Air safety experts investigating the cause of the Air France crash in the Atlantic in 2009 have said that the pilots of the aircraft had not had adequate training. The BEA has concluded that the pilots were unable to cope with repeated stall warnings, something Air France has denied. The safety authority has now called for high-altitude stall training for all pilots.

Head of the BEA, Jean-Paul Troadec, said that the pilots should have been able to salvage the situation during the final moments of the flight. Having examined data and voice recorders retrieved from the ocean floor, the conclusion is that, even though an alarm had been activated, the crew did not recognise the aircraft’s loss of altitude.

Troadec explained that it was likely that ice was the cause of the loss of the proper speed indications in the cockpit and that this led to the autopilot becoming disengaged. At this point, he said, the pilots should have initiated a procedure to counteract the unreliable air speed indications which involves pulling the nose up by five degrees.

However, it appears that the pilots pulled back much further than this and began to ascend rapidly, around 7,000 feet per minute. Troadec said the angle they chose was far too severe. Having ascended to 38,000 feet the Airbus then went into rapid descent of around 10,000 feet per minute having entered an aeronautical stall.

Air France has stated that it does not agree with BEA’s findings and that the crew showed determination and courage throughout.