France - Brazil

Rio-Paris flight lost speed data during three-minute plunge into Atlantic

Reuters/Charles Platiau

Pilots lost vital speed data as the Air France 447 Rio-Paris flight began a three-minute plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, according to information released by investigators Friday. Brazilian victims’ families dismissed the report’s findings as “nothing really new”.

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En route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on 1 June 2009, the Airbus A330 plane ran into heavy turbulence and, apparently, icing on probes measuring speed before it went down, killing 228 people.
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The pilots of Air France flight 447 saw different and invalid speeds on their instruments before the Airbus A330-203 crashed into the Atlantic, according to investigators at France's BEA aviation safety agency.

“We have no valid indications,’ one of the pilots said, the black box reveals.

Detailing information collected from two flight recorders, or black boxes, recovered from the plane's sea-bed wreckage early this month, the agency found there was an inconsistency between the speeds displayed on the left side, and the integrated standby instrument system.

The situation lasted for less than one minute.

The aircraft climbed to 38,000 feet and stalled; the descent lasted three and a half minutes.

The two co-pilots were in control at the time because the captain, who had left the cockpit to take a rest, returned but did not take over the controls.

Friday’s findings were released to correct what the agency called “"the partial and more or less contradictory information published in the media”, and are meant to “establish the circumstances of the accident but not the causes".

A full report is expected by the end of July.

“We still don’t know if the airplane had a fault, we will have to wait for the BEA report at the end of July,” Nelson Faria Marinho of the Brazilian families’ group said after the report was released.

Both Airbus and Air France are being probed for manslaughter in the case.

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