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-   -   Air France and Airbus to stand trial 2009 crash (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/640382-air-france-airbus-stand-trial-2009-crash.html)

kpd 12th May 2021 08:39

Air France and Airbus to stand trial 2009 crash

A0283 12th May 2021 13:34

BBC had a story on the same subject today.
BBC on AF447 court case 2021

Would be interesting to be able to read to court 'verdicts' both the old and the new. Does anyone have the link to them? Perhaps one of the French Ppruners?

DaveReidUK 12th May 2021 15:38

AFAIK, there has never been a trial so far - what "verdicts" are you referring to ?

Imagegear 12th May 2021 17:36

Translation of France24 report today:

Airbus and the Air France company were sent back on Wednesday for the crash of flight AF447 between Rio and Paris, which caused the death of 228 passengers and crew members on June 1, 2009, we learned from a judicial source.

Airbus and Air France have announced that they are going to appeal. Publicity The Paris Court of Appeal ordered, Wednesday, May 12, the referral to correctional for "manslaughter" of Air France and Airbus for their indirect responsibilities in the Rio-Paris crash which killed 228 people in 2009. This decision, requested by the general prosecutor's office and eagerly awaited by the families of the victims, invalidates the dismissal pronounced in 2019 in favor of the company and the builder at the end of the investigations.

Airbus lawyers also immediately announced an appeal in cassation, denouncing an "unjustified decision" according to them, "in contradiction with the investigating judges who knew the file well". Air France reacted by assuring that it had "not committed any criminal fault" at the origin of the crash of the Rio-Paris flight, and decided to appeal in cassation after the announcement of its dismissal in correctional. On June 1, 2009, flight AF447 connecting Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed in the middle of the Atlantic.

The pilots, disoriented by a technical failure while crossing the unstable meteorological zone of the Doldrums, were unable to catch up with the stall of the A330, resulting in the death of 216 passengers and 12 crew members. The wreckage and the black boxes were found two years later, at a depth of nearly 4,000 m. More than 10 years of legal battle In 2019, after ten years of expert battles and the indictment of the company and the manufacturer for "manslaughter", the Paris prosecutor's office had only requested a trial for Air France, retaining its indirect responsibility for "negligence and recklessness "in the training of its pilots.

The analysis had not convinced the examining magistrates who had pronounced a general dismissal on August 29, 2019: for them, this accident was explained "obviously by a conjunction of elements which had never occurred" , highlighting "dangers which could not have been perceived before". The investigations "did not lead to characterizing a culpable failure by Airbus or Air France in connection (...) with the piloting faults (...) at the origin of the accident", had- they estimated. Scandalized, the relatives of the disappeared and the pilots' unions had appealed, denouncing a decision which only overwhelmed the missing crew. The prosecution had also appealed. On March 4, the reopening of closed-door proceedings before the investigating chamber lasted more than five hours. "We are not asking for revenge but justice for the dignity of families and victims," ​​Daničle Lamy, president of the Entraide et Solidarité AF447 association, told AFP, fearing that "a certain form of impunity would lead to that such a catastrophe is repeated ". "How is a national company appreciated, how an aircraft of the highest technology, reputed to be unbreakable, from a famous aircraft manufacturer, how these two entities could they have allowed such a catastrophe to occur?", Asked Ms. Lamy to the court.

The indirect causes of the crash In support of the civil parties, the general prosecutor went beyond the requisitions of the Paris prosecutor's office, of which he is the hierarchical superior, by requesting the referral to correctional not only of Air France but also of Airbus. Without diminishing the "direct cause attributable to the crew", the Advocate General considers that the indirect causes of the crash are to be found in the shortcomings of the two companies: the managers of Air France "refrained from implementing the training and the information of the crews "necessary, while Airbus" underestimated the seriousness of the failures of the Pitot speed probes and did not act sufficiently to correct this dangerous defect. These failures had multiplied in the months preceding the accident.

The icing of these probes was the trigger for the disaster. Caused by the formation of ice crystals during a passage at high altitude in a cluster of cumulonimbus, the incident had led to an inconsistency in the speed measurements and disoriented the pilots until the fatal stall in less than 4 minutes.

The disaster was the subject of a long debate by experts from the world of aeronautics, accused of corporatism by the civil parties. In a first report in 2012, experts attributed the accident to the accumulation of technical problems, crew failures and a lack of information from the pilots on the attitude to be taken in the event of an imbalance in speed measurements. A 2014 second opinion, requested by Airbus, had been more favorable to the cons

AF447 French with all credit to France24 and AFP

A0283 12th May 2021 17:56

@Dave I wrote 'verdict' because the legal context was not clear to me, so not "verdict". @Imagegear in his, much appreciated :ok:, response translates it to 'decision' and provides helpful context.

grizzled 12th May 2021 18:50

I have no comment re whether French courts should / could / will decide that Airbus had any culpability re the loss of AF447. But when it comes to Air France I believe this: IF a court decided there was some culpability on the part of Air France, re contributory causes (training, procedures, etc.) then I would suggest there is clear evidence of at least as much responsibility for contributory cause regarding the action / inaction of the Captain.

Imagegear 13th May 2021 05:14

For the legal pundits following the process:

When a case has been appealed,and the Court of Cassation, which has been brought before it by one of the parties to the trial, quashes the judgment or judgment referred to it, the sanction for the irregularity which the Court has accepted is called "cassation". The cancellation may be total or partial, and the file may or may not be the subject of a referral. The quashing of a judgment of appeal that has imposed convictions on payment entitles the return of the sums paid in the execution of that judgment, excluding those corresponding to the convictions handed down by the trial judgment with provisional execution and confirmed by the broken judgment (2nd Civil Chamber 12 April 2018, appeal 16-23176, BICC No.888 of 1 October 2018 and Legifrance).

The scope of the cassation is determined by the device of the judgment that pronounces it; it also extends to all the provisions of the broken judgment that have a necessary link of indivisibility or dependence. (3rd Civil Chamber 18 February 2021, appeal No. 20-11899, Legifrance). The cassation of the head of the scheme referring the file to the over-indebtedness commission to deal with the debtor's situation results in the cassation, as a result, of the other heads of scheme which do not attach themselves to it a necessary dependency relationship. (2nd Civil Chamber 1 October 2020, appeal No. 19-15613, Legifrance).

When the procedure is done with reference, it is forwarded to a court which the judgment of the Court of Cassaton refers to in the device of its judgment. The practice names this court, "the court of reference." It is generally to the same degree as the one whose decision was overturned. In some cases, however, the referral is ordered and forwarded to the same court but otherwise composed.

In the event of a post-cassation referral, the proceedings continue before the referring court and, after appearing before the courts whose decision has been overturned, one of the parties does not appear, it is deemed to be sticking to the means and claims it had submitted to the court whose decision was overturned and the judge rules by contradictory judgment. As a result, the judgment rendered on removal after cassation is not subject to opposition on the part of a party who appeared before the Court of Appeal whose judgment was overturned. (2nd Chamber October 1, 2020, Appeal No.18-23210, Legifrance)

The cassation results, without the need for a new decision, the annulment by consequence of any decision which is the result of the subsequent, the application or execution of the judgment broken or which is related to it by a necessary dependency. (1st Civil Chamber October 14, 2020, Appeal No. 19-15783, Legifrance).

To say that Mr. X's responsibility... is initiated on the basis of Article L. 111-10 of the Code of Civil Enforcement Procedures, a judgment held that he had carried out the enforced execution at his peril of a judgment on the appeal, constituting an enforceable provisional title that had not been decided on the merits. But it is not important that it has been rendered in the case of a referral, an executed judgment can only give rise to restitution (2nd Civil Chamber 31 January 2019, appeal No.17-28605, BICC No. 903 of 1 June 2019 and Legifrance).

Koalatiger 13th May 2021 05:54

This is going to be interesting to follow...

Uplinker 13th May 2021 08:04


Tragic situation, but it was a heavy crew and the Captain was on his break, not in the cockpit, when the incident occurred. Two supposedly fully trained pilots were at the controls.

Secondly, were Captains (and crews) given training in deep stall recognition and recovery?

PV1 13th May 2021 11:49

What is the relevance of deep stall recognition and recovery training?

grizzled 13th May 2021 14:52


Yes, I know the Captain was on his break. A break he began immediately after engaging in discussion with the two co-pilots about the fact they were entering the ICZ and were expecting the associated turbulence and icing for the next 15 or 20 minutes. For the Captain -- responsible for the safety of the aircraft -- to decide not to wait another 20 minutes to start his sleep, is a contributory factor.
Even more damning is the fact that he spent the previous night partying in Rio and said he had only an hour's sleep (his own words). So he had slept for an hour in the previous 36 to 40 hours (approximately). Whether his actions were simply a reflection of his own attitude to Captaincy and leadership, or a reflection of an Air France cultural attitude, I don't know.
Lastly I'd also suggest possible cultural bias for the BEA not to have considered the crews' partying and lack of sleep in Rio worth mentioning in the report, at least in the context of fatigue.

Uplinker 13th May 2021 15:40

We might be talking at cross purposes - I am not disputing his actions prior to the flight, or his decision making leading up to his break.

As regards :

......the action / inaction of the Captain.

I meant that if Captains have never been given training how to recognise and fly out of a deep stall, then how was he expected to do it when he came back into the cockpit and undo the mess the other two had got into?

beardy 13th May 2021 15:41


I wonder if one of the two pilots at the controls were trained, qualified and designated as a 'Cruise Captain'

PV1 13th May 2021 15:43


What is the definition of a deep stall? I do not believe the aircraft entered a deep stall or a deep stall is a characteristic of the aircraft.

beardy 13th May 2021 16:07

This wasn't a 'deep stall' which is more normally associated with turbulent air from the stalled wing impinging on the tailplane and reducing its ability to control the aircraft in pitch so that the angle of attack can't be reduced to exit the stall. In this particular circumstance the pitch moment of underslung engines at full power had a similar effect, but that was recoverable, a deep stall isn't always. Was in not the Caravelle that first brought the problem of a deep stall to light?

NoelEvans 13th May 2021 17:40

I see a huge problem going back to basic training in much of this sort of situation. There are schools that do not teach their students fully developed stalls during their basic training!! Don't worry about any sort of 'deep stalls', this is just normal fully developed stalls. From that poor basic background, situations like this are sadly not surprising.

I remember being astounded when I read the BEA's two-page initial findings. I discussed them with colleagues of mine (on aeroplanes where the control inputs by one pilot were traditionally fully visible to the other pilot) and asked what they would do if I ever had full up and full left control input (demonstrating it, while shut down on the ground of course!) for more than 30 seconds. The answers were always very 'blunt' (often displaying a clenched fist!). But then if the other pilot could not see those control inputs or had the same deficient basic training, what realistic chance did anyone have?

Another point that I have made from that crash is that the resting pilot was called from his rest eleven minutes before he became pilot monitoring in a major emergency. Who is fully awake for a situation like that in that time?

beardy 13th May 2021 18:13

There are some cultures that resist the open concept of learning from mistakes and adapting to prevent recurrences. In such situations resort to law to show the benefits of avoiding the in-built hubris are necessary. It's not just that the training was deficient it's that it was wilfully deficient (in my opinion)

Uplinker 14th May 2021 07:46

Perhaps my terminology was off - I am obviously referring to AF447 after the upset: dropping with stalled wings, extremely low forward IAS, and very high downwards V/S. Perhaps I meant 'fully developed stall'?

The piloting error of course, as Noel reminds us; was holding the side-stick fully back for an extended period of time whilst in the cruise.

oldchina 14th May 2021 09:45

They didn't follow the Unreliable Airspeed procedure

PV1 14th May 2021 09:47

I always remember the best advice my Father gave me when I first started flying twins. He had amassed over 28000 hours in aircraft ranging from Blackburn B2’s to Boeing 707’s.
The advice was “don’t do or touch anything until you have identified the problem”.
As this aircraft was in the cruise I often wonder if the result would have been better had the crew done nothing.

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