A quick-thinking pilot managed to avoid disaster during an approach to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris on Tuesday when he lost control of the aircraft during its final approach.
French officials are investigating what caused flight AF011 to suddenly abort its landing at 1,500 feet after its seven-hour flight from JFK in New York. In the meantime, AirLive published the flight recording of the very scary event. Everything was going well until about 40 seconds into the exchange between flight crew and the control tower, when a groan from the pilot and some very concerning alarms can be heard:
Hearing a pilot shout “stop! Stop!” is never ideal, but what’s scarier than what was being said was what was not being said. There are many long seconds where you can hear the pilot wrestling with the controls and breathing heavy, like he might have needed a change of pantalons after this. Eventually the pilot tells air traffic control that the plane was not responding to commands. The flight crew figured out some sort of work around and stuck its second attempt to land without any further issues.
From flight path data it looks like flight AF011 made a sharp left as it approached Charles De Gaulle airport. France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation or BEA, is investigating the incident.
CNN caught up with one of the passengers to find out what it was like in the fuselage.
As the plane was approaching the airport, there were “two or three sudden jolts,” passenger Pierre-Loïc Jacquemin told CNN’s French affiliate BFMTV.
“There were people shouting in the cabin” at the time of the incident, he said.
“Afterwards, the plane came back up. We circled for 10 minutes above the airport, and the second attempt was really gentle. We weren’t jostled like the first one,” the passenger added.
Landings are by far the most dangerous moments in a flight. The final decent and landing phases make up only four percent of flight time, but account for an incredibly 49 percent of fatal accidents, experts told Business Insider. It’s certainly seems safer to fly a plane than to stop one.