The others were sentenced to probation. They said the plane was not at fault. Both pilots received minor head injuries and also suffered from smoke inhalation and shock. This response of the engines complied with their certification data.[3]. Three seconds later, the aircraft descends through 40 feet (12 m) at an airspeed of 132 knots. [1] A training captain since 1979, Asseline was appointed to head the company's A320 training subdivision at the end of 1987. I feel that the sentence is unfair. There was no reply and the thick black smoke made a visual check impossible, so she exited the fuselage. It was the third A320 delivered to Air France, the launch customer. The aircraft fell to the ground. [7], It was also claimed by the Institute of Police Forensic Evidence and Criminology, based in Switzerland, that the flight data recorders may have been switched and were not the original ones in the airplane. The combustion chambers clogged and the engines failed. It then takes one second more to go from 67 to 83% N1. The pilot, Michel Asseline, stumbled out of the blazing wreck saying the engines failed to pick up. The official report from BEA concluded that the probable cause of the accident was a combination of the following: Furthermore, the bureau concluded that if the descent below 100 feet was not deliberate, it may have resulted from a failure by the crew to take proper account of the visual and aural information available to them regarding the elevation "above ground level" (AGL) of the aircraft.[5][6]. [3], The flight plan was that as they approached the airfield, they would extend third-stage flap, lower the landing gear, and line up for level flight at 100 feet (30 m). Then, as she was helping another passenger whose clothes were on fire, she was carried forward by the surge of people rushing to escape. During this manoeuvre, a fluctuation in the radio altimeter height corresponds to the aircraft passing over a patch of trees (whereas before and after this fluctuation, the readings of the radio altimeter and those of the barometric altimeter match perfectly). Mayday also looks at the theory that it was the computer at fault, not the pilots. The day after the crash, French transport officials called a news conference to say the pilots were flying too slow and too low. Juni 1988 ließen die erfahrenen Airbus-Piloten Michel Asseline und Pierre Mazieres (beide mit über 10 000 Flugstunden) ihre A320 in bodenlosem Leichtsinn in den Wald von Habsheim (Elsass) rauschen. The pilot was sentenced to prison on this evidence. Plane".[10]. Both pilots Captain Asseline and First Officer Mazière survived. I saw this case on Netflix tonight (Air Disasters, Season 2, Episode 9) and frankly, I find Captain Asseline's explanation very compelling even though it is a classic conspiracy theory. A court in Colmar, in eastern France, also sentenced pilot Michel Asseline to 12 additional months, which were suspended. [1], At the time of the incident, only three of the new aircraft type had been delivered to Air France, and the newest one (in service for two days) had been chosen for the flyover. [7][8] Airbus made a detailed rebuttal of these claims in a document published in 1991, contending that the independent investigator employed by the filmmakers made an error when synchronising the recordings based on a misunderstanding of how the "Radio Transmit" parameter on the flight data recorder functioned.[9]. The third was a woman who had reached the front door and then returned to help the girl. Ten minutes after the crash, the first of the fire trucks arrived. The evacuation from the rear door had been fast and smooth thanks to the instructions from the flight attendants at the rear of the aircraft. Less than five seconds later, the turbines began ingesting leaves and branches as the aircraft skimmed the tops of the trees. The captain, Michel Asseline, disputed the report and claimed an error in the fly-by-wire computer prevented him from applying thrust and pulling up. A court in Colmar, in eastern France, also sentenced pilot Michel Asseline to 12 additional months, which were suspended. As Air France's technical pilot, he had been heavily involved in test flying the A320 type and had carried out maneuvers beyond normal operational limitations. One was a disabled boy in seat 4F who was unable to move. The door opened partway, and the emergency escape slide began inflating while it was stuck partly inside the fuselage. After a few seconds, Asseline claims, he became worried that the plane's completely computerised throttle control had malfunctioned and responded by pulling the throttle all the way back then forward again. The tape speed was set using the 400 Hz frequency of the aircraft's electrical supply and then synchronised with the air traffic control recordings, which included a time track.[3]. [2], Captain Michel Asseline, 44, had been a pilot with Air France for almost twenty years and had the following endorsements: Caravelle; Boeing 707, 727, and 737; and Airbus A300 and A310. Asseline, who had been a senior pilot with Air France for eight years, maintained the pilots were unfairly blamed, and said the plane had failed to respond quickly to attempts to raise it. In the aftermath of the crash, there were allegations that investigators had tampered with evidence, specifically the aircraft's flight recorders ("black boxes"). [3], Habsheim aerodrome was too small to be listed in the aircraft's flight computer, thereby requiring a visual approach; both pilots were also unfamiliar with the airfield when they began their descent from 2,000 feet (610 m) only 6 nautical miles (11 km) from the field. The plane clipped some trees during a low pass over the airfield and plunged into a forest. 12:45:30 - nose-up attitude increases to 7°. All five were found guilty. When he increased throttle to level off at 100 ft, the engines did not respond. 12:44:14 - the engine power is reduced to flight idle. This would be followed by a sightseeing trip south to Mont Blanc before the passengers would be returned to Basel–Mulhouse Airport. He was endorsed on the Caravelle, Boeing 707 and 737, and had qualified as an A320 captain three months before the accident. Local emergency services were informed by radio communication. In this instance, however, the pilots involved did not hesitate to fly the aircraft below its normal minimum flying speed because the purpose of the flyover was to demonstrate that the aircraft's computer systems would ensure that lift would always be available regardless of how the pilots handled the controls. COLMAR, France (AP) _ The pilot of an Airbus A320 jetliner that crashed during a 1988 air show, killing three passengers while hundreds watched, was sentenced to six months in prison Friday. Kommandant von Flug Air France 296 war der damals 44 Jahre alte Michel Asseline, ein Veteran mit mehr als 20 Jahren Erfahrung auf den Mustern Caravelle, Boeing 707, 727, 737, Airbus A300 und A310. The captain would slow the aircraft to its minimum flying speed with maximum angle of attack, disable the "alpha floor" (the function that would otherwise automatically increase engine thrust when the angle of attack reached 15°) and rely on the first officer to adjust the engine thrust manually to maintain 100 feet. Hundreds of spectators witnessed the June 26, 1988, crash at the Mulhouse-Habsheim air show. [3] Additionally, the captain was expecting from the flight plan to do the pass over runway 02 (3,281 feet (1,000 m) long, paved) and was preparing for that alignment. Asseline claims that this indicated a problem with the aeroplane's fly-by-wire system rather than pilot error. It was one of the first domestic demonstrations of the new plane, which had gone into service earlier that year. An Air France Airbus A320, similar to the one involved in the crash, Aviation accidents and incidents in France, Includes overseas departments and overseas territories, Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile, List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft, "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-111 F-GFKC Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport", "Air France flight AF296 english official report", "AirDisaster.Com: Investigations: Air France 296", "The Airbus A320 crash at Habsheim, France 26 June 1988", Commission of Inquiry into the accident on 26 June 1988 in Mulhouse–Habsheim, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne, March 1952 Air France SNCASE Languedoc crash,, Accidents and incidents involving the Airbus A320, Airliner accidents and incidents caused by pilot error, Aviation accidents and incidents at air shows, Aviation accident investigations with disputed causes, Airliner accidents and incidents involving controlled flight into terrain, Conspiracy theories involving aviation incidents, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Asseline assured his first officer. But now that the aircraft was performing its flyover at only thirty feet, the crew noticed the aircraft was lower than the now-identified hazard that they were fast approaching. TOGA power is applied. [3], The flight deck crew believed that the engines had failed to respond to the application of full power. Asseline's experience of flying the aircraft type at the outer limits of its flight performance envelope may have led to overconfidence and complacency. Three seconds later, the undercarriage is extended. Er heißt heute: »Bei einer Flugschau überfliegt Air France Pilot Michel Asseline den Platz zu tief. 12:45:35 - nose-up attitude is now 15° and speed is 122 knots. The transcription was later clarified with the assistance of the pilots involved. But as the aircraft approached the field, the flight deck crew noticed that the spectators were gathered beside runway 34R (2,100 feet (640 m) long, grass). He had been charged with ``involuntary homicides and injuries.″ His co-pilot, Pierre Mazieres, got a 12-month suspended sentence. He was a highly distinguished pilot with 10,463 flight hours. [3], The panicking passengers now began pushing toward the front of the cabin. Thirty-four passengers required hospitalisation for injuries and burns. Spectral analysis of the engine sounds indicated that 0.6 seconds later, both engines had reached 91% (by this stage, they were starting to ingest vegetation). After the rush of people had left and the interior was fast becoming toxic, she stood at the front door and called back into the cabin. By that time the aircraft had touched the trees. According to French law, Asseline was required to submit himself to the prison system before his case could be taken up by the Cour de Cassation. [4], The plane's flight recorders were found still attached in the unburnt tail section. Apart from the tail section, the aircraft was consumed by fire. The accident aircraft, an Airbus A320-111, registration F-GFKC, serial number 9, first flew on 6 January 1988 and was delivered to Air France on 23 June, three days prior to its destruction. Aircraft. 12:43:44 - the aircraft begins its descent from 2,000 feet (610 m), initially at a rate of 300 feet (91 m) per minute with 'Flaps 1'. [3], First Officer Pierre Mazières, 45, had been flying with the airline since 1969 and had been a training captain for six years. The translated version of the report can be found on the Aviation Accidents Database. 3 people died due to smoke. "I've done it twenty times!" [3], By this time, the fire had entered the right side of the fuselage through the damaged floor section between seat rows 10 and 15. [3] The cockpit voice recorder recorded the first officer's call: The crew applied full power and Asseline attempted to climb. However, the elevators did not respond to the pilot's commands because the A320's computer system engaged its "alpha protection" mode (meant to prevent the aircraft from entering a stall). He then tried to open the left-side forward door, which was blocked by trees. A further ten seconds later, 'Flaps 2' is selected. The Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic TV series Mayday featured the accident and subsequent investigation in a season 9 episode titled "Pilot vs. He is now flying in Australia. It was the third A320 delivered to Air France, the launch customer. From higher up, the forest at the end of 34R had looked like a different type of grass. The egress of the passengers was temporarily halted while the purser and another flight attendant began clearing the branches. The purser went to announce instructions to the passengers but the public address system handset had been torn off. The SNPL supported the pilot then gradually stood back and let things happen, when expert examination of the black boxes produced overwhelming evidence showing the A320 to be perfect. Another was a girl in seat 8C, who was unable to remove her seatbelt (her younger brother had removed his own seatbelt but was carried away by the rush of people before he could help his sister). [1] On 26 June 1988, the plane crashed while making a low pass over Mulhouse–Habsheim Airport (ICAO airport code LFGB) as part of the Habsheim Air Show. Most of the crash sequence, which occurred in front of several thousand spectators, was caught on video. Der Kapitän Michel Asseline galt zwar als sehr erfahren (19 Fliegerjahre bei AF, zu diesem Zeitpunkt insgesamt 10900 Flugstunden) aber auch als draufgängerisch. He had been charged with ``involuntary homicides and injuries.″. Asseline was initially sentenced to six months in prison along with twelve months of probation. [3] The flyover had been approved by Air France's Air Operations Directorate and Flight Safety Department, and air traffic control and Basel tower had been informed. The accident aircraft, an Airbus A320-111, registration F-GFKC, serial number 9, first flew on 6 January 1988 and was delivered to Air France on 23 June, three days prior to its destruction. [3], Inside the aircraft, many of the passengers were dazed from hitting their heads on the backs of the seats in front of them. Because the aircraft's altitude had fallen below 100 ft, the plane's computers were programmed to believe it was landing and therefore they would not allow any drastic manoeuvres from either pilot. All the passengers survived the initial impact, but a woman and two children died from smoke inhalation before they could escape. [3], The CVR was read during the night of 26 June at the BEA. The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) continued to operate for about one second, then recorded nonsensical data for another two seconds. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. This distance was too short for them to stabilise the aircraft's altitude and speed for the flyover. Two fire trucks at the airshow set off and an ambulance followed. Asseline argues that he attempted to apply thrust earlier than indicated in the flight recorder data. They received no verbal details about the flyover or the aerodrome itself. The television documentary series Mayday also reports claims in Season 9 Episode 3 that the plane's flight recorder might have been tampered with and indicated that four seconds had been cut from the tape; this was shown by playing back a control tower tape and comparing it to the remaining tape. The DFDR was read the same night by the Brétigny sur Orge Flight Test Centre: Investigators found that the aircraft had been airworthy, that its weight and centre-of-gravity had been within limits, and that there was no evidence of mechanical or electronic systems failure. The cause of the crash has been the source of major controversy.

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