Air France 447 Crash Site: 75 More Bodies Pulled From Wreckage

by Kate Auletta Subscribe to Kate Auletta's posts Posted Jun 1st 2011 10:15 AM



Reuters reports
that the bodies have been pulled from the wreckage "in recent days."

A spokesperson for the military police in charge of the operation told Reuters:"Seventy-five bodies have been brought up but operations are still going on and we'll have to wait for the end of the search for a final figure."

In March, a French judge filed preliminary charges against Air France over the crash that killed all aboard.

In early May, two bodies were discovered roughly 12,800 feet below the Ocean's surface still strapped into their seats. The plane's two black boxes were also found last month, revealing that the plane plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in mere minutes.

Pilot error was found to be a culprit in the crash, as the jet's captain was absent from the cockpit. Reuters reports that the flight's 32-year old junior pilot had pulled the plane's nose up as it became unstable, generating an audible stall warning.

WATCH video of what the black boxes told investigators below:

Black Box Reveals New Details from Air France Flight 447

Filed Under: Air Travel, News, Video

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ktmocala almost gives it away in his posting here. The fact is that the pilots really don't "fly" any Airbus aircraft, at least not in the sense that most of us think about flying a plane. The onboard computers fly the plane, the pilots are allowed only minimal inputs away from the pre-programmed "norms". It's interesting that they're saying that the pitot tubes "froze", but the pilots put the plane into a "nose up" attitude. If the pitot tubes froze the speed sensors would almost certainly have read zero airspeed. In that case, the pilots would have never been able to over-ride the computer and go nose up, certainly not 30 degrees, as the computer would have over-ridden the pilot input and dropped the nose to get airspeed back. There is something else going on here, and as usual, whatever it is will be difficult to discover, unless someone at Airbus comes clean about the technical failure that came after the pitot tube freezing. It is certainly within the possibility that one or more of the rear stabilizers broke away, that's happened before to Airbus aircraft subjected to extreme deviations, which an aircraft in a severe storm might well have experienced.

July 22 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been an AIrbus tech...since there was an Airbus commercial airliner. The Airbus is an EXTREMELY reliable aircraft and the only time the pilot has a "problem" with it's so-called unfriendly when the pilot thinks he is smarter than the aircraft. Take into account the US Airways incident. Captain Sully did EXACTLY what he was supposed to do...became one with "the very difficult" aircraft that had ZERO thrust and only a ram air turbine and stand by electrical systems to maintain control. THAT"S ALL FOLKS! Here we have an Airbus A330...operated by arrogant French know-it-alls...and attempting to pull stunts outside of the aircraft operating envelope...AT CRITICAL ALTITUDE. Granted, there is a KNOWN problem with the Airbus pitot tube heating scenarios that will cause all kinds of flight control and thrust system irregularities if the tubes become iced over and that I admit might befuddle and flight deck crew. knowingly put ANY airliner into a nose up attitude at cruise to "slow" the aircraft...was simply asking for a stall condition. What the flight DID have at their collective disposal that would have given them a stand by speed reference would have been to select GPS data to the flight decks stand by 3 function indicator. One of which...come on say it with an airspeed indication.

And "Billa518" was NOT aircraft engine failure and even if it was...AIRBUS DOESN'T MANUFACTURE THE ENGINE! To get any AIrbus aircraft to achieve max thrust, the flight crew must DE-ACTIVATE or CANCEL auto-thrust thereby telling the FADEC to give the crew authority to input what they deem correct. The pilot...did not. (The FADEC is...Full Authority Digital Engine Control) Again...pilot screw up and trying to fly the aircraft the way HE thinks it should work. Pin-headed pilots who don't understand the aircraft or try to fly it like, say, a Boeing...will end up flying there Airliner into the forest every time. In my 35 years of professional aircraft maintenance, my knowledge has straightened out more than one slopping forehead and beady eyed pilots on COUNTLESS occasions! In the end oh ye fearful flyers...the Airbus is a FANTASTIC and ultra reliable aircraft...has long as their isn't a short circuit...between the pilot ear phone headset!

June 07 2011 at 9:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to ktmocala's comment

how much airbus stock do you own?

July 06 2011 at 2:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gtoya's comment

NONE. You cannot buy Airbus stock as it is not publicly traded!

July 13 2011 at 2:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
bad mutha fuqer

what you say is correct in every essance....stall speed ....never never pull back on the controlls....this tragedy is why you never pull back.....for you who cant percieve the logic...go up a 20 ft ladder and lean do it from 35,000 or more feet

October 14 2011 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am ignorant of pilot error vs. instrument issues.
Who labeled this catastrophe as pilot error? I have heard from more than one source that the airbus
is not a pilot friendly series of aircrafts due to the way the instruments take command leaving the pilot helpless to completely control the aircraft.
Is this true?
I have also been told never to fly and airbus due to the fact that a pilot can lose control due to instrument takeover. I have read articles explaining this systems fault in the airbus planes. I have no economic interest in any aircraft manufacturer and have not flown my own airplane since I was 21. I ask for information from pilots, not the airlines, if the airbus does have a major fault in the way the the instruments and auto piloting systems control the airbus, shouldn't that be corrected?
Wasn't there a crash at a major air show some time ago that was caused by the combination of instrumentation control and the inability of pilots to take true command of the aircraft.? perhaps this has been corrected. This is an ignorant but personally important question from one even today who will change my flight if I learn I am scheduled on an Airbus due to warnings from two well informed pilots who questioned the Airbuses instrument systems, vs pilot control.
Thank you anyone who can clear this up.

June 04 2011 at 3:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CFS456's comment

Airbus aircraft are not pilot-friendly and I avoid flying them whenever practical.
The flight control processor will not take control away from the pilot per se but it WILL refuse to comply if the pilot asks it to do something the aircraft thinks is 'out-of-bounds'.
Here's the easiest example I know of - If a pilot wants to barrel roll his 747, it will do it. An A330 will not. The Airbus will only bank to a certain point (88 degrees, I think) and no further. Normally, this isn't a bad thing (Personally, I can't think of good reason to roll a 747 but that doesn't mean there isn't one. I believe it has been done but only in initial flight testing) The problem is, extraordinary manuevers may be the only thing that will save an aircraft in a crisis...which by definition is 'out-of-bounds'
The crash you mention was at an air show at Mulhouse in June 1988. There were numerous screw-ups by virtually everyone. The killer was the engines' failure to respond when the pilot called for max power.

June 07 2011 at 7:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dr Jay Veeoh

A 32 year old "junior " pilot ? Guilty of stalling the plane ? Very abnormal, This junior is just as capable as the captain.
More likely is that following the high speed stall ,in the redress manoeuvres ,the vertical tail plane broke off.
After that ,recovery becomes impossible.They appear to have managed a number of large circles,stalling two more times,on the way down.

June 02 2011 at 10:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Pilot error? hmm. Under the circumstances, this is jumping to an easy conclusion too quickly. As mentioned below in my other comment, see: - a NOVA investigative analysis of the crash (minus black box info). Malfunctioning instruments during bizarre weather generated bad info and led to a cascade of (documented) computer errors apparently dooming the flight, in spite of (it appears) the pilot's efforts. Interesting that Air France changed out the A330 pitot tubes after this happened.

June 01 2011 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gludington's comment

it's easy to blame those not around to defend themselves

July 06 2011 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I used to be a Commercial Pilot. You believe your Inst. andand your general seat of the pants as to what the aircraft is doing. It appears that a combination of Inst. and butt feeling failed to rectifi the problem. We can investigate all we want to but we were not on the aircraft to sort out the chain of events. RIP people

June 01 2011 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why go into all these details now, 2 yrs. later. Don't the press do enough damage bringing everything, right or wrong, out in the open. After Bin Laden was killed, I thought most of the TV press carried on over and over about questions, what if this, what if that? Do people ever just accept the facts and leave it alone and let the general public think for themselves? Joan S. Albany, N.Y.

June 01 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm a private pilot with 2,000 hours and ASMELS, instrument and glider ratings. I don't understand why , if the plane fell for over three minutes after a stall, it didn't pick up enough flying speed to level off. I think 3 experienced pilots would have been able to make adjustments; it seems to me there was much more than "pilot error".

June 01 2011 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to vshogun30's comment

I am not a pilot, but I am a physicist.. and it seems to me that having a 30 degree up angle for 3.5 minutes and do nothing was not the right actions. However on the Nova video someone mentioned earlier, it said recovering from a stall was not part of the training for pilots, and only pilots with previous military training would know how to do this.. Even so, a very experienced military pilot lost 19,000 feet in a simulator recovering from a stall in the A330. Could they not have extended the flaps and with the same angle as takeoff, increased thrust and recovered without dropping the nose? (Question for pilots obviously)

June 01 2011 at 2:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to windatmyback2's comment
Winky Eye

Hi guys,
Hey, I'm not a licensed pilot or a physicist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Thanx

June 01 2011 at 2:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

I'm a pilot also, and this doesn't make sense to me either. There has to be other issues at play here that we don't know about. We have to wait for the official investigation report before jumping to conclusions.

June 01 2011 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I know that it must be really really cold 2 1/2 miles under water but it's mind blowing that they were able to bring up 77 bodies 2 years later. I figured after 2 years they would have decomposed or (pardon the term, I know they're someone's family) fishfood by now. How do you extract and bring up a body through those conditions, submersible robots?

June 01 2011 at 1:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Don't believe anything manufactured by the news media. The media's totally subjective ignorance is displayed in its most elegant form in issues of aviation. Why is it that they already know what will take months or even years of careful analysis of available information that may or may not reach a firm conclusion as to what actually happened? Wait for an objective report by qualified accident investigation teams. So-called "news" is usually the result of the unqualified gathering "information" from the uninformed to produce opinionated drivel for the uneducated.

June 01 2011 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply