AF447 Stalled and Did Not Recover

The BEA has a more detailed report on the accident combining flight data and cockpit voice recorder data. They also make some recommendations that images of the instrument panel be recorded, that the angle of attack be presented to the pilots and that steps be taken to ensure manual flight at high altitude is drilled.

Apparently the plane stalled at high altitude at the same time that airspeed indicators were invalid in turbulence. Even though controls and the engines seemed to respond to pilots, the plane did not recover from the stalled condition and crashed. Strangely, even in the presence of stall buffet and audible stall warning, the pilots reduced power and pulled the nose up, as if the plane were not stalled. I am not a pilot but the usual way to increase speed and lift is to increase power and put the nose down. That with three pilots present this happened during the minutes it took to descend is alarming. As with many disasters a number of things must go wrong to defeat all safeguards.

Stalls do affect controls but with enough power the plane should have been able to recover with controls in the default positions. Increasing the angle of attack only makes the stall worse.

We may never know exactly what went wrong but I hope the recommendations do increase safety.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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One Response to AF447 Stalled and Did Not Recover

  1. Richard Chapman says:

    To know the tragedy was preventable, and that is the presumption, makes it worse in my mind. To know that everything will be done to ensure it won’t be repeated gives hope that the deaths of the passengers of AF447 won’t be completely in vain.

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