Investigators from the French Civil Aviation Authority have launched an investigation into a serious incident’ involving an Air France Boeing 777-300 passenger airliner that allegedly stopped responding to the directions of the two pilots as it approached Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday.
The Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses, or BEA as it is more commonly known, announced on its official Twitter account that a safety inquiry was underway due to the 17-year-old aircraft’s ‘instability of flight controls.’
The BEA will also investigate the “hard controls” and “flight path oscillations” that caused a go-around at Paris’ major airport yesterday morning.
After performing a go-around, Air France flight AF11 from New York JFK landed successfully on its second attempt after the plane appeared to stop responding to the pilots’ commands and began to ‘significantly veer left’ on its original final approach.
In a publicly released tape between the flight and air traffic control, one of the pilots can be heard screaming “Stop! Stop!” As several flight control alarms ring in the background, the pilot, who appears distressed in the audiotape, shouts “Stop it!”
Air France Boeing 777-300 (F-GSQJ, built 2005) was on final approach to runway 26L at Paris-CGD Intl Airport (LFPG) when the pilots reported control issues. Flight #AF11 from New York went around and returned for a safe landing about 20 minutes later. pic.twitter.com/zbgxSHkPjZ
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) April 5, 2022
According to the Aviation Herald, air traffic controllers told the crew to stop the approach when the plane reached 1,500 feet, but the pilots didn’t disable the autopilot until 1,200 feet, and the go-around wasn’t started until the plane was only 1,150 feet above the ground.
The plane had “veered to the left off the localizer” at this point, and the pilots informed air traffic control that the plane was not following commands.
“The airplane is pretty much-going nuts,” one of the pilots tells the controller.
After aborting the initial landing attempt, the pilots were able to complete a successful go-around and land safely on the second attempt.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Air France said the pilots of flight AF11 “aborted their landing sequence and performed a go-around due to a technical incident during the approach.”
“The crew mastered the situation and landed the aircraft normally after a second approach. Air France understands and regrets the discomfort felt by customers,” a statement from the airline continued.
Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, has thus far been silent about the issue.