Air France 447 Crash Report Reveals a Flaw in Modern Aviation

The  report by France's aviation authority, the BEA, cites technical faults and subsequent pilot error as the cause of the deadly crash in June 2009.  As a 30-plus-year international Boeing pilot, I feel qualified to offer a few observations. Commercial aviation has a history of progressing in a particular direction before tragedy proves that that direction is unsafe.  A good example is the airship, which seemed perfect for international passengers until a series of disasters proved them unsuitable for commercial travel.  Seaplanes also once seemed the direction to go, with water landings possible around the globe, but the unpredictability of the ocean put paid to that idea.  The crash of Air France has revealed that aviation is again moving in an unsafe direction. We have progressed to modern jet aircraft whose computer flight control systems are so capable that they can be used in every phase of flight except takeoff.  Following airliner manufacturers'...(Read Full Article)