On June 2009, an Air France Airbus 330 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 people. According to an investigation, it was a pilot’s mistake. This is a recording of the conversation between the Captain and the Junior Pilot, just before crashing.
The conversation corresponds to the last minutes just before impact. It has the voices of 58-year-old Captain Dubois (11,000 hours of flight time), 37-year-old pilot David Robert (6500 hours) and 32-year-old Junior Pilot Pierre-Cedric Bonin (2900 hours). Bonin and Robert were on the controls trying to save the plane when the Captain stormed into the cabin and tried to save the situation.
It was too late:
Robert: ‘What’s the altitude?’
Captain Dubois: ‘What do you mean what altitude?”‘
Robert: ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m descending right?’
Captain Dubois: ‘Get your wings horizontal’
Robert: ‘Level your wings’
Bonin: That’s what I’m trying to do… What the …how is it we are going down like this?’
Robert: ‘See what you can do with the commands up there, the primaries and so on… Climb climb, climb, climb.’
Bonin: ‘But I have been pulling back on the stick all the way for a while.’
Dubois: ‘No, no, no, don’t climb.’
Robert: ‘OK give me control, give me control.’=
Dubois: ‘Watch out you are pulling up’…
Robert: ‘Am I?’
Bonin: ‘Well you should, we are at 4000.’
On board computer: ‘Sink rate. Pull up, pull up, pull up’.
Dubois: ‘Go on: “pull”.’
Bonin: ‘We’re pulling, pulling, pulling, pulling.’
Captain Dubois: ‘Ten degrees pitch’ (in a very cold, calm voice)
The recording in the black box stops right there, half-a-second later.