Incident Airbus A340-313 F-GLZU, Friday 22 July 2011
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Date:Friday 22 July 2011
Time:01:11 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic A343 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A340-313
Owner/operator:Air France
Registration: F-GLZU
MSN: 377
Year of manufacture:2000
Engine model:CFMI CFM56-5C4
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:North of the Antilles -   Guadeloupe
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Carracas
Destination airport:Paris
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
The Air France A340-300 Flight AF471 took off from Caracas on July 21 and when it flew over the north of the Antilles, experienced strong turbulence after an hour and a half of flight.

At that time, the aircraft was at 35 000 feet (10 668 meters) and after the strong move the autopilot was disconnected and started up extremely fast. In just one minute reached 900 meters.

As a result of vertical ascent, the plane began to slow and reached 205 knots (369 km / h), just three knots of what was achieved by the flight AF447 when it fell into the sea.

But this time the crew acted quickly while the turbulence decreased. In the case of the tragedy, the A330 stopped functioning and free plummeted into the Atlantic.

The events are very similar between the two flights, which reopens the debate about the responsibilities that ended with the lives of 228 people. Experts try to determine if this is a design flaw in the Airbus autopilot or if the crew isn’t properly trained for such eventualities.

An Air France Airbus A340-300, registration F-GLZU performing flight AF471 (dep Jul 21st) from Caracas (Venezuela) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), was enroute at FL350 about 145nm northeast of Point A Pitre (Guadeloupe) in night and instrument meteorological conditions at around 01:11Z (Jul 22nd) when the crew received an overspeed alert, the autopilot disconnected, the crew observed the indicated airspeeds had increased to 0.88 mach (MMO 0.86 mach) and 304 knots, the aircraft gradually increased its pitch attitude to 11 degrees and climbed with up to 5 000 feet/minute up to FL380, reaching FL380 at 0.66 mach/ 205 KIAS - stall speed was computed at 202 KIAS - before the pitch attitude decreased again and the aircraft returned to normal flight parameters. The flight was continued to Paris, the aircraft reached Europe at FL380 and landed safely in Paris about 7.5 hours after the upset. No injuries occurred.

The French BEA confirmed an investigation into the described incident was opened on July 26th after receiving notification from Air France.

An internal write up released by Le Figaro on Sep 6th reports, that the upset lasted for about 2 minutes with the highest intensity during the first 30 seconds, during the upset the aircraft encountered vertical accelerations between +0.5G and +1.7G. The upset occurred in an area where weather forecasts/reports suggested no turbulence. The write up annotated, that a PA call by flight crew to cabin: "Cabin crew, be seated immediately, severe turbulence" helped to avoid injuries in the cabin.

A flight from Caracas to Paris could explain the mysteries surrounding the accident of Flight AF447, which crashed over the Atlantic with 228 passengers on board in 2009.

Although this aircraft was an Airbus A340 and the accident flight was an A330, the similarities have raised questions about whether the responsibility was extremely around the expertise of the crew, as it was stated in the report, or if an error in the design of the aircraft actually had something to do.


History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

13 March 2012 F-GLZU Air France 0 near Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG) non
23 December 2014 F-GLZU Air France 0 Antananarivo-Ivato Airport (TNR/FMMI) min
Collision with Ground support equipment
11 March 2017 F-GLZU Air France 0 Bogotá-Eldorado Airport (BOG/SKBO) non
Runway excursion
28 November 2017 F-GLZU Air France 0 near Douala unk

Revision history:

19-Sep-2011 03:44 whiteshark Added
08-Jul-2023 04:00 Ron Averes Updated

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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