The French Daily `Liberation' on the Royal Air Maroc crash

From:         Peter Ladkin <Peter.Ladkin@loria.fr>
Date:         31 Aug 94 02:17:24 
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More information from `Liberation', Fri 26 Aug, p19, concerning the
crash of the ATR42.

Apparently there's a mechanical fuse between the pilot and copilot, in
case of blocked controls. It's sufficient to force the controls to
break the fuse, possibly accounting for why the copilot wasn't able to
do much. But apparently she still retained the means to `control the
descent' [`la moitie des gouvernes de profondeur' - my colleagues, who
are not pilots, have difficulty with this phrase also]. The inquiry
will say if the copilot attempted this manoeuver.

`The recordings of conversation inside the cockpit revealed an amazing
exchange between the pilot [...] and the co-pilot [..]'  The copilot,
very surprised, asked the captain what he was doing. She understood the
response `To die, to die', and made an emergency transmission `Help,
help, the captain is .....' and that was the end of the CVR. Horrifying.

The report suggests there was only ten seconds between the pilot
putting the airplane into a dive, and the `crash'. But they also say
that the aircraft was at 3500m altitude, rather more than 11,000ft.  
I think they mean that there was only ten seconds between the 
beginning of the manoeuver and the end of the CVR or FDR recording,
corresponding to the in-flight break-up of the airplane. 

Apparently this is all quite inexplicable. There were no obvious
indications of disturbance, he'd passed the medical on 7 July and a
check ride on 20 July, all routinely. Apparently, he'd also arranged
to meet a friend in Casablanca after the flight. An alternative
hypothesis was an attack, but this were completely ruled out by the
Enquiry Commission's president.

It also turns out, contrary to what Learmount supposed in the IHT
report, that there was another suicide, 9 Feb 1982, a DC-8 of Japan
Airlines in the bay of Tokyo, a few hundred meters from Haneda
airport, after an aberrant manoeuver made by the pilot. `The inquiry
revealed that shortly before the landing, the pilot suffered a severe
"psychic disorder" similar to a schizophrenic crisis. The pilot had
been hospitalised before for more than a year for mental troubles.
The japanese jucidiary decided not to indict the responsable managers
or the doctors of Japan Airlines who knew about the medical situation
of the pilot.[...]'

Peter.