Thu, May 03, 2012
Says Side Stick Design May Have Contributed To AF447 Accident
With the final report on the Air France Flight 447 accident due out in June, a report appearing in the U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph theorizes that the cockpit design common to all Airbus aircraft may have contributed to the confusion in the cockpit prior to the plane impacting the water.
Airbus airplanes have two side stick controls which are not linked. Therefore, the pilot not flying the airplane, or anyone else in the cockpit, is unable to easily see or feel what control inputs are being made by the pilot flying the airplane. After conducting interviews with several accident investigators, the paper says that had another pilot been aware that the pilot flying the airplane was pulling it into a nose-up attitude, he might have been able to correct the aerodynamic stall before the plane hit the water.
Transcripts from the cockpit voice recorder recovered about two years after the accident do indicate that there was some confusion about what needed to be done among the three pilots to prevent the accident. The French aviation safety agency BEA is expected to place most of the emphasis for the accident on pilot error, with only a mention of the side stick design.
Airbus would not comment to the paper for the article. In an appearance on Fox News, the journalist, Nick Ross, said it was not his intention to suggest that the A330 or any Airbus airplane was unsafe. "All commercial airliners are remarkably safe," he said. But his contention is that the design could be made safer. (A330 flight deck image courtesy Airbus)
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