Test flight Rio-Paris: Air France and Airbus on the same route

The hearings of the representatives of the company and the aircraft manufacturer converge on the responsibility of the crew in the accident. The anger of the civil parties.





Of Thierry Vigoreux

Flight recorders shed light on the crash of AF447.
© MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

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OROpened on 10 October, the river trial of the crash of the Rio-Paris flight AF447, which killed 228 people in June 2009, continues in the Paris court. Attendance at the hearings varies according to the topics covered and the witnesses heard. The trial is currently on hold with highly technical forensic and genetics hearings. Next week, plaintiffs will come to testify. Then, from 1um December, the briefs of the lawyers of the civil parties are expected. The requests from the Public Prosecutor’s Office are expected on the morning of 7 December and will be followed by the briefs of the defense (Air France and Airbus).

We can already get an idea of ​​the content of these future memoirs after listening to the representatives of Air France and Airbus in recent days. Pascal Weil explained at length what was the flow of information in the airline, the importance of reporting the slightest incident, even the smallest. This process generates nearly 600 monthly messages which then allow pilots to be warned via review Overview and distribute notes in the lockers, but also adjust the training programs and the semi-annually scheduled simulator sessions accordingly. The retired pilot, licensed on many Airbuses, from the A318 to the A380, has no “fundamental complaints to make to Airbus”. This is very displeasing to the civil parties who have the stated aim of condemning Airbus and see it as a potential ally for not following the same path.

READ ALSOTrial of the crash of flight AF447 Rio-Paris: Air Caraïbes alarms

In his presentation and answers to questions, Christophe Cail, former chief test pilot and now operational adviser to Airbus’ director of flight safety, draws attention to the actions of pilots which caused the A330 to exit its flight envelope and cause the stall. He pointed out that, from time to time, the crew, for twenty seconds after disengaging the autopilot, “want to check the trajectory and start doing well”.

Every driver is a good driver, as a rule, but it’s the teamwork that hasn’t worked.Christophe Cail

Ruins then an excessive pitch action performed by the pilot in flight, which does not follow the corrections of the pilot monitoring (not in flight). And the captain, called seven times in thirty-five seconds, is slow to leave his berth. In summary, “every driver is a good driver, as a rule, but it’s the teamwork that hasn’t worked”.

READ ALSORio-Paris crash trial: the last words of the pilots will ring out

Cordial Air France-Airbus agreement?

On the part of the civil parties, we denounce a non-aggression pact by the co-defendants. It is certain that Air France and Airbus have been together for fifty years. Air France is a historic customer: in April 1974 it carried out the first commercial flight of the A300 between Paris and London. Recently, the company placed an order for 50 A320s, deciding to switch Transavia’s low-cost fleet from Boeing 737s to single-aisle Airbuses.

Truth be told, the Air France-KLM group had little choice, a big order from Boeing would have made the elect scream, not only of the South West, but of the many French regions where aeronautics is a big business with its fabrics by subcontractors. Among the next deadlines, the replacement of the Boeing 777-300 with its competitor, the Airbus A350-1000 could take place.

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Getting angry with Airbus would not be reasonable in the long run for Air France, which, due to lack of competition, would then be tied hand and foot with Boeing, in particular for the prices of the planes, those of the parts, the delays, etc. Furthermore, Air France does not weigh much, around 1%, in Airbus’ order book, which amounts to 10,000 aircraft. And, in Toulouse, sentiments cannot be made, such as the cancellation of contracts and the referral to international courts of the emblematic Qatar Airways for disputes over the painting of the last aircraft delivered.

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