Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

AF447 - French prosecutors sends AF to court for negligence

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

AF447 - French prosecutors sends AF to court for negligence

Old 17th Jul 2019, 11:09
  #1 (permalink)  
Pegase Driver
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 1997
Location: Europe
Age: 69
Posts: 2,609
AF447 - French prosecutors sends AF to court for negligence

Today the French State Prosecutor office announced that it will send Air France to court for "negligence" on the AF447 case but absolves Airbus due to lack of evidence .
The "negligence" claim against AF seem to concentrate on not having "informed" ( trained?) its pilots to the emergency procedures during this kind of event .
The full text of the indictment is unfortunately not yet available.
ATC Watcher is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 11:41
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Having a margarita on the beach
Age: 100
Posts: 1,408
Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
Today the French State Prosecutor office announced that it will send Air France to court for "negligence" on the AF447 case but absolves Airbus due to lack of evidence .
The "negligence" claim against AF seem to concentrate on not having "informed" ( trained?) its pilots to the emergency procedures during this kind of event .
The full text of the indictment is unfortunately not yet available.
It will be very interesting to read the full text when available. I guess it comes down to how much exposure the crew received to high altitude handling in alternate law, stall recovery and how much theoretical training was received regarding characteristics and particularities of flights crossing the ITCZ. Let's see.
sonicbum is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 14:04
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 58
I sincerely hope that this gets thrown out.

Imagine the precedent if this would result in a conviction? It is simply impossible to train crew for every conceivable scenario... Would be very interesting indeed to see the full text and the eventual outcome.
KingAir1978 is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 14:12
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 421
I think it could have positive outcomes for crews if the airline and by default its training department are held to account. Be a welcome wake up call to the airline finance managers that safety costs.
MCDU2 is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 14:16
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Potomac Heights
Posts: 462
Note that there are many reasons why the court might consider AF culpable for the accident. I believe it was AF that was resisting changing out the Thales pitot tubes that were prone to icing. Perhaps AF training never informed the crew that below 80 knots IAS stall warnings were inhibited. While I am not implying that AF should be criminally liable for these decisions (because perfection is impossible), that is for the court to determine.
SeenItAll is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 15:31
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Ireland
Posts: 594
Originally Posted by KingAir1978 View Post
I sincerely hope that this gets thrown out.

It is simply impossible to train crew for every conceivable scenario... .
Nobody is suggesting that it is.

Leaving aside the dodgy pitot for a moment, the case will be that AF failed to ensure that their staff were trained to a certain standard expected of a competent pilot. The court will then look at what that standard is and will decide whether AF attained that standard, not necessarily in the AF447 crew’s case but across its crew training as a whole.

If AF is found guilty, crew training departments across the world will have to look at their own standards and decide if they are up to the mark.

That is a good thing particularly in the current climate where pilot competence and training is being questioned.



Speed of Sound is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 16:01
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK
Age: 62
Posts: 0
Originally Posted by Speed of Sound View Post
the case will be that AF failed to ensure that their staff were trained to a certain standard expected of a competent pilot. The court will then look at what that standard is and will decide whether AF attained that standard, not necessarily in the AF447 crewís case but across its crew training as a whole.

surely, if this is proven in the court, then the pilots shouldn't be flying/licensed?
golfbananajam is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 16:35
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Ireland
Posts: 594
Originally Posted by golfbananajam View Post
surely, if this is proven in the court, then the pilots shouldn't be flying/licensed?
Not necessarily.

You can receive poor or inadequate training and still be a competent pilot just as you can receive excellent training and still be a poor pilot. The issue here is the overall quality of training, not licensing.
Speed of Sound is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2019, 21:48
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Tana
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by KingAir1978 View Post
It is simply impossible to train crew for every conceivable scenario...
But it wasn't "every conceivable scenario". Nothing they encountered required more then basic flying skills. Pitot tubes freezing and resulting unreliable speed indication requires only one action from the pilot - DO NOTHING. You don't need to change thrust settings, or change the aircraft attitude, or press any buttons, or check any parameters. Just sit there and wait for the heating system to restore the status quo.

I hope this case gets accepted and prosecuted. I would very much like to know the answers to the following:

1. Why did two fully licensed pilots flying for one of the leading airlines, who had over 10,000 FH between them, panic so much that they forgot all procedures, failed to recognize which systems were and which weren't working, failed to even communicate with each other except for "What's going on?" and "I don't know"?
2. Why did a fully licensed Air France pilot with almost 3,000 FH under his belt panic so much that he forgot the most basic maneuvres? Stall = nose down. Yet the guy kept pulling on the sidestick for almost four minutes.
3. And the question that has been bothering me most ever since I read the final BEA report. Why the hell would an experienced 58-year-old captain with over 10,000 FH hours logged refuse the FO's suggestion to fly around the storm, point the aircraft right into icing and turbulence, and then simply leave the cockpit and let his less experienced colleagues deal with the fallout of his decision. I just cannot imagine that. You decide to fly into danger - you see it through and make sure you come out on the other side.

I'm really angry that Airbus has been left out of all this. One of the deciding factors in that accident was inability of the crew to recognize that one of them was doing something horribly wrong. They only realized the FO was pulling on the sidestick when he actually said so out loud. BEA has been very careful to write as little as possible about this, throwing it into footnotes of "contributing factors".

I love Airbus, I love France and Air France, but sadly I see that they are trying as much as they can to downplay this whole accident as human error. I don't want to one day see Airbus in the same position as Boeing is right now. And the worst part - I don't really see any changes being made.
UltraFan is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 03:06
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Been around the block
Posts: 487
How does a system of aviation oversight, allow pilots to go from private to ATP while never fully stalling an airplane? This is a systematic failure of EASA curriculum and basic muscle memory come home to roost. That, combined with over reliance on technology in an overly complex aircraft.
4runner is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 05:10
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
Today the French State Prosecutor office announced that it will send Air France to court for "negligence" on the AF447 case but absolves Airbus due to lack of evidence .
The "negligence" claim against AF seem to concentrate on not having "informed" ( trained?) its pilots to the emergency procedures during this kind of event .
The full text of the indictment is unfortunately not yet available.
I was a check/training pilot for many years.

Not sure how you train a guy not to hold the stick in the full aft position from 36,000 to sea level. 😏
Old Dogs is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 05:16
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by KingAir1978 View Post
I sincerely hope that this gets thrown out.

It is simply impossible to train crew for every conceivable scenario.
1) Level the wings - more or less.
2) Put the pitch bar on the horizon - more or less.
3) Put the throttles in the middle - more or less.
4) Stop and think.


Old Dogs is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 05:26
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
Note that there are many reasons why the court might consider AF culpable for the accident. I believe it was AF that was resisting changing out the Thales pitot tubes that were prone to icing. Perhaps AF training never informed the crew that below 80 knots IAS stall warnings were inhibited. While I am not implying that AF should be criminally liable for these decisions (because perfection is impossible), that is for the court to determine.
This has nothing to do with the Thales pitot system or the the fact that below 80 knots the stall warnings are inhibited - the thing won't fly at 80 knots anyway.

It has everything to do with never having learned how to fly an airplane in the first place.

NO competent pilot would hold the controls in the full aft position from 36,000 to sea level.
Old Dogs is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 08:25
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: France / UK
Age: 64
Posts: 925
Originally Posted by Old Dogs View Post
1) Level the wings - more or less.
2) Put the pitch bar on the horizon - more or less.
3) Put the throttles in the middle - more or less.
4) Stop and think.
5) Try to figure out what the actual flight path trajectory is, using all available means. Either the aircraft is (a) going roughly where itís pointing or else (b) itís going downhill, probably quite quickly.

6) If (a): re-establish desired conditions; If (b): you are stalled and need to recover from that before doing anything else.
eckhard is online now  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 09:13
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by eckhard View Post


5) Try to figure out what the actual flight path trajectory is, using all available means. Either the aircraft is (a) going roughly where itís pointing or else (b) itís going downhill, probably quite quickly.

6) If (a): re-establish desired conditions; If (b): you are stalled and need to recover from that before doing anything else.
5) If you get the first three steps right the aircraft trajectory will be more or less straight and level although probably not exactly on desired speed, altitude or heading.

6a) Following the first three steps will pretty much get you to back to the most basic desired condition - stable flight.

6b) I agree, although in 22,000 hours I cannot once recall stalling an aircraft unintentionally.
Old Dogs is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 09:16
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bedford, UK
Age: 66
Posts: 1,200
(pax). Not suspecting or recognising a stall when your actions generated it and the system warnings went unheeded should raise some question over training surely?
Mr Optimistic is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 09:41
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: UK
Age: 50
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
Note that there are many reasons why the court might consider AF culpable for the accident. I believe it was AF that was resisting changing out the Thales pitot tubes that were prone to icing. Perhaps AF training never informed the crew that below 80 knots IAS stall warnings were inhibited. While I am not implying that AF should be criminally liable for these decisions (because perfection is impossible), that is for the court to determine.
Don't believe it's accurate to say they resisted the changeout from Thales to Goodrich units, but they were certainly late adopters of the mod. I don't believe the Mod was driven by an AD (Stand to be corrected if so) so is there culpability in the Risk Assessment of the Regulatory Authorities? As always this lump of Swiss Cheese has many holes, and seems unfair to single out one party. That said you make a valid point around sending a warning to all Airlines around minimising training for costs reasons
Astir 511 is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 10:02
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Cambridge UK
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by Astir 511 View Post
Don't believe it's accurate to say they resisted the changeout from Thales to Goodrich units, but they were certainly late adopters of the mod. I don't believe the Mod was driven by an AD (Stand to be corrected if so) so is there culpability in the Risk Assessment of the Regulatory Authorities? As always this lump of Swiss Cheese has many holes, and seems unfair to single out one party. That said you make a valid point around sending a warning to all Airlines around minimising training for costs reasons
I quoted somebodies timeline on this in A380 engine piece found in Groenland after 9 months
Peter H is online now  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 10:37
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,175
No pilot should ever hold full back-stick*, but I for one think training needs a shake up.

Memory drills, in my experience are not taught or practised enough. On rare occasions; you might get two goes each at one of them in the SIM, and if they are flown near enough, the TRE moves on. It might take several years’ worth of biannual SIMs for one to have practised every memory drill !

All the memory drills should be sprung on every pilot on every SIM visit - otherwise how on earth do you practise and stay in practice? (sic). The best we can do is armchair flying or touch drills in the aircraft while in the cruise - it’s not the same thing. You wouldn’t expect a violin player to imagine playing a piece without their instrument and then be expected to play it. Or for someone to read about how to ride a bike then get on and ride it. One needs to physically practise, practise, practise.

We must remember that nowadays, many pilots who fly the big modern jets have not necessarily worked their way up for years on various basic piston and turboprop aircraft in challenging weather, so do not necessarily have the instinctive feel and response to flying that the previous pilot generation did - those who had very basic or no automatics and frequently hand flew their aircraft. Big jets do not have the feel of a small SEP trainer, so recognition of unusual situations and responses need to be taught and practised all over again. Most of us stay out of trouble by keeping within SOPs and limitations but occasionally tragedies occur.

*except for Airbus Abnormal Valpha prot OEB
Uplinker is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2019, 10:40
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: London
Posts: 166
As ever, it is worth rewatching the official BEA animation of what the pilots were presented with on their PFDs.


It should have been abundantly clear to everyone the aircraft was stalled at a high AOA.
Lord Bracken is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.