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What Air France knew: flight AF447 ACARS Event PFR report and Technical Report, 2008-2009
From WikileaksJune 28, 2009
Air France flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, crashed into the Atlantic ocean on June 1, 2009. The cause of the crash is not yet known. This archive containes four leaked documents (PDFs) and two images (PNG) relating to the destruction of the aircraft.
The PNG file called "PFR447.png" is an adjunct to the "Air France flight AF447 ACARS summary report, June 2009" document previously released by WikiLeaks. The other PNG is a typed version of the earlier document.
PDFs 1 and 2 are pages 1 and 2 respectively of an Air France internal technical note (in French), with the English translations in PDFs 3 and 4. These PDFs are all part of "Air France Techical Note 34-029." The Technical Note has been circulating in the pilot community since the 22nd of June.
The Event PFR provides greater insight into the specific reports given in the summary ACARS list. In a nutshell, these reports are caused by unreliable anemometric data provided by the aircraft's pitot-probes. While they do not offer a conclusion for the accident, they appear to be central to the event. Furthermore, as shown in the Technical Note, the probes were acknowledged as having shortcomings - 7 incidents are documented in the Technical Note of previous flights encountering unreliable anemometric discrepencies. Our source states that all flights produced similar ACARS reports. It appears that Air France, Airbus, EASA and the BEA have downplayed this matter and have, instead, focused attention on meteorological conditions. The Technical Note was still "valid" on the date of the accident.
The ACARS data has been acknowledged by AF as authentic.
The operator and manufacturer are claiming to have recently discovered this problem with these specific probes. The Technical Note shows knowledge of it in August 2008. Air Caraibes (which had had two incidents with these probes) reportably changed its probes in September 2008, a month after the Technical Note -- why did Air France wait until the loss of an aircraft?The BEA is expected to publish a preliminary report at the end of June 2009.
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