The latest response by Air France management to the June 1 crash of AF447 is dynamite.

Headed “Enough Scandals and False Debates about Flight Security!” it takes a swipe at the alleged indifference of some of its pilots to safety procedures.

Priceless! Hoisted by its own petard. Air France is responsible for the flight standards of its pilots, and is in fact implying its own inadequacy in discharging that responsibility.

Nor has Air France responded to the obvious question, which is ‘was the weather radar on Af447 functioning when it flew with iced up pitots (external air speed measuring devices) into a belt of towering violent tropical thunderstorms?’

Now we have a jet that could have been weather blind, flown at unknown speed because of a type of pitot since the subject of a world wide safety ban, and by members of a piloting cadre the airline berates for neglecting safety standards it is in fact responsible for enforcing.

This is a farce. For Air France to argue against its pilots over an accident that killed all 228 people aboard on Airbus A330-200 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when the investigation is incomplete raises the questions, what exactly is it trying to do, and what else does it know to cause it to issue such a memo?

No effective safety management system relies on a memo to pilots telling them to ‘be more vigilant’. It enforces vigilance and standards through recurrent training. It sets the safety culture. Air France is making a bad joke of itself issuing written instructions to in effect, be good. It is time for a real inquiry into this carrier, and the bizarre things it said on the day of the accident about lightning and a short circuit (which were ridiculous) as well as in this note.

If this accident was truly the result of bad flying, which is one of the note’s implications, the airline is culpable.

The tailfin of AF447. Photo credit EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tailfin of AF447. Photo credit EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images