Daily Archives: March 17, 2012

Reconstruction of AF447 accident

The accident of the flight Air France 447 was deadliest in the history of the airline and, since it happened almost 3 years ago, has appeared every now and then in the media. Today, while having lunch with two colleagues I learnt about a documentary about it that was shown in French TV channel France 5 last Wednesday.

The documentary, produced by Bernard Vaillot, is titled “Vol Rio-Paris, les raisons d’un crash“,  lasts about 50 minutes, and the programme in which it was emitted included an interview afterwards (complete programme duration 1h08′).

The documentary includes as main attraction a reconstruction of the last 4 minutes of the flight. This reconstruction is built from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR), often referred as black box. A complete transcription, with comments, interpretation and an exhaustive description of the events can be found in the different interim reports, briefings and releases made by the French BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses), the body in charge of the accident investigation.

In the BEA reports [PDF, 10.3MB, New Findings, pgs. 77-78] some facts were established: such as the loss of correct speed indication due to the icing of the pitot probes, the disconnection of the autopilot and the subsequent reaction from the pilot, pulling the stick towards him nosing up the aircraft, increasing the angle of attack until the aircraft enters in stall.

Other interesting features of the documentary are the testimonies of different pilots, including a real stall exercise performed by a flight instructor (from minute 25). He first shows how to recover from a stall, then he simulates the wrong reaction from the AF447 pilot, pulling the stick towards him, pitching up, while the stall alarm was still sounding.

You may see the following trailer below before venturing to see the whole programme.

EDIT: The trailer video has been deleted from Youtube, however, now the full video is available:

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet seen a subtitled or doubled version of it.


Filed under Aerospace & Defence