Judge Drops Manslaughter Case Against Air France and Airbus Over Deadly Crash That Killed 228 People
French Court- dismissed (French defendant) and convicted (foreign defendant)
Criminal to determine FAULT || Accident Investigation to find safety answer
Only ICAO can set global standard
SHORT STATEMENT OF FACTS – DISMISSAL
–criminal manslaughter case against flag-carrier Air France and European aerospace giant Airbus for a deadly 2009 crash that killed all 228 passengers and crew.
–the crash was caused by the pitot tubes (which measure airspeed) icing over inflight
–problems with the pitot tubes had been well documented and were first known about as far back as 2004.
–questions asked of Air France which did not train its pilots how to deal with a high-altitude stall
–Pierre Duval, a former president of regulation and safety at the Aeroclub de Paris… that the judges seem now to have concluded that the training was “appropriate” and that the pilots should have “understood what was going on”.
SHORT STATEMENT OF FACTS – CONVICTION
– four years in jail for guilty of voluntary manslaughter and also set a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,300).
-skidded off the runway and burst into flames while trying to land in driving rain and heavy winds.
– overworked pilots and falsified flight logs.
[all allegations; each specific allegation may or may not been proved.]
While the apparent disparate treatment of the French nationals and foreign defendants is problematic, criminalization of accident investigations is the real issue here and for many other similar cases:
Ambassador Carter, as the US Representative to ICAO and as a civilian and military pilot, would be a perfect advocate for an ICAO Resolution to decriminalize accident investigations. The UN body is uniquely poised to establish as a universal aviation requirement. The record for taking such action is replete with excellent arguments.
Here is some material for the Ambassador use in support such a position:
FRENCH COURT REVERSES CRIMINAL SANCTIONS IN CONCORDE DISASTER; MAYBE THE DECISION WILL CAUSE RECONSIDERATION OF CRIMINALIZATION OF ACCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS
The last post was a request that Ambassador Woerth, the prior US person in the Montreal post. Both men are pilots, whose experience should be a powerful tool in the debates at ICAO
The most authoritative statement, on the need to remove criminal consequences from the quest to learn what happened and how aviation can assure that the error(s) will not be repeated, comes from Dr. Hassan Shahidi, President and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation.
His paper, Criminalizing Accidents and Incidents Threatens Aviation Safety, is the most definitive and authoritative paper on this subject. Dr. Shahidi also included a draft Joint Resolution for the Council’s consideration.
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