31 Jul 2011

AIR FRANCE Flight AF447: Blame on Pilots, Shame on BEA

Brazilian Navy on the wreckage of AF447
According to BEA, Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses, the French air investigation, the accident of the flight AF447 that occurred in 2009, could be avoided by the pilots after the plane lost speed readings.

Analysing it rationally, It should not be any surprise, since the pilots are dead and cannot defend themselves.

As the report says, the pilots could have saved the plane after it temporarily lost its speed readings. Instead, they did the opposite of what was required pulling the aircraft up to a height at which it stalled and fell from the sky at 10,000ft per minute, "The situation was salvageable," Jean Paul Troadec, BEA director told reporters.
Brazilian Navy and the AF447 wreckage
Air France, immediately  defended its pilots in a statement released at the same time as the report was made public, saying the altitude alert system had malfunctioned.

Let’s analyse it: “the plane ‘temporarily’ lost its speed readings” and “the altitude alert system had malfunctioned”. What does it mean? The airplane had a problem - not the pilots. In this case, Airbus was to blame and not the pilots.
However, the BEA’s recommendation was to train all pilots on how to manage, fix and behave in such a situation.

Representatives of the victims' families have rejected pilot error as the primary cause, suggesting the economic issues at stake may mean a playing down of mechanical failures.

Airbus said on Friday it "welcomed the latest BEA interim report on the AF447 accident as a further step towards gaining a full understanding of the chain of events that led to this tragic accident".

Paying attention to Airbus statement, we can realise a sense of relief (or almost happiness) as the BEA report does not blame on Airbus; the guilty for this tragic event are all dead. They - the pilots - had a problem in their hands and did not know how to fix it! They are to blame! Ironically, to launch an airplane with defective parts is absolutely common, but the men who risk their lives to transport passengers around the skies, should be perfects.

I fully agree with victims’ families; this report is only useful for Airbus.

Something similar occurred in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2007 at Congonhas Airport. On 17th July of this year, an Airbus A320, TAM flight 3054 (JJ3054) operating as a scheduled domestic passenger flight between Porto Alegre and São Paulo, crashed upon landing. The twin-engined turbofan aircraft overran the runway, crossed a major thoroughfare during rush hour, crashed at high speed into a TAM Express warehouse adjacent to a gas station and exploded.There were 187 people on board: 181 passengers, 19 of them TAM employees, and 6 crew members. All passengers and crew were killed in the crash, in addition to twelve people on the ground.
TAM Flight JJ3054

zAt that time, TAM's president, Marco Antonio Bologna, and the airline's vice president Ruy Amparo, confirmed that the reverse thruster wasn't working and had been turned off. According to them, however, this didn't represent any danger to the plane, since the jet's manual in these cases only recommend that the failed equipment be checked in ten days, but DOESN'T TELL to stop flying the aircraft. ... ".

As you can see, TAM and Airbus should have find a way to fix this problem prior to any occurrence, but they didn’t. As well as it happened to the Air France 447, the pilots were to blame for that accident because “they were unable to cope with a critic situation when  it was needed”. That’s to say, it’s something like “we are going to put you, the crew and passengers to fly in a pressurised tube and this tube might have some defect, but you (pilots) are responsible for anything that cause harm to any one”.
TAM accident in 2007

Perhaps you want to know who, the final report released by Brazilian Authorities, have been accused for the TAM accident. I will say only the main one: ANAC! Yes, the “Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil”. It was blamed for allowing an airplane to land in a wet runway that was in bad conditions.

The losers of all those accidents are the victims’ families and the victims themselves. Airbus will continue to sell its airplanes as well as TAM and Air France will continue to sell tickets to people. The main difference between flights AF447 e JJ3054 is that Air France released a statement rejecting BEA’s report, whilst TAM did not make any mention to save the reputation of its crew.

I hope the real true may emerge some day and someone brave enough can say that the failure of the pilots (if there was some) was not the chief cause of the accident of Flight AF447, but a mechanical failure of the Airbus.

Shame on BEA.

In the end, the money always speaks aloud.
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