a white airplane flying in the sky
Credit: Jacob Pfister // Jacob Aviation

I don’t wade into plane crashes, but I care deeply about airline safety. Statistically, air travel is the safest form of travel and that’s a record everyone wants to protect as the world gets back to the skies.

Listening to the audio of a recent Boeing 777 approach into Paris Charles De Gaulle airport though, I couldn’t help but wonder if the pilots of this plane prevented a truly horrific disaster.

Very little is known, but given the apparent professionalism of the crew, it sounds like something went very oddly wrong. In short, the plane stopped responding to the pilots commands and actually began to turn left uncontrollably at low altitude.

At the very least, more should come out about this as interest builds and when you listen to the audio, you’ll likely very much agree. For now, huge kudos to the pilots who safely overcame the challenges presented on approach, wherever fault lies.

a white airplane flying in the sky
Credit: Jacob Pfister // Jacob Aviation

Terrifying Audio Between Air France Boeing 777 And Paris Air Traffic Control

Air France Flight 11 from New York JFK to Paris CDG was on final approach into the airport on April 5th, 2022 when the tone on the radio suddenly took a dramatic turn.

From the care free confirmation of landing clearance to heavy breathing while yelling at the plane, it was very clear that something went very wrong, very quickly.

Warning: this clip is not for the faint of heart.

Unlike minor incidents above 30,000 feet, where a small correction can usually quickly be dealt with, the plane was at or around 1,500 feet, where movements are ideally at a minimum to create stability on the approach.

Passengers were put through a harrowing approach, where the plane began to bank left and deviate off course, prompting air traffic control to cancel approach clearance. Air France released comment on the situation to our friends Live And Let’s Fly.

Many Questions, Few Answers

Unlike the Boeing 737-MAX which is now well documented to have suffered from unresponsive controls or improper computer based corrections in two horrific crashes, the Boeing 777 has had a largely excellent safety record.

The Boeing 777 is one of the most widely used long haul planes in the world. It’s been a stalwart of the skies for nearly 30 years.

a close up of a plane
The new Boeing 777X, expected to debut in 2024.

At least to my knowledge, there haven’t been many documented incidences of flight crews losing control of the aircraft and finding it unresponsive. I’m aware of even fewer times where it changed course on its own. Particularly, during a critical phase of flight.

As news of the missed approach turned uneventful landing gathers steam, it’s more than likely that more formal investigations will follow from the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), among others.

French authorities have since labeled the event as a “serious incident” and more is certainly going to come out, in regards to the event.

At this point, very little is known about exactly what happened, and whether this was a heroic landing or a rookie error, but either way, the crew wrestled the plane from what could’ve been a very unfortunate event and made an uneventful landing. I’d really love to hear their official statements on the incident.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Where did ALL the negative comments on this trash essay go? You’re an idiot and are only published because it’s your website. You just trashed the safest aircraft on the planet when it all points to pilot error.

      1. And you could take a journalism class or two. Also, If you’re going to write about aviation, take a lesson, or better yet, get a pilot’s license, then you might be taken seriously.

  2. Boeing announces it has checked the cockpit voice recorder (QAR) and found that the aircraft “Did not encounter any flight control malfunction” Meanwhile, both pilots of F-GSQJ 777-300 remain suspended. So much for the aircraft “Going Nuts” and, quality journalism.

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