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Factbox: Pre-crash moments of flight AF447
July 29, 2011 / 3:02 PM / in 6 years

Factbox: Pre-crash moments of flight AF447

PARIS (Reuters) - Below is a list of the final maneuvers of Air France flight AF447 and the last words of the cockpit crew, as detailed in an updated report published on Friday by French air accident investigator BEA.

The Airbus A330 crashed in the Atlantic on June 1, 2009 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 people on board.

The following information is taken from BEA’s English translation of the investigation update released on Friday.

The captain and two co-pilots were on board. The BEA refers to the pilot flying the plane -- which for the majority of the time analyzed was the more junior co-pilot -- as “PF,” while a pilot not at the controls is called “PNF.” All times are GMT.

To see the BEA update, click on: here

May 31, 2009, 22:29GMT -- Take-off.

June 1, 01:55 -- The captain woke the second co-pilot, said “He’s going to take my place” and left the cockpit.

The BEA findings said “the captain’s departure occurred without clear operational instructions.”

02:06:04 -- The PF called the cabin crew, telling them to watch out because turbulence was coming up. “It’ll move about a bit more than at the moment,” he said.

02:08:07 -- The PNF said “you can maybe go a little to the left” and the plane began a slight turn to the left. Turbulence increased slightly and the crew decided to reduce speed.

From 2:10:05 -- The autopilot and auto-thrust disengaged and the PF said “I have the controls.” The aircraft began to roll to the right and the PF tried to raise the nose and turn left. The stall warning sounded twice in a row. There was a sharp fall in speed.

“There was an inconsistency between the measured speeds, likely as a result of the obstruction of the Pitot probes in an ice crystal environment,” the BEA wrote.

2:10:16 -- The PNF said “so, we’ve lost the speeds.” The plane started to climb. The PF tried to bring the nose down and rolled alternately left and right.

The BEA said neither pilot followed the manual aircraft handling procedure for high altitudes, for which they had received no training. The crew did not alert each other to the differences in pitch attitude and vertical speed.

The climb speed of the plane dropped sharply and the speed indicated on the left side increased suddenly. The BEA said the speed on the left primary flight display remained invalid for 29 seconds.

From 02:10:50 -- The PNF tried several times to call the captain back.

02:10:51 -- The stall warning was triggered again. The PF continued trying to pull the nose up. Altitude reached its maximum of about 38,000 feet.

“Neither of the pilots made any reference to the stall warning. Neither of the pilots formally identified the stall situation,” the BEA wrote in its findings.

02:11:32 -- The PF said: “I don’t have control of the plane. I’ve totally lost control of the plane.”

02:11:42 -- The captain re-entered the cockpit, about 1.5 minutes after the autopilot disconnected. In the following seconds, all the recorded speeds became invalid and the stall warning stopped after being on continuously for 54 seconds. The altitude was about 35,000 ft and the plane was descending at about 10,000 ft per minute. Roll oscillations sometimes reached 40 degrees, and the PF brought the nose up. The aircraft’s angle of attack -- the angle at which air was striking the wings -- was not directly displayed to the pilots, the BEA said.

02:12:02 -- The PF said “I don’t have any more indications,” and the PNF said “we have no valid indications.”

Around fifteen seconds later, the PF pulled the nose down. The angle of attack decreased, the speeds became valid again and the stall warning sounded again. Confusion reigned in the cockpit.

The PNF says: “You’re going up. Go down, go down, go down.”

“Am I going down now,” the PF said.

“No, you’re going up,” the captain said.

02:13:32 -- The PF said the plane’s altitude was nearing 10,000 feet. About 15 seconds later, simultaneous inputs by both pilots on the sidesticks were recorded and the PF said “go ahead, you have the controls.”

The BEA said the engines were working and always responded to the crew’s inputs. No announcement was made to the passengers.

02:14:18 -- The captain urged the PNF to pull up. “We’re pulling up, we’re pulling up, we’re pulling up,” the PNF said seconds before the recordings stopped.

No emergency message was sent by the crew, the BEA said.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Helen Massy-Beresford, Leila Abboud and Alexandria Sage, editing by Tim Pearce

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