At the beginning of July of this year, the French aviation safety authority BEA, presented its final report on the 2009 crash of an Air France flight from Rio to Paris that killed 228 people. Pilot error was found to be at fault. I apologize for the morbid topic. I know that accidents like plane crashes haunt people, and that against our better judgement, knowing full well that it’s safer to be in the sky at a safe cruising altitude with a reputable airline than it is to merge onto just about any highway at 100 kilometers per hour, some of us still get the jitters when we fly. If you’re anything like me, you stare out the window on takeoff and reflect on your own mortality. You might consider this an over-share, but it’s actually not as depressing as it sounds. It’s deep okay!
As well, if you’re anything like me, reading the full pilot transcript taken from the flight-data recorders, retrieved from beneath two miles of ocean, is absolutely fascinating. In December 2011, before the final report came out but after the black boxes were found, Popular Mechanics published this article with the full pilot transcript in French and English, with explanatory notes throughout. Perhaps this is not for the faint of heart, but it is for anyone interested in aviation, the automation of airplanes and the ensuing problems this presents for pilots and those who train and certify them, and of course the fallibility of both machines and humans.