Pilots to be warned over icing after 2014 Mali air crash
PARIS // Aviation regulators are expected to issue new advice to pilots after investigations into the crash of an Air Algerie jet in Mali last July found the crew apparently failed to activate an anti-frost system, causing some sensors to malfunction.
France’s BEA crash investigation agency, which is helping Mali to investigate the crash that killed 116 people on Flight AH5017, said the McDonnell-Douglas aircraft appeared to have run into trouble after vital probes that measure pressure on the engine inlets blocked up with ice.
Properly working probes are needed to help the MD-83 jet measure the thrust of its engines.
With the probes iced up as the Algiers-bound jet skirted a storm, the plane’s autopilot thought the power was too high and slowed the engines below the level needed to maintain cruise height, starting a chain of events that sent it out of control, BEA said on its website.
The statement explained some of the causes of the crash and said it had notified US and European regulators who would issue the new guidance.
Investigators have been hindered by damage to “black box” cockpit audio recordings, which were unusable, but have spent months reconstructing engine settings from the data recorder of the MD-83 jet which was operated by Spain’s Swiftair.
The crash is one of several accidents in which an aircraft is thought to have lost control at high altitude, putting the spotlight partly on training to help pilots identify and then deal with an aerodynamic stall, or loss of lift.
The BEA said the investigation was continuing, with a final report expected in December.
* Reuters, with additional reporting from Agence France-Presse
Updated: April 5, 2015 04:00 AM