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Report: Better training could have prevented 2009 Air France crash


The final report on the crash of Air France 447, which killed all 228 people on board, targeted poor pilot training and a lack of communication in the cockpit as significant causes, even though a failure of the Airbus A330’s pitot tubes catalyzed the accident chain. When the pitot tubes iced up, airspeed readings became inaccurate and the autopilot disconnected. But the pilots didn’t properly troubleshoot the problem, instead pitching the plane up as much as 40 degrees as the stall warning blared intermittently. Even when the captain returned to the flight deck, no one recognized that the plane was in a high-altitude stall for most of its two-minute descent before hitting the ocean. And the flight crew failed to communicate to one another what each was doing, let alone come up with a plan of action to fix the problems and resume normal flight. Since the accident, Air France and many other airlines have revamped their training to include recoveries from high-altitude stalls. French safety officials also noted that it took hours for search and rescue efforts to begin, even though the air traffic controller in Senegal had access to a new radar-like display using GPS data that showed the position of the Air France flight and other aircraft in that area of the Atlantic Ocean.