It is hard to fathom how 3 pilots could have essentially ridden a stall from FL380 to the ground (sea) ... the combination of no external ques, and contradictory instrument information had to be confusing, but after a minute or 2 of holding a nose high AOA with no improvement, it seems at least they would have tried something different, like pointing the nose down. Very bizarre incident.
Question for any heavy metal pilots out there:
1. Does this aircraft have backup mechanical Artificial Horizon.
2. In case of the “glass cockpit” giving conflicting readouts, are the Air France Pilots trained to go back to a mechanical artificial horizon for attitude control? (Note: if airspeed depicted on the glass cockpit is wrong the only way to control speed is by attitude)
3. It sounds like the aircraft was in a flat spin?????
Can the A340 recover from a flat spin with input only from flight controls? What is the training for Air France Pilots in relationship to a flat spin in an A340.
4. How close would the center of gravity be to the max aft portion of the flight envelope for the aircraft with the fuel load and passenger distribution and also with 2 hours of fuel burned?
5. The old British Trident could get in “deep stall” and be
unrecoverable. This was a result of turbulence off the stalled wing hitting the horizontal stabilizer. However, the trident was a T Tail and the A340 is not.
ATP pilots please respond with your analysis.
Considering that every pilot is taught stall recovery before they are allowed to solo, I consider all these reports to be complete BS. And it's not something you are taught just once. It's drilled into you six ways from Sunday as you progress in your flying. My guess is that for an ATP to get certified in type he must have recovered from at least 100 stalls in various attitudes and power configurations in a flight simulator.
According to the surviving pilot of the Airbus airshow crash, he was trying to climb and the computer was trying to land. The computer won and 'landed' in the trees off the runway end. My point being that the pilots here may have been doing everything right but couldn't overcome the computer. Just speculation on my part but there have been some control issues with this aircraft.
Taking an aircraft of this design and size into a 'full stall' is never done. It is highly unlikely that even the manufactures test pilot could have recovered from that condition. It is not like stalling a 'Cub". Many things happen including most likely the failure of the engines due to disrupted air flow. Swept wing aircraft are notorious for their stall recovery problems.