I had said I would follow up when we knew what was contained on the “black boxes” recently recovered from the Air France crash. The cause of the crash: Iced-over pitot tubes (which caused incorrect air speed readings) followed by pilot error. The following from the Wall Street Journal:
Cruising at 35,000 feet and nearly four hours into what seemed a routine overnight flight to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, an Air France cockpit crew got a stall warning and responded by doing what even weekend pilots know to avoid: They yanked the nose of the plane up instead of pointing it down to gain essential speed.
Apparently confused by repeated stall warnings and reacting to wildly fluctuating airspeed indications, pilots of Flight 447 continued to pull back sharply on the controls—contrary to standard procedure—even as the Airbus A330 plummeted toward the Atlantic Ocean, according to information released Friday by French accident investigators. The June 2009 crash took the lives of all 228 on board.