Air France Flight AF011, a Boeing 777-300ER, suffered serious control issues during a go around at Paris-CDG Airport.
The captain on the flight was the Pilot Monitoring (PM), the co-pilot, in the right seat, was the Pilot Flying (PF).
During the descent, the crew prepared for an ILS approach to runway 26L. The meteorological conditions were the following: wind 230, 8 kt, visibility 3000 m, cloud ceiling 300 ft, temperature 9° C, QNH 1013.
On final, the aircraft was established on the localizer and glideslope ILS beams. At 07:49 UTC, the crew were cleared to land. They configured the aircraft for landing, the selected speed was 140 kt. The crew then carried out the Landing checklist. At 07:50:20, when the aircraft was at an altitude of 1670 ft, the PF continued the approach in manual flight: he disconnected the autopilot (AP), leaving the auto throttle (AT) and the flight directors (FD) activated. He then made inputs on the controls for around 15 seconds. The aircraft followed the movement of the controls and stayed on the ILS path, the left and right roll being less than 2°. In the subsequent ten seconds, there were less inputs on the wheel. The co-pilot than made inputs on the control column and wheel with a greater frequency, the amplitude was still small, the aircraft followed the commands, the left and right roll being less than 3°. At 07:51:06, the co-pilot expressed his astonishment with respect to the aircraft’s bank angle. The roll inputs were amplified and the average position of the wheel was at around 6° to the left. The aircraft turned left with a small bank angle. The captain voiced his surprise with respect to the deviation from the flight path.
At 07:51:12, when the aircraft was at an altitude of 1115 ft, banked 7° to the left, with the wheel oriented 16° to the left, the crew carried out a go-around. Up until the go-around, the flight path had remained within the operator’s stabilization criteria. The recorded parameters show that the two pilots then simultaneously made inputs on the controls.
In the following second, the position of the wheel reached a maximum value of 27° to the left. One second later, the roll reached a maximum value of 15° to the left and the nose-up attitude was 12°.
At 07:51:16, the captain commented that the plane was going left. The control columns were then desynchronized for 14 seconds due to opposing forces. The captain held the control column in a slightly nose-down position while the co-pilot made several, more pronounced, nose-up inputs. Two brief episodes of wheel desynchronization were also observed.
At 07:51:20, the go-around switches were pushed again increasing the thrust to the maximum thrust available.
At 07:51:23, the pitch reached a maximum value of 24°.
At 07:51:25, the co-pilot called out ‘Positive climb’ and retracted the landing gear. The configuration warning was displayed and the associated aural warning (siren) sounded because the landing gear was retracted while the flaps were still in the landing position.
The two pilots continued to simultaneously make inputs on the controls. The captain made more pronounced nose down inputs for a few seconds.
At 07:52:06, the captain was the sole person making inputs. The crew completed the go-around actions.
The crew analysed the situation without perceiving the antagonistic inputs made on the controls and the desynchronizations of the control channels. They considered that they could use the AP again and carry out a new approach.
The co-pilot became the PF again. The captain informed the controller that there had been a problem on the flight controls and asked to join the final for runway 27R. The approach and landing took place without further incident at 08:13 UTC.
No failure warning was activated during the occurrence. No anomaly was observed on the aircraft.
Weather reported about the incident time (0751Z):
LFPG 050800Z 24008KT 3000 BR BKN003 09/08 Q1013 TEMPO BKN002
LFPG 050730Z 23009KT 3000 -RA BR BKN003 09/08 Q1013 TEMPO BKN002
LFPG 050700Z 23008KT 3000 -RA BR BKN003 08/08 Q1013 TEMPO BKN002
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