Air France Flight 447

Simulation of ice buildup at 35,000 ft

In June 2009, Air France Flight 447 stalled and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The BEA’s final report stated faulty readings by the pitot tubes, likely due to ice forming over the nose, blocked the airspeed measurements needed for the autopilot to function properly. As the aircraft was not found for months, ACARS data was analyzed for causal information.

Assisting the manufacturer of the pitot tubes, RTI provided a thorough analysis to establish the effect of icing and/or turbulence had on the operational performance and related airspeed systems.