On 31 May 2009, the Airbus A330 flight AF 447 took off from Rio de Janeiro Galeão airport bound for Paris Charles de Gaulle. The aeroplane was in contact with the Brazilian ATLANTICO control centre on the INTOL – SALPU – ORARO – TASIL route at FL350. At around 2 h 02, the Captain left the cockpit. At around 2 h 08, the crew made a course change of 12 degrees to the left, probably to avoid returns detected by the weather radar. At 2 h 10 min 05, likely following the obstruction of the Pitot probes by ice crystals, the speed indications were incorrect and some automatic systems disconnected.
at time 2 h 11 min 43,0 the copilot said “What’s happening? I don’t know I don’t know what’s happening“
The aeroplane’s flight path was not controlled by the two copilots. They were rejoined 1 minute 30 later by the Captain, while the aeroplane was in a stall situation that lasted until the impact with the sea at 2 h 14 min 28.courtesy : BEA – Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’ Analyses
The last recorded values were a pitch attitude of 16.2° nose-up, roll of 5.3° to the left and a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min
The accident resulted from the following succession of events:
- Temporary inconsistency between the measured airspeeds, likely following the obstruction of the Pitot probes by ice crystals that led in particular to autopilot disconnection and a reconfiguration to alternate law,
- Inappropriate control inputs that destabilized the flight path,
- The crew not making the connection between the loss of indicated airspeeds and the appropriate procedure,
- The PNF’s late identification of the deviation in the flight path and insufficient correction by the PF,
- The crew not identifying the approach to stall, the lack of an immediate reaction on its part and exit from the flight envelope,
- The crew’s failure to diagnose the stall situation and, consequently, the lack of any actions that would have made recovery possible.