June 30, Yemenia Flight 626

Sunday, June 30, 2013
By George Hatcher

We remember on June 2009 when 152 people died aboard a Yemenia Airlines Airbus A310-300.

Yemenia Flight 626.

We remember.

The years pass and the headlines fade, but the families will never forget the loss of their loved ones, and neither should we.

The pilot was about to land on an airstrip in the Comores Islands when ATC lost contact.

The plane and all its passengers crashed into the ocean.

12-year old Bahia Bakari survived the crash, rescued after thirteen hours in the ocean, clinging to debris. She was and is a miracle.

The final report on Flight 626 concluded the crash was due to the crew’s inappropriate flight control inputs that led to an aerodynamic stall.

Crews inappropriate flight control inputs means pilot error. In this case, the pilot error was exacerbated by a nineteen year old plane in dubious condition, bad weather conditions (winds gusting to 64 km/h 40 mph; 35 kn) and a primitive airport.

Crashes like Yemenia should function like red lights. The only way they make sense is if when they happen, we stop and consider those who were lost, and investigate what went wrong. On behalf of safety, the aviation industry should mandate to use every atom of what is discovered to prevent future accidents. The industry in general, and the airlines in specific should make changes that will help prevent future accidents.

Pilot error means airlines like Yemenia are still having problems training pilots. Still problems in the cockpit. Sadly, conditions still exist for more accidents like this in Yemenia’s future.

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  • Air Consumer.gov
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  • Bird Strike Database
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  • U.S. Office of Special Counsel
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