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Pilot error, bad sensors caused 2009 Air France crash

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AIR FRANCE 2009 AIRLINE CRASH. It was combination of faulty sensors and mistakes by inadequately trained pilots that caused an Air France jet to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, killing all 228 people aboard in the airline’s deadliest ever crash.

It took four searches over the course of nearly two years to locate the bulk of the wreckage and the majority of the bodies in a mountain range deep under the ocean, the CNN reported.

Ice crystals that blocked the pitot tubes were the “unleashing event” that set off the plane’s troubles, chief accident investigator Alain Bouillard said to the Associated Press. The plane’s autopilot shut off and the co-pilots had to fly manually, while a succession of alarms were going off. The captain was on a rest break.

In a fatal decision, according to the French investigators, one of the co-pilots nosed the Airbus A330 upward during a stall, instead of downward as he should have, because of false data from sensors about the plane’s position.

A basic maneuver for stall recovery, is to push the yoke forward and apply full throttle to lower the nose of the plane and build up speed.

The investigators said the two pilots at the controls never understood that the plane was in a stall, the Associated Press reported. Only a well-experienced crew with a clear understanding of the situation could have stabilized the plane in those conditions.

“In this case, the crew was in a state of near-total loss of control,” Bouillard said.

The ill-fated flight 447 was passing through an area prone to volatile and dangerous weather known as the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone when it went down, the CNN reported. The Brazil-to-France flight plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board.

CNN: Deadliest airline crashes in history

The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.