Airbus FDR Shows No Mechanical Malfunctions

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Preliminary analysis of the flight data recorder from Air France Flight 447 has not revealed any mechanical malfunctions that would require safety recommendations for the A330 fleet, according to a notice Airbus sent to its customers this week. That notice sparked speculation in the French media that pilot error was the likely cause of the June 2009 crash, but BEA, the French accident investigation bureau, objected to such reports as "sensationalist" and premature. "At this stage of the investigation, no conclusions can be drawn," BEA said in a statement. However, BEA said analysis of the recorders is expected to be key to finding the probable cause of the accident.

"Collection of all of the information from the audio recordings and from the flight parameters now gives us a high degree of certainty that everything will be brought to light concerning this accident," BEA said. According to The Independent, investigators now believe the senior captain may not have been in the cockpit at the time of the accident, but it would be normal for him to take a rest period after flying the first leg and turning over the controls to two other pilots. The cockpit voice recorder is expected to provide insight into why the crew chose a route that took them into the center of the storm, while other flight crews in the area chose other routes. The A330 crashed while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 on board. The recorders were recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic about two weeks ago.