Air France Flight 447 Investigation: Pilots Not Properly Trained to Fly the Airbus A330?


BEA did not originally release the pilots' final words. That part of the tape was later leaked.

Troadec said the agency withheld it from the public because the tape contained "personal conversations that is not useful to understand the accident."

But this decision led many people, including the victims' families, to suspect that the BEA was not telling the whole story. The agency will release its final report on the investigation of the crash on July 5, 2012.

INFOGRAPHIC: Air France Flight 447: Timeline of Events

About 180 victims' family members have sued Air France and Airbus over the crash. The family of one of the victims, Eithna Walls, has settled its lawsuit. But Airbus continues to defend its planes and their design.

"The 330 has accumulated seven million flights and over 37 million flight hours," said Bozin at Airbus. "Its operational performance, its reliability, its safety, have been well established."

"Airbus is proud of the fact, they like to say that their plane is 'pilot-proof,'" said aviation lawyer James Healy Pratt. "It's designed so that it overrides any pilot error so that the computer will be in charge."

The A330, considered among the safest in the skies, has flown over 800 million passengers across the world and there are 865 planes in operation today, according to Airbus's website. But in modern aviation, these planes almost fly themselves. Voss said that on any given flight, pilots are manually flying the plane for only three minutes -- one minute and 30 seconds each for take-off and landing.

"We moving towards automated operations where the pilot isn't even permitted to fly," Voss said. "That means the first time in your career you will ever feel what an aircraft feels like at 35,000 feet is when it's handed to you broken [if something goes wrong and the automated system disengages]."

At the heart of the heated debate over so-called "automation addiction," which is when pilots are overly dependent on computers to fly their planes, is the question of whether pilots are actually learning how to properly fly large commercial aircraft.

"Because of this sophistication and the ability of airplane to fly themselves, they don't have as many people to actually fly the airplane, to actually exercise their stick and rudder capabilities," Bozin said.

ABC News' Lauren Effron contributed to this report

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