying RJs for Brit Air have credible and professional SOPs that were in fact, in use Sunday evening on the approach into Brest.
A plausible/possible scenario would seem to be unfolding as regards the Captaine/Captain/Kaptan/Pilot/ No. 1/ Commandante, etc. etc. etc. (insert whatever label you wish to use) who may have experienced something of an incapacitating nature, resulting in his inability to control the aeroplane and subsequently evacuate himself from a burning wreck. :O
So much for the F/O who's responsibility it is in the RJ during an evacuation to climb out of his seat and 'assist' with the evacuation. Are we to now assume he didn't try to help his Captain???

We simply do not know what took place from 1000' and 3nm to impact without corroborative data.

Do we now question the assertiveness of the F/O?
His experience?
His 'panic' factor as he realized things were going desperately wrong?

Folks, relax, we simply don't know yet WHAT HAPPENED!


26th Jun 2003, 05:21
I would translate:
to go around: "remettre LES gaz"
to add power: "remettre DES gaz"

"les" implies all the power, "des" only some power.

that's french.

26th Jun 2003, 11:50
Just a comment on CRJ systems. Not all European RJ-100s have the CAT IIIa capability that the Rockwell-Collins (ex-Flight Dynamics) Head Up Guidance System (HGS) confers. In particular, all the original Brit Air aircraft did but, when Air France contracted with them for the Air France Express services, those later aircraft only had full provision for HGS. The system may have been installed later. Note that with this system, all approaches are manually flown without Autothrottle.

If it was Windshear, the extra warning time given by HGS (which will show WS above the usual 1500 ft agl of GPWS) could have been crucial.

All CRJs have demonstrated Autopilot or Flight Director approaches to CAT II limits but not all operators train to those standards.

23rd Dec 2005, 19:05
Accident report is out.


They never captured either the localizer or the glideslope because APPR mode was never armed. The captain spent the rest of the approach attempting to capture both with what appears to be complete focus on one at any particular time. Eventually GPWS warnings sounded and were ignored until too late and they crashed during the attempted go-around. The go around was initiated at the decision height, however this was 100' AGL due to not being off course. The aircraft did not pitch up until 4 seconds after thrust application.
The crew were medically fit.
Apparantly on the CRJ, at least this one, the PFD has an artificial horizon on top and an HSI below. The glideslope is beside the Horizon and the localizer is of course part of the HSI. Not a good design in my opinion.

24th Dec 2005, 13:11
Same system on many other aircraft and it works fine.

Cleared = arm..... ALWAYS.

If you cleared to do something with todays modern machines you had better arm the appropriate mode.
Do that and learn to bring the flight mode annunciators into your scan EVERY time you select a mode and you are well on your way to staying ahead of the plane

In this accident the fact that the controller cleared them unexpectedly should have been negated had they armed the approach. Loc would have captured and then their only task would have been to chase the G/S using V speed. George was apparently flying for them so that should not have been overly taxing. The failure to arm was the big hole in the cheese IMO.

Willie Everlearn
24th Dec 2005, 16:00
Usually, in Europe at least, (and I stand to be corrected because this may have changed in recent times) ATC will issue a clearance to intercept the localizer and report established. If so, the desired mode is NAV. Then once you've called LOC established (LOC 1 GREEN), they will clear you for the appropriate approach. In this case, an ILS. The approach mode gets armed with the clearance, LOC 1 / LOC 2 are captured in GREEN whilst the GS (white) is armed. Upon interception of the GS, the GS changes place in the FMA from an armed mode to a captured mode, which is GS GREEN and away you go.

As for the aircraft not pitching up for 4 seconds, that's not unusual. Pressing TOGA disconnects the AP with the aircraft attitude nose down. The PF has to rotate (3 degrees per second) from approx. 3 degrees nose down to 10 degrees nose up. Roughly 4 seconds of rotation.

As for the LOC/GS indications? It's a Collins installation and is quite similar to the B737NG, B757 and B767 and I 'm sure with other aircraft types as well.

So, it doesn't sound like anything untoward here.

As a TRI, my advise and caution to CRJ crews, once cleared for an ILS approach DO NOT ARM THE APPROACH MODE unless the intercept heading is less than 90 degrees to the final approach course as the APPR mode could capture a false localizer signal or "S" turn it's way along the Localizer. Not exactly comfortable or desired for passenger comfort.

24th Dec 2005, 16:25
As for the aircraft not pitching up for 4 seconds, that's not unusual. Pressing TOGA disconnects the AP with the aircraft attitude nose down. The PF has to rotate (3 degrees per second) from approx. 3 degrees nose down to 10 degrees nose up. Roughly 4 seconds of rotation.

I'd say it is very unusual. Just after the GPWS announcement of 100 feet, the thrust levers went forward, 4 seconds after the announcement was, and I quote "the first significant upward elevator deflection".
It didn't help that they were 17 knots below Vref at the time.
I would say what is usual is a simultaneous increase in thrust and upward elevator deflection.

Empty Cruise
24th Dec 2005, 16:34
Willie Everlearn,

In the UK, that appears to be standard practise - but in the rest of Europe (or should I say: ...in Europe?) you are cleared the approach, end of story.

Cuts down on the radio talk & keeps it nice & simple.

But yes - the lack of armed APCH or VOR/LOC mode does seem to be the first hole in the cheese :(


25th Dec 2005, 09:22
In the UK, that appears to be standard practise - but in the rest of Europe (or should I say: ...in Europe?) you are cleared the approach, end of story.

I too have noticed this, and cannot understand the UK logic. It probably stems from some old practice. Can't think of an instance when ATC would want you to intercept the loc and not the glide.

Can be very frustrating, especially at LHR when you are vectored for a quasi simultaneous intercept, and then cannot get a word in egdeways on the R/T in time to arm G/S mode before glide comes in.

25th Dec 2005, 23:37
The subtle danger here is the mixture of automatics and manual flying that occurs when you have a sophisticated autopilot and FD but lack of autothrottle. Of course many aircraft are like that - the 737-200 for example. But as we have seen in this accident it is all too easy to concentrate on monitoring the flight instruments (PFD if you will) and inadvertently allowing speed excursions to go unnoticed until too late.

Boeing make a valid point in their NG FCTM that to simplify thrust setting procedures, autothrottle use is recommended during take off and climb in either automatic or manual flight. During all other phases of flight, autothrottle use is recommended only when the autopilot is engaged.

In the CRJ accident it is clear that the pilot's scan fell down and he paid insufficient attention to the thrust settings required for a stable approach. In this case, it might have been better to hand fly the ILS using FD info (nothing wrong with that providing you are competent at hand flying). Scan rate will increase if hand flying and speed excursions more quickly corrected.

Combining manual (thrust levers) with autopilot is not a good idea. Funnily enough only the other day I saw a barrel roll for fun in the simulator where the pilot left the autothrottle engaged throughout the manoeuvre in. As he dived to pick up speed (250 knots MCP) the throttles reduced to idle to maintain 250 knots then upside down the throttles went up to maintain speed then came back again to idle in the final roll out from the dive. It was a classic case of half manual - half automatics, and didn't look pretty.

25th Dec 2005, 23:52
there have been many times in which I have been instructed by ATC to intercept the localizer yet not been cleared for the ILS approach.

There are lots of seperation standards which may have been the cause of this. But tis not uncommon here in the states.

in this situation you maintain the last assigned altitude. AS that damn gs needle comes alive you have to bug the controller because he may have forgotten!


Dash-7 lover
29th Dec 2005, 13:26
Isn't this the second Brit Air CRJ to come down on approach to Brest in recent years???