France’s main national pilot’s union came out strongly in defense of the flight crews that lost their life in Air France Flight 447 flying from Rio De Janeiro to Paris on June 1st 2009.
The May 23rd 2011 statement addresses rumors which have widely circulated in the media as provided to the Wall Street Journal by a confidential source close to the investigation. Excerpts from the article published today read the “pilots (…) became distracted with faulty airspeed indicators and failed to properly deal with other vital systems, including adjusting engine thrust” which we assume would have prevented the big airliner to enter a fatal stall. The statement also responds to claims that the flight captain was not inside the cockpit as the event began to unfold and urges against drawing conclusions prematurely, as the investigation proceeds.
We are providing an integral translation of the Union’s statement, apologizing for any defects.
“The SNPL F ALPA reaffirms its attachment to respecting the confidentiality during BEA technical investigation and regrets that unconfirmed allegations have been divulged to the press.
One of the latest rumor relates to the flight captain being absent from the cockpit as the event began, floating anew unfounded allegations regarding the professional demeanor of the crew.
The SNPL F ALPA must specify that the flight captain absence from the cockpit during part of the cruise perfectly conforms to international regulations. In fact on such long flights, an extra plot is mandated so that each pilot can take a moment of rest during flight. Two pilots remain permanently at the controls in conformance to the aircraft’s certification rules, as was the case in facts.
Furthermore the SNPL F ALPA points out that in France, all crew members (flight captain and first officer) possess the same technical competencies and the same qualifications.
The SNPL France ALPA forcefully denounces the suspicions that such voluntarily non-exhaustive information are weighing against the crew.”
The Airbus A330 was flown that day by a highly experienced crew composed of 58-year-old Flight Captain Marc Dubois who had 11,000 flight hours with 1,700 hours in the Airbus A330/A340 since 2007, co-pilots David Robert, 38 had 6,600 flight hours, including 2,600 on Airbus A330/A340 since 2002, and Pierre-Cedric Bonin, 32 years who had 3,000 flight hours, including 800 on Airbus A330/A340 since 2008.