12:45:15 - the aircraft, now at 90 feet (27 m), begins a deviation to the right (maximum bank angle: 30°) to line up with the grass strip 34R. I feel that the sentence is unfair. Der Kapitän Michel Asseline galt zwar als sehr erfahren (19 Fliegerjahre bei AF, zu diesem Zeitpunkt insgesamt 10900 Flugstunden) aber auch als draufgängerisch. Some passengers had difficulty unfastening their seatbelts because they were unfamiliar with the mechanism (which differs from the type used in car seatbelts). This last-minute deviation in the approach further distracted the crew from stabilising the aircraft's altitude and they quickly dropped to 40 feet (12 m)..  The cockpit voice recorder recorded the first officer's call: The crew applied full power and Asseline attempted to climb. The low-speed flyover, with landing gear down, was supposed to take place at an altitude of 100 feet (30 m); instead, the plane performed the flyover at 30 feet (9.1 m), skimmed the treetops of the forest at the end of the runway (which had not been shown on the airport map given to the pilots) and crashed. The episode "Disastrous Descents" of the TV series Aircrash Confidential produced by WMR Productions and IMG Entertainment, featured the accident and included an interview with Captain Michel Asseline. By that time the aircraft had touched the trees. , Habsheim aerodrome was too small to be listed in the aircraft's flight computer, thereby requiring a visual approach; both pilots were also unfamiliar with the airfield when they began their descent from 2,000 feet (610 m) only 6 nautical miles (11 km) from the field. He had been charged with ``involuntary homicides and injuries.″ His co-pilot, Pierre Mazieres, got a 12-month suspended sentence. Another was a girl in seat 8C, who was unable to remove her seatbelt (her younger brother had removed his own seatbelt but was carried away by the rush of people before he could help his sister). The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) continued to operate for about 1.5 seconds after the initial impact. Asseline walked free from the court and said he would appeal to France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation. However, the elevators did not respond to the pilot's commands because the A320's computer system engaged its "alpha protection" mode (meant to prevent the aircraft from entering a stall). Juni 1988 ließen die erfahrenen Airbus-Piloten Michel Asseline und Pierre Mazieres (beide mit über 10 000 Flugstunden) ihre A320 in bodenlosem Leichtsinn in den Wald von Habsheim (Elsass) rauschen. The day after the crash, French transport officials called a news conference to say the pilots were flying too slow and too low. , The plane's flight recorders were found still attached in the unburnt tail section. , Of 136 people on board, three did not escape. The door opened partway, and the emergency escape slide began inflating while it was stuck partly inside the fuselage. The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) continued to operate for about one second, then recorded nonsensical data for another two seconds. Less than five seconds later, the turbines began ingesting leaves and branches as the aircraft skimmed the tops of the trees. The third was a woman who had reached the front door and then returned to help the girl. Asseline, who had been a senior pilot with Air France for eight years, maintained the pilots were unfairly blamed, and said the plane had failed to respond quickly to attempts to raise it. 3 people died due to smoke. It was one of the first domestic demonstrations of the new plane, which had gone into service earlier that year. 12:45:30 - nose-up attitude increases to 7°. , At the time of the incident, only three of the new aircraft type had been delivered to Air France, and the newest one (in service for two days) had been chosen for the flyover.  Mazières had 10,853 hours of flight time. The egress of the passengers was temporarily halted while the purser and another flight attendant began clearing the branches. The accident aircraft, an Airbus A320-111, registration F-GFKC, serial number 9, first flew on 6 January 1988 and was delivered to Air France on 23 June, three days prior to its destruction. They said the plane was not at fault. The aircraft fell to the ground. Nach dem Unfall beruft er sich auf sein Vertrauen in die ausgeklügelten Sicherheitssysteme des Flugzeugs.« From the engine parameters recorded on the DFDR and spectral analysis of the engine sounds on the CVR, it was determined that five seconds after TOGA power was applied, the N1 speed of Nº1 engine was 83% while that of Nº2 engine was 84%. Most of the crash sequence, which occurred in front of several thousand spectators, was caught on video. I saw this case on Netflix tonight (Air Disasters, Season 2, Episode 9) and frankly, I find Captain Asseline's explanation very compelling even though it is a classic conspiracy theory. The pilot was sentenced to prison on this evidence. The plane clipped some trees during a low pass over the airfield and plunged into a forest. But now that the aircraft was performing its flyover at only thirty feet, the crew noticed the aircraft was lower than the now-identified hazard that they were fast approaching. Finally, the aircraft would return to Paris. Thirty-four passengers required hospitalisation for injuries and burns. Local emergency services were informed by radio communication. It was the third A320 delivered to Air France, the launch customer. He was a highly distinguished pilot with 10,463 flight hours.  A training captain since 1979, Asseline was appointed to head the company's A320 training subdivision at the end of 1987. From higher up, the forest at the end of 34R had looked like a different type of grass. Seit 1979 arbeitete er außerdem als Flugausbilder und war technischer Pilot von Air France. Very low flyover height, lower than surrounding obstacles; Speed very slow and reducing to reach maximum possible angle of attack; Passengers should be banned from all demonstration flights, Flight crews should be provided with – and ensure – proper reconnaissance of airfields, Airline company procedures should be reviewed to ensure they comply with official regulations concerning altitude, This page was last edited on 5 November 2020, at 06:38. A flight attendant standing in the centre of the cabin at seat 12D was pushed into the aisle by a severely burnt passenger from 12F. The purser went to announce instructions to the passengers but the public address system handset had been torn off. , The CVR was read during the night of 26 June at the BEA. TOGA power is applied. When the crew suddenly asked the plane for more power and lift, it simply ignored them. Flight deck crew. He then tried to open the left-side forward door, which was blocked by trees. Did Airbus Destroy Michel Asseline's Reputation After Air France Flight 296's Crash? The evacuation from the rear door had been fast and smooth thanks to the instructions from the flight attendants at the rear of the aircraft. Asseline assured his first officer. The aircraft levels off at 30 feet (9.1 m). According to French law, Asseline was required to submit himself to the prison system before his case could be taken up by the Cour de Cassation. After the rush of people had left and the interior was fast becoming toxic, she stood at the front door and called back into the cabin. During the appeal process, Asseline's sentence was increased to ten months of imprisonment along with ten months of probation. 12:45:23 - the aircraft completes the deviation at a height of 46 feet (14 m) and an airspeed of 141 knots. In a society driven by visuals, the photographic image has the power to disrupt perspectives, promote introspection, foster shared understanding and cause progressive social change. Although three people died in the crash _ two of them children _ 137 passengers and crew escaped. The television documentary series Mayday also reports claims in Season 9 Episode 3 that the plane's flight recorder might have been tampered with and indicated that four seconds had been cut from the tape; this was shown by playing back a control tower tape and comparing it to the remaining tape. Then, as she was helping another passenger whose clothes were on fire, she was carried forward by the surge of people rushing to escape. A court in Colmar, in eastern France, also sentenced pilot Michel Asseline to 12 additional months, which were suspended. , Traditionally, pilots respect the inherent dangers of flying at low speeds at low altitude, and normally, a pilot would not attempt to fly an aircraft so close to stalling with the engines at flight idle (minimum thrust setting in flight). The accident aircraft, an Airbus A320-111, registration F-GFKC, serial number 9, first flew on 6 January 1988 and was delivered to Air France on 23 June, three days prior to its destruction. After a few seconds, Asseline claims, he became worried that the plane's completely computerised throttle control had malfunctioned and responded by pulling the throttle all the way back then forward again. , The official investigation was carried out by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA), the French air accident investigation bureau, in conjunction with Air France and Airbus. He was endorsed on the Caravelle, Boeing 707 and 737, and had qualified as an A320 captain three months before the accident. A court in Colmar, in eastern France, also sentenced pilot Michel Asseline to 12 additional months, which were suspended. His co-pilot, Pierre Mazieres, got a 12-month suspended sentence. , Inside the aircraft, many of the passengers were dazed from hitting their heads on the backs of the seats in front of them. Because the aircraft's altitude had fallen below 100 ft, the plane's computers were programmed to believe it was landing and therefore they would not allow any drastic manoeuvres from either pilot. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. Today, the captain, Michel Asseline has lost his French pilot license for 8 years. After the first pass, the first officer would then apply the takeoff/go-around switch (TOGA) power and climb steeply before turning back for the second pass. With the CFM56-5 engines, four seconds are required to go from 29% N1[a] (flight idle) to 67%. As Air France's technical pilot, he had been heavily involved in test flying the A320 type and had carried out maneuvers beyond normal operational limitations. Air France Flight 296 was a chartered flight of a new Airbus A320-111 operated by Air France for Air Charter. Asseline had total confidence in the aircraft's computer systems. 12:45:35 - nose-up attitude is now 15° and speed is 122 knots. Asseline's experience of flying the aircraft type at the outer limits of its flight performance envelope may have led to overconfidence and complacency. This response of the engines complied with their certification data.. Ten minutes after the crash, the first of the fire trucks arrived. Hundreds of spectators witnessed the June 26, 1988, crash at the Mulhouse-Habsheim air show. , The flight plan was that as they approached the airfield, they would extend third-stage flap, lower the landing gear, and line up for level flight at 100 feet (30 m). Interruption of the power occurred forward of the tail section—most probably in the wheel-well area, which was heavily damaged. The pilot, Michel Asseline, stumbled out of the blazing wreck saying the engines failed to pick up. 12:45:06 - the aircraft descends through 200 feet (61 m) at an airspeed of 155 knots. Both pilots received minor head injuries and also suffered from smoke inhalation and shock. When he increased throttle to level off at 100 ft, the engines did not respond. In the process, the purser and the passenger were thrown out of the fuselage with the slide landing on top of them. They received no verbal details about the flyover or the aerodrome itself. The transcription was later clarified with the assistance of the pilots involved. Aircraft. An Air France Airbus A320, similar to the one involved in the crash, Aviation accidents and incidents in France, Includes overseas departments and overseas territories, Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile, List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft, "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-111 F-GFKC Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport", "Air France flight AF296 english official report", "AirDisaster.Com: Investigations: Air France 296", "The Airbus A320 crash at Habsheim, France 26 June 1988", Commission of Inquiry into the accident on 26 June 1988 in Mulhouse–Habsheim, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne, March 1952 Air France SNCASE Languedoc crash, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Air_France_Flight_296&oldid=987149424, Accidents and incidents involving the Airbus A320, Airliner accidents and incidents caused by pilot error, Aviation accidents and incidents at air shows, Aviation accident investigations with disputed causes, Airliner accidents and incidents involving controlled flight into terrain, Conspiracy theories involving aviation incidents, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The tape speed was set using the 400 Hz frequency of the aircraft's electrical supply and then synchronised with the air traffic control recordings, which included a time track.. The captain would make a low-level fly-pass over Runway 02, climb up and turn back, and repeat the fly-pass over the same runway in the reciprocal direction (Runway 20). Spectral analysis of the engine sounds indicated that 0.6 seconds later, both engines had reached 91% (by this stage, they were starting to ingest vegetation). The captain would slow the aircraft to its minimum flying speed with maximum angle of attack, disable the "alpha floor" (the function that would otherwise automatically increase engine thrust when the angle of attack reached 15°) and rely on the first officer to adjust the engine thrust manually to maintain 100 feet. It would not open, which was fortunate as there was by that time a fire on the left wing. It was the third A320 delivered to Air France, the launch customer. Er heißt heute: »Bei einer Flugschau überfliegt Air France Pilot Michel Asseline den Platz zu tief. Asseline argues that he attempted to apply thrust earlier than indicated in the flight recorder data. He had been charged with ``involuntary homicides and injuries.″. The flight attendant then began evacuating the passengers but they soon began to pile up at the bottom of the slide as their route was blocked by trees and branches. All five were found guilty. Four seconds later, the aircraft begins striking the treetops. Captain Asseline, First Officer Mazière, two Air France officials and the president of the flying club sponsoring the air show were all charged with involuntary manslaughter. Asseline was initially sentenced to six months in prison along with twelve months of probation. , Captain Michel Asseline, 44, had been a pilot with Air France for almost twenty years and had the following endorsements: Caravelle; Boeing 707, 727, and 737; and Airbus A300 and A310. , It was also claimed by the Institute of Police Forensic Evidence and Criminology, based in Switzerland, that the flight data recorders may have been switched and were not the original ones in the airplane. One was a disabled boy in seat 4F who was unable to move. This would be followed by a sightseeing trip south to Mont Blanc before the passengers would be returned to Basel–Mulhouse Airport. The translated version of the report can be found on the Aviation Accidents Database.  On 26 June 1988, the plane crashed while making a low pass over Mulhouse–Habsheim Airport (ICAO airport code LFGB) as part of the Habsheim Air Show.  The flyover had been approved by Air France's Air Operations Directorate and Flight Safety Department, and air traffic control and Basel tower had been informed. The others were sentenced to probation. A further ten seconds later, 'Flaps 2' is selected. Pilot was sentenced to imprisonment for about a year. COLMAR, France (AP) _ The pilot of an Airbus A320 jetliner that crashed during a 1988 air show, killing three passengers while hundreds watched, was sentenced to six months in prison Friday. , The pilots had each had a busy weekend and did not receive the flight plan until the morning of the flight. Mayday also looks at the theory that it was the computer at fault, not the pilots. The official report from BEA concluded that the probable cause of the accident was a combination of the following: Furthermore, the bureau concluded that if the descent below 100 feet was not deliberate, it may have resulted from a failure by the crew to take proper account of the visual and aural information available to them regarding the elevation "above ground level" (AGL) of the aircraft.. Er riskiert zuviel und stürzt ab. In the aftermath of the crash, there were allegations that investigators had tampered with evidence, specifically the aircraft's flight recorders ("black boxes"). This was the first fatal crash of an A320. Also punished with suspended sentences were Air France’s then-director of air operations, a security official for Air France, and the president of the Habsheim air club. The purser, a passenger, and a flight attendant (a guest from another airline) managed to push the door fully open. , During the impact, the right wing was torn off, and the spilling fuel ignited immediately. Apart from the tail section, the aircraft was consumed by fire.  Although the official investigation was written in French, the BEA released an English version on 29 November 1989. All the passengers survived the initial impact, but a woman and two children died from smoke inhalation before they could escape. "I've done it twenty times!" He is now flying in Australia. The Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic TV series Mayday featured the accident and subsequent investigation in a season 9 episode titled "Pilot vs. Three seconds later, the undercarriage is extended. 12:44:45 - 'Flaps 3' is selected as the aircraft descends through 500 feet (150 m) at an airspeed of 177 knots. Three seconds later, the aircraft descends through 40 feet (12 m) at an airspeed of 132 knots. But because of the forest, only the smaller vehicles were able to reach the wreckage. The combustion chambers clogged and the engines failed. , First Officer Pierre Mazières, 45, had been flying with the airline since 1969 and had been a training captain for six years. Official reports concluded that the pilots flew too low, too slow, failed to see the forest and accidentally flew into it.  Additionally, the captain was expecting from the flight plan to do the pass over runway 02 (3,281 feet (1,000 m) long, paved) and was preparing for that alignment.  Airbus made a detailed rebuttal of these claims in a document published in 1991, contending that the independent investigator employed by the filmmakers made an error when synchronising the recordings based on a misunderstanding of how the "Radio Transmit" parameter on the flight data recorder functioned.. The episode "Blaming the Pilot" of the TV series Survival in the Sky featured the accident. , The aircraft was to fly from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Basel–Mulhouse Airport for a press conference. Both pilots Captain Asseline and First Officer Mazière survived. But as the aircraft approached the field, the flight deck crew noticed that the spectators were gathered beside runway 34R (2,100 feet (640 m) long, grass). A passenger tried to open the left-side overwing exit. , The panicking passengers now began pushing toward the front of the cabin. Asseline claims that this indicated a problem with the aeroplane's fly-by-wire system rather than pilot error. The captain, Michel Asseline, disputed the report and claimed an error in the fly-by-wire computer prevented him from applying thrust and pulling up. Plane".. Then, sightseeing charter passengers would board and the aircraft would fly the short distance to the small Habsheim aerodrome. The SNPL supported the pilot then gradually stood back and let things happen, when expert examination of the black boxes produced overwhelming evidence showing the A320 to be perfect. , The medical team from the airshow arrived and began examining the passengers. This particular flight was the A320's first passenger flight (most of those on-board were journalists and raffle winners). The cause of the crash has been the source of major controversy. The DFDR was read the same night by the Brétigny sur Orge Flight Test Centre: Investigators found that the aircraft had been airworthy, that its weight and centre-of-gravity had been within limits, and that there was no evidence of mechanical or electronic systems failure. This distance was too short for them to stabilise the aircraft's altitude and speed for the flyover. Hundreds of spectators witnessed the June 26, 1988, crash at the Mulhouse-Habsheim air show. The Captain begins to flare the aircraft (he lifts the nose 4°) to level its flight. , By this time, the fire had entered the right side of the fuselage through the damaged floor section between seat rows 10 and 15. Two fire trucks at the airshow set off and an ambulance followed. During this manoeuvre, a fluctuation in the radio altimeter height corresponds to the aircraft passing over a patch of trees (whereas before and after this fluctuation, the readings of the radio altimeter and those of the barometric altimeter match perfectly). When the evacuation continued, the flight attendant stayed at the door, helping passengers, until she began suffering from smoke inhalation. 12:43:44 - the aircraft begins its descent from 2,000 feet (610 m), initially at a rate of 300 feet (91 m) per minute with 'Flaps 1'. It then takes one second more to go from 67 to 83% N1. Kommandant von Flug Air France 296 war der damals 44 Jahre alte Michel Asseline, ein Veteran mit mehr als 20 Jahren Erfahrung auf den Mustern Caravelle, Boeing 707, 727, 737, Airbus A300 und A310. There was no reply and the thick black smoke made a visual check impossible, so she exited the fuselage. In this instance, however, the pilots involved did not hesitate to fly the aircraft below its normal minimum flying speed because the purpose of the flyover was to demonstrate that the aircraft's computer systems would ensure that lift would always be available regardless of how the pilots handled the controls. 12:44:14 - the engine power is reduced to flight idle. , The flight deck crew believed that the engines had failed to respond to the application of full power.