The pilots could no longer fly the plane. An Air France Boeing 777 from JFK Airport in New York City on Tuesday had to give up landing at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (Val-d’Oise) after a serious incident.
Flight AF011 was on “final”, the last leg of the approach phase, descending along the axis of the runway, when the pilots noticed that the aircraft had stopped responding to the controls and was drifting to the left. The aircraft was then at an altitude of 1,200 feet (less than 400 meters) and had to perform a “go around”, an emergency overrun, before returning to land without incident.
A document posted online (to listen to below) allows you to hear the exchanges between the pilots and the control tower at the airport at the time of the incident. In particular, we hear an alarm and one of the pilots says “stop! stop!” to his colleague, then the controller immediately asks for news and is answered by the pilot, visibly stressed: “I’ll call you back”. Guessing a problem, and, as he will say a few seconds later, Seeing on the radar that the plane is going to the left, the air traffic controller orders another plane to stop climbing so as not to intervene “We’ve gone over the throttle, 4,000 feet, we’re going to service them, we’ll call you back”, adds one of the New York-Paris pilots a few seconds later, then resumes in a less enthusiastic tone and mentions “a problem with flight control, the plane did almost everything”. indicated that the aircraft was at 400 meters altitude shortly before.
“The plane surfaced extremely quickly”
Michèle, 75, was in business class on this “brand new plane”. “There was a lot of fog, we saw the track at the last minute,” she says. We were almost on the runway when the plane took off extremely fast.” At that point, “this regular traveler thinks he missed his landing.” But the passengers do not panic. His neighbors, Americans, even go on with their night.
As the pilots circled over Paris for about ten minutes, she continued, the crew was slow to inform passengers of the incident. The captain finally picked up the microphone to justify the setback: “He told us that a plane on the runway had prevented them from landing. When we arrived, we learned nothing more.”
Next Wednesday, the BEA (Bureau for Research and Analysis for the Security of Civil Aviation) announced in a press release to open “a security investigation”. It depicts a “serious incident”, with therefore a high probability of an accident, with “flight control instability at final go-around, harshness of controls and trajectory oscillations”. The data recovered on Tuesday and Wednesday are being “analyzed,” the BEA said.
‘Go-around due to technical incident during approach’
For its part, Air France confirmed in a press release that the flight crew “interrupted their landing sequence and performed a go-around due to a technical incident during the approach. The crew had mastered the situation and landed normally after a second approach.”
According to this press release, the relaunch is “a normal procedure” and “crews are trained and regularly informed about these procedures used by all airlines to ensure the safety of flights and passengers, which is an absolute necessity. Air France” . The company added: “Understand and regret the inconvenience customers may have felt, as these types of maneuvers with an aircraft using much less fuel than at take-off are often very impressive from the cabin. The black boxes containing the flight data recording (FDR) and the conversations in the cockpit (CVR) have been recovered and are being “analyzed” according to the BEA.