Update: MSNBC has a three minute video with two former NTSB investigators discussing the accident.
Citing inaccuracies and errors in media reports on the crash of AF447 off the coast of Brazil, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’aviation civile in charge of the investigation released a note on the crash this afternoon.
Their note covers the preliminary results from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder for the ill-fated Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP that departed Rio for Paris on 31 May 2009 with 12 crew members and 216 passengers on board that crashed in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil.
As many have suspected, the aircraft stalled. Their findings were summarizes as follows:
? The composition of the crew was in accordance with the operator’s procedures
? At the time of the event, the weight and balance of the airplane were within the operational limits
? At the time of the event, the two co-pilots were seated in the cockpit and the Captain was resting. The latter returned to the cockpit about 1 min 30 after the disengagement of the autopilot
? There was an inconsistency between the speeds displayed on the left side and the integrated standby instrument system (ISIS). This lasted for less than one minute.
? After the autopilot disengagement:
? The airplane climbed to 38,000 ft.
? The stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled
? The inputs made by the PF were mainly nose-up
? The descent lasted 3 min 30, during which the airplane remained stalled. The angle of attack increased and remained above 35 degrees
? The engines were operating and always responded to crew commands.
? The last recorded values were a pitch attitude of 16.2 degrees nose-up, a roll angle of 5.3 degrees left, and a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min.
These results clearly indicate that the aircraft went into a stall, and the nose-up, rather than nose down inputs that are required for stall recovery, were incorrect, exacerbating the problem and resulting in a loss of control of the aircraft.
The full text of the statement is available in English here: http://www.bea.aero/fr/enquetes/vol.af.447/point.enquete.af447.27mai2011.en.pdf .