Investigators probing the Air France Rio-Paris crash that killed 228 people three years ago blamed a combination of pilot error and faulty speed sensors.
The final report released on Thursday (July 5) by the BEA, France's air accident investigator, recommended a series of actions on training and cockpit design to try to avoid a repeat of the disaster over the Atlantic that has pitted pilots and Air France against Airbus, the maker of the plane, over who was to blame.
"We have not been trained for this kind of outage. In any case this outage did not exist. It was mentioned in a checklist in an obscure manual which could not be considered as an emergency manual. So in fact, we were not trained for it and there is one thing one must understand is that emergency maneuvers need a recurring training, every three years at the minimum," Gerard Arnoux, president of the Air France pilots union, said.
"So if it had not been said that like the Titanic, the 330 could not stall, if we did not have this arrogance from Airbus, us pilots, we would have been trained for this stalling maneuvers, this accident may not have happened," he added.
Families of the crash victims who were present at the news conference venue said they were not entirely satisfied with the findings.
"Let's say that we have noted that with the outage of the pitot tubes, the plane was in a situation of no protection, that the pilots were not trained and that all the circumstances worked towards causing the accident," said Robert Soulas, President of the Brazilian association.
"I can't be satisfied. I must say once again I didn't read the report and we will make an analysis of this report, we have experts who will look at it but at this moment I only can say I hoped they would find other reasons as well, but they didn't occupy with technical reasons for the crash," said Barbara Crawld, who lost her 27-year old son in the crash.
The final report, which included input from a panel of experts including psychologists and aviation experts, is the culmination of a probe that began in May 2011 after the retrieval of data from the plane's "black box" flight recorders. The BEA announced preliminary findings two months later.
Air France flight 447 plunged from 38,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009 after a chaotic four-minute ordeal in which pilots battled a "stall alarm" emergency.