What is it with the French and taking responsibility? Jeez, DSK goes after the chambermaid, and all the French hoity toits fall over themselves blaming the woman.
The Air France plane falls 30k feet because it stalled.... stalled! When the stall warnings went off, Bozet the Clown in the pilot's seat pulled back on the stick to bring the nose up. Did he never play "Flight Simulator"? Amazing. Yet the Air France hoity toits...here's the quote from the WSJ article:
Air France praised the three pilots, who "demonstrated a totally professional attitude and were committed to carrying out their task to the very end," the airline said in a statement.
The carrier, a unit of Air France-KLM SA, noted that "the initial problem was the failure of the speed probes which led to the disconnection of the autopilot and the loss of the associated piloting protection systems."
The largest trade union representing Air France pilots, SNPL, said Friday the report "describes only part of the sequence of events experienced by the crew" and it awaits the full report.
Now, I understand that the disconnection of the autopilot would be a problem, if (for example) I or even the intrepid world traveller Angus were sitting up front. We are not...PILOTS. Losing the piloting protection systems would indeed be a big problem for anyone who is not a trained pilot.
But I would have expected that the term "pilot" would connote some ability to fly a plane, and in particular it should mean you have training in flying the particular plane you are "piloting" across the big old ocean.
I also understand that the guys are dead, and that Air France is trying to avoid massive liability for what appears to be simple negligence in training.
Still wonder, though, how a stall alarm would say to any trained pilot, "Get your nose up!" (Two analyses, one here and then a really interesting one here. The actual pilot, the last link, seems to think it was a tough situation. And he mentions what it must have been like to have a 40 degree up angle, and then the long stall, falling into the ocean. Must have been terrifying.)
A video of the problem of stalling.