Tag Archives: Piloting Error

Air France 447 and Jean-Pierre Otelli, “Piloting Error, Volume 5”

What weather lies ahead of our flight?

Heard about the book today.  Jean-Pierre Otelli  who specializes in aviation safety, publishes his book “Piloting Error, Volume 5” today.

But in my opinion, he only re-analyses the facts collected in BEA’s report.  I believe that the BEA’s report is seriously flawed and the book adds little to mishap prevention.

Would you like proof that BEA’s investigation is flawed?

Simple: there is little if any recommended corrective action contained in the report, that, if followed, would have prevented this mishap. Rather, the book and report appears to center on finding fault, assigning blame and extracting tribute for damages. So, the investigation is really a legal investigation and not a Safety Investigation.  I have explained in the blog that the only value to a Safety investigation is to find ways to prevent a recurrence.
It appears to me training is weak at AF as well. So, that is a managerial responsibility and regulatory duty. Remember that this crew was certified by the airline’s training dept and national aeronautical regulators before they were assigned to operate this flight. If their performance as a crew and as individuals was substandard, as alleged in the BEA’s report, then that would be a direct indictment of the training and certification authority credibility, would it not?

From my background training experience, when we first learned basic and radio instrument procedures in basic jet training, an important segment of that training were procedures to employ when some of the instruments failed. Some of this training focuses on the failure of attitude and/or directional gyro equipment and is called partial panel procedures. Some other procedures focused on loss of pitot-static instruments, some or all, and teach you to remain in stable flight using attitude instruments and standard engine power settings. Other procedures cover magnetic and/or directional gyro or heading instrument failures, still others cover what to do if part of your navigation instrumentation fails.

We practiced all of these procedures right from the beginning of our training. Along the way with every new aircraft, with every new organization, these procedures remained a significant part of regular training. At my last sim/training session a year before retirement, we were required to practice these procedures and focus especially on the loss of pitot-static instruments. We trained heavily on this. After more than 40 years of flying and training, we were reviewing the basics and training on written procedures for loss of instrumentation.
So, were these AF447 crew members trained by AF in this area? There certainly appears to be a question here. However, does the report by BEA or the book by Otelli  investigate this?

So, read over my various blog postings and let me know what comes to your mind.