Le Telegramme (AF Pilot’s Union ) – Folha (Prince Pedro Luis Buried) – LeFigaro (Air France CIO 1st Interview)



8 juillet 2009

Flight AF447. A union of pilots involved in civil aviation (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

The pilots’ union at Air France (SPAF) involves the civil aviation authorities in France and Europe did not impose a change on pitot probes Airbus A330/40, which could “prevent” the crash of the AF447.

The SPAF (minority) said “it was the responsibility of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) of France and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA),” to impose on the manufacturer Airbus changes necessary “after the incidents in connection with Pitot probes, loaded to measure the speed, in a letter to the directors of the two administrations.”

For many years, the A330/340 aircraft crews have reported cases of loss or fluctuations indications of speed aircraft in severe weather “caused by the presence of ice or water in the Pitot tube, says the chairman of SPAF, Gérard Arnoux.

“Appropriate measures” from the DGCA and EASA “would have prevented the outbreak of the sequence of events leading to the loss of control of the aircraft, which ended with his crash between Paris and Rio with 228 people on board.

SPAF’s letter cites a presentation by officials from the EASA in a conference held in September 2007, which shows that the authority was informed of a “significant number of events associated with icing or heavy rain, with an indication of problems related to speed pitot tubes.

This presentation of the Head of the certification of the EASA was precisely the theme “The certification question – icing probes,” reports the SPAF.

The Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), in charge of the investigation technique on the crash, for its part considers that the failure of Pitot probes may be an explanation, but at this stage there is nothing to link the causes of the accident, which remains undetermined.

Seville2007_Briefing_Cover_PageSee previous posting (Airbus/BEA: Pointing Their Finger At The Big Cloud In The Sky).


07/07/2009 – — 09h31 09h31

Body of Brazilian Prince who was on flight 447 is buried in Rio

Folha Online (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

Pedro_LuisThe body of Prince Pedro Luís of Orleans and Braganza, 26, heir to the family and Orleans Bragança, was buried on the afternoon of Monday (6th) in the municipality of Brooms in Rio Pedro.  Luis is one of 228 people were on board the flight 447 of Air France.

The airline’s Airbus A330 came out on May 31 from Rio to Paris and fell in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after passing by Fernando de Noronha (PE).

According to the firm representing the family Orleans and Bragança, São Paulo, the burial took place at Our Lady of Conception cemetery in the family vault, where he was buried with the grandfather of Peter Luis, Pedro Henrique de Orleans e Bragança, former head of the Imperial House of Brazil.

Before the funeral a Mass was held in the church of the Mother city. About one hundred relatives and friends attended the ceremony, reported the company.

Pedro Luis was on flight 447 to return to Europe after making visits to the family, which lives in Petrópolis (RJ). He was trained in business administration and did post-graduate by FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas). For two years he lived in Luxembourg.


A Few Questions for Mr Pierre-Henri Gourgeon:

AFtng_10minsPlease explain aircrew training for upset recovery.  According to my information, aircrews are only given 10 minutes of training/instruction on this subject matter.

airbus_tngLet me understand this correctly, Air France only provides 10 minutes on upset recovery because the Fly-By-Wire protects the aircraft and no specific training is necessary?  Is this correct Mr Gourgeon?

The flying public has additional questions on aircrew procedures within the cockpit, however for today, let’s just try to answer the above two questions if you don’t mind and have the time?


LE FIGARO, 9 juillet 2009 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)



"We often lose planes over Russia, Africa or the ocean and we find," said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon. Crédits photo: Le Figaro

INTERVIEW – Five weeks after the accident of flight AF 447 between Paris and Rio, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France spoke for the first time. Truth in an interview that he reflects on the first lessons of the tragedy.

LE FIGARO – Since the disaster, the wildest rumors were circulated. Like a record, you keep secret, the pilot of the AF 447 which would have expressed his distress to another device. Others mentioned the lack of services to receive messages Acars what it really?

As for the system that delivers messages automatically for maintenance is very modern equipment. This system is not mandatory. All aircraft in the world are not equipped, but our long-haul are. Nobody receives real-time messages, known Acars issued automatically by the aircraft. Nobody intended to do so. These messages are designed to prepare technical interventions with the arrival of flights at Roissy, so that everything is ready for the next steps.

Pierre-Henri GOURGEON – Like the black boxes have not yet been found, we have very little information, which opens the field to all kinds of speculation. But it is a certainty, no radio contact was understood between the flight AF 447 and airplanes traveling nearby. The testimony of the pilots of Air France and other companies are formal. They know much better they were in an area away from radar and a radio listening watch – pilots start a self-frequency to communicate with each other in case of trouble – is mandatory.

Receiving at home, these 24 messages Acars arriving in less than 4 minutes at 4 am on Monday of Pentecost?

When our technician arrives this morning, it handles messages from the AF 447 – which should arrive at 11:15 – like those of other flights of the night (usually between 10 and 15 flights). Nothing indicated the gravity of the situation.

24 messages but is still much for a single flight?

Other aircraft that fly and land without any order may issue even more messages.

Yes, but at this time, air traffic control in Dakar, which had come into contact with the aircraft could not do so.

Also a warning and research being launched between the various air control centers. We are in the phase of uncertainty. But again this is not necessarily serious, we often lose planes over Russia, Africa or the ocean and we find. For it happens that planes undergo radio blackouts. Between 6.30am and 8.30am, it is too early for the aircraft to be spotted by the centers of Madrid or Brest.

When someone does the link between the disappearance of the aircraft and messages Acars particular that evokes issues of pitot probe and icing?

Shortly before 8:30. While the airplane is sought, the Operations Control Center Air France was informed by the maintenance Acars messages that indicate the discrepancy of speed information, which might indicate a problem with icing. That is not enough to explain the accident, but this may have been a factor. Rovetto Gilbert, Deputy Director General Operations, called me and announced, while control centers confirm one after another not to be in contact with the flight AF 447. That means we have probably lost a plane.

When we understand that your home is irretrievable disaster?

It opened at Roissy, in a specially equipped room. Around Pussiau Antoine, director of the Caribbean and Indian Ocean and director of permanent crisis, take place with representatives of the operational functions of the company: operations, personnel, medical, maintenance, communication, etc.. The crisis will remain active 24 hours on 24 during the first week and 18 hours over 24 during the second week. Our first priority is to organize the reception of close to Roissy. They are only 60 to 70 because many passengers are in correspondence. It welcomes in a dedicated area, the lounge of Terminal D, it is a piece that is arranged so as to leave a little privacy for families. At 12:15, a military aircraft took off from Dakar to the initial research. At 13:00, we set up a hotline. At 13:30, I do a press briefing. In the days that followed, we made contact with nearly 2 000 relatives of victims, who were 32 different nationalities.

Exactly, you have been accused of sometimes slow to prevent the families …

Today, when you take a ticket, you put your phone number. There is no longer the “people to contact in case of accident.” However, the laptop of our passengers was obviously with them. It’s hard to find people, we do it with a date of birth, an address on an expired passport. Sometimes certain family members have been contacted by Air France, others not, who have complained. It’s very complicated, it is done in desperation. It is abominable.

Why not be gone immediately to Brazil?

I did not go immediately to Brazil to attend the ceremony in honor of the victims in Notre-Dame de Paris. The next day I was at Roissy to the gathering in memory of the twelve crew members and four other employees missing in flight AF 447. It was very moving, there were 10 000 people. Silence was total. We had the mission to bring our passengers safely and we did not. Everyone believes in the company: “Air France, is not it.” The emotional burden is immense. As in Brazil, I come back. There, the 30th day after the disappearance of a loved one is a day of mourning very important. The families I met were very affected.

What a lesson learned from this disaster?

It was yesterday, it is now but it will be more tomorrow. Because everything will be scrutinized: the mechanical fields, human factors, weather knowledge. All of the accident scenarios will be analyzed. Everything will be looked at and we will improve the elements that may be related to the accident and others who are not. There is no contradiction between security and economics. When security improves, it improves the image of the company and improving its economic performance logically. There was never any arbitrage between these two areas. For example, it is in black and white when there are thunderstorms, we need them, it is not to save on fuel. Pilots are free to choose their route.

Specifically, what will you do?

We will look at the contents of crew training, the quality of weather information available and updated information through exchanges with the ground. On the occasion of an incident and a fortiori of an accident, the return of experience shows the possibilities of failure. Whether or not a connection with the cause of the event, it is our duty to correct them.

The captain of Flight Sao Paulo – Paris, passed shortly after the flight AF 447 in the “Pot in Black”, said to have gone through a stormy first area that was not detected by the radar and thus have avoided a lot largest manually increasing the sensitivity of the radar. The flight AF 447 may not have been lucky to have the first warning shot and may not have avoided a very active thunderstorm. This testimony will motivate us to reconsider how to use radar. Whether or not the cause of the disappearance of flight AF 447, one must consider all factors and evolutionary processes and rules. In the air, the risk mitigation works: either an element represents a fatal risk to the aircraft and you must remove it by all means, it is this element represents a catastrophic risk and should be corrected.

On this question of probes, why have not you said earlier that you did?

It has been said and written since June 6 in a statement. In September 2007, Airbus had issued technical notes which recommended, not compulsory, replacement probes Thalès model “AA” by probes model “BA”. It was indicated that these new probes limited the intake of water by heavy rain at low altitude and reduced the risk of icing at high altitude. Air France has launched this change on the A320, which had experienced incidents of ingestion of water.

In the summer of 2008, we have seen unprecedented incidents related icing probes on A340 and A330. Air France has asked Airbus a solution. In response, the manufacturer has indicated that the model “BA”, recommended on A320 was not designed to prevent incidents of icing and its recommendation of September 2007 has been amended accordingly in November 2008.

Beginning in 2009, laboratory tests have however shown that the probe “BA” could provide an improvement over the previous probe. Airbus inform Air France April 15 and offered them a flight test evaluation. Air France decided to change all the probes A330/340 fleet immediately. The program was launched April 27. The new probes were supplied by the manufacturer in the weeks preceding the disappearance of the AF 447.

We must therefore understand that at the time of the accident, the change of probe was underway but that no material fact required Airbus replacement. The day after the accident, we said that there had perhaps been a problem with icing. A change for an alternative approach has helped to accelerate this program. This decision was not taken under pressure from unions of pilots, as has been said.

These exchanges tend to prove that Air France has done its job but do not rule out the track sensors to explain the accident.

It is up to investigators to clarify the exact role of the probes into the accident.

What have you really changed since Colin highly critical report on aviation security?

I am proud of Colin report, circulated to all the sailors of the company, and shows us that there was no taboo on security issues. In October 2005, we assigned three commanders aboard Air France instructors mission analysis of the organization and functioning of our air operations. Since you must know that the recommendations of this report have been implemented in all areas: business rules, organization and flight safety, crew training, operations and ground maintenance.

Do you think you will find the black boxes?

For Air France, it is crucial to retrieve the recorders to understand. The acoustic research black boxes are going to continue until July 10, with the commitment of the nuclear submarine “Emerald” and the deployment of devices listening sophisticated. After that date, the research will continue with submarine robots to locate the wreckage of the aircraft. All hope is not lost.

Some media have reported massive resignations of hostesses and stewards of Air France since the 1st June

It is a rumor unworthy particularly when we know the dedication of our staff and their commitment to their company. There has been no resignation or hostess steward for Air France since the disaster. None.


An Iceberg In Paris In The Summer? Blue Ice?