July 18, 2012 update

July 5, 2011 update

Book Tells Hidden Story of Rio-Paris Air France Crash
December 1, 2011 book published


From the Independent

"According to Roger Rapoport, an American aviation expert and author of The Rio/Paris Crash: Air France 447, the altitude could have been so loud that the pilots may not have even been aware of the stall alarm. The French investigations agency responsible for the report, BEA, makes 25 recommendations to ensure that a disaster of this type never happens again.

At the heart of the measures is a profound rethink about the extent to which modern airline pilots depend on their computers, leaving them literally helpless in a crisis like this.

"Modern pilots are not trained for crises like this," Mr Rapoport said.

"They are not trained to fly at high altitude. An experienced military pilot might have known what to do in a situation like this, but not these pilots."

What people are saying

"Painful, surprising and full of lessons the aviation community was not ready to hear, Roger Rapoport, an honored American author, tells the story of the disaster of Air France flight 447 from Rio to Paris on June 1, 2009. Here is the fascinating story of the long and difficult search for the wreck, an operation of unprecedented scale since the disappearance of the famous pilot Amelia Earhart ... in 1937. Rapoport has taken risks ... as he recounts the drama that took place in the cockpit of Air France 447.... He has seen many people and built a solid case. He is also careful not to draw conclusions based on weak or inaccurate information. This is probably his greatest achievement.

The Chronicle Sparaco.

vol air france 447

$9.99 available on Amazon Kindle,
B&N Nook

Book Tells Hidden Story of Rio-Paris Air France Crash

Out now as an ebook for $9.99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook.

OUT NOW ON iTUNES BOOKSTORE for iPhone, ipod Touch and iPad.

A new book published in France and the United States, documents a tragic series of unprecedented errors that led to the mysterious disappearance of an Air France jet in the Atlantic for 22 months and the biggest sea search in maritime history.

In The Rio/Paris Crash (also published in France by Altipresse as Crash-Rio Paris), veteran investigative journalist Roger Rapoport reveals mistakes on the ground and in the air that contributed to the tragedy that took the lives of 228 passengers and crew on June 1, 2009. Based on more than 200 interviews the book shows how holes lining up like Swiss cheese turned the flight aboard a $200 million state of the art Airbus 330 into a baffling crisis for three Air France pilots.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with accident investigators, Airbus, regulatory agencies in France, Germany and the United States, Air France pilots, aviation safety experts, aeronautical engineers, oceanographers, attorneys and relatives of the victims The Rio-Paris Crash shows how a plane designed to be impossible to stall failed. A series of mechanical and human errors stretching from Rio to Senegal to Paris combined with high altitude icing brought the plane down from an altitude of 35,000 feet to 13,000 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic in minutes. Rapoport reveals that:

Out now as an ebook for $9.99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook.

OUT NOW ON iTUNES BOOKSTORE for iPhone, ipod Touch and iPad.

The book also publishes for the first time 25 confidential recommendations from the Independent Safety Review Team formed in December 2009 at the request of Air France's former CEO. After studying the airline for a year the outside experts concluded that "crew resource management has lost its effectiveness at Air France...." During crew and pilot focus groups, the reviewers were told classroom training in this critical area was " ineffective, too conceptual and too routine."

The safety review team also concluded that "lack of adherence to Air France regulations and procedures by a small minority of pilots, reported to the ISRT is of serious concern and reflects on flight deck discipline in general" and that "there is a small percentage of Captains who ... routinely ignore some rules."

These analysts found "the complexity of Air France procedures" to be "substantially higher than among its counterparts. Air France’s procedures need to be simplified with clarity of purpose including the use of Original Equipment Manufacturer manuals and procedures as the company standard."

The outside review team agreed with other critics of the airline who believe that "the high number of pilot unions makes it difficult to reach consensus. Unfortunately an unhealthy relationship currently exists between management and workforce unions partly as a result of Air France’s 'social peace at any cost' approach to the unions. The ISRT believes there is a potential risk to safety because union tension, particularly among pilots, has invaded the operational domain.

"Air France does not have the right place and way to discuss safety with the unions. So in practice, safety is officially outside, but implicitly inside, the scope of labor-management discussions. Operational policies, rules and procedures should not be the subject of any form of union negotiation, but well researched union technical data and input should be welcomed as at other carriers in a collective debate."

The analysts also recommended that the airline urgently update its flight data monitoring program to "ensure that the safety lessons can be applied as judiciously as possible."
Author Rapoport highlights the many ways this crash has forced the airlines to rethink flight training, simulator design, stall avoidance procedures, the placement and frequency of emergency locator beacons, unreliable airspeed procedures and overreliance on flight automation at the expense of hands on flying:

"More than perhaps any other aviation accident this fly-by-wire crash has prompted airlines, regulators and manufacturers to dismiss the idea that flight crews are mere taxi drivers in the sky. Flight automation can never substitute for well trained pilots making the right decisions when seconds count."

Out now as an ebook for $9.99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook.

OUT NOW ON iTUNES BOOKSTORE for iPhone, ipod Touch and iPad.

About the Author

Roger Rapoport is the author of such books as Citizen Moore and Hillsdale. He writes for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and his articles have appeared in the Los Angeles, Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Atlantic, Harper's and Esquire. As a widely published travel writer he has covered the aviation industry for many years.

The English ebook edition published as The Rio-Paris Crash is available from Lexographic Press. A French print edition Crash-Rio Paris is published by Altipresse, a leading aviation publisher based in Paris.