Episode 2- Air France 447, frozen pitot tubes & confusion on the flight deck

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By Plane Crash Diaries and Desmond Latham. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
This is the series that tracks air disasters through history and how each has led directly to the safety we almost take for granted every time we climb aboard an airliner. Last week it was the story of the first recognized commercial air crash involving a dirigible over Chicago in July 1919 that killed 13 people, three on board and 10 on the ground. That led to new no-fly rules over city central business districts. This week we have jumped forward to the crash of Air France 447 which took place in June 2009. Two hundred and twenty eight crew and passengers were on board. None made it out alive. A crucial piece of equipment malfunctioned leading to incorrect decisions being made by the air crew. The piece of equipment is called the Pitot tube. At the end of this episode I’ll update the Short History of section with more details about the background to the PITOT tube. Pitot tubes are amazingly simple yet vital hardware and you can find these on all aircraft, big or small. It’s linked to pressure-sensitive instruments and used to determine airspeed, altitude, and rate of climb or how fast a plane is climbing or sinking. Modern airliners have more than one, but that didn’t make any difference in the early morning hours of June 1st 2009. Air Airbus A330-203 registration F-GZCP took off from Rio de Janeiro at on May 31st 2009 routing to Paris. Because the duration of the flight was more than 10 hours, there were 3 crew which meant each could take a break. The flight's captain was Marc Dubois, while the co-pilots were Pierre-Cédric Bonin and David Robert.[12] There were 9 cabin crew onboard and 216 passengers. Unfortunately for all on board, the first sign of poor aviating that night a severe chain of thunderstorms appeared in the inter tropical convergence zone, the area north and south of the equator which registers cumulo nimbus based storms that can rise to nearly 50 000 feet which is higher than any airliner flies. No large commercial airliner can fly that high.

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