BEA human factors panel prepares to examine AF447 crash

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French investigation agency Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses has put together a seven-member human factors working group which will examine in detail the events in the cockpit of the ill-fated Air France flight AF447.

The Airbus A330 crashed in June 2009 after a high-altitude stall from which the pilots failed to recover, a situation which has split opinions over the extent to which the crew was responsible for the accident.

BEA said the working group's objective is to analyse "all aspects connected to the conduct of the flight". The group includes three BEA investigators who specialise in human factors, two A330 pilots - one a test pilot - plus a risk-analysis psychiatrist and a human factors aviation consultant.

They will study the AF447 crew's actions and responses during the last few minutes of the flight, from the point at which the aircraft was in stable cruise, through its sudden climb, eventual stall, and descent to the ocean surface.

BEA said the working group will, "in particular", look at the pilots' response to the stall warning, as well as aspects relating to human-machine interfaces and cockpit ergonomics. The group will complete its studies by the end of this year and its findings will be published alongside the final report into the AF447 crash in 2012.