Ice blamed for Mali jet crash

Aviation regulators are expected to issue new advice to pilots after investigations into the crash of an Air Algerie jet in Mali last July found it went out of control after being hit by ice as an anti-icing system remained switched off.

France’s Bea crash investigation agency, which is helping Mali to investigate the crash that killed 116 people, said the MD-83 jet seemed to have run into trouble after probes that measure engine inlet pressure blocked up with ice.

Properly working probes are needed to help the McDonnell-Douglas aircraft measure the thrust of its engines. With the probes iced up as the Algiers-bound jet skirted a storm, the plane’s autopilot thought the power was too high and slowed the engines below the level needed to maintain cruise height, starting a chain of events that sent it out of control, Bea said on its website.

The statement explained some of the causes of the crash and said it had notified US and European regulators who would issue the new guidance.

Investigators have been hindered by damage to “black box” cockpit audio recordings, which were unusable, but have spent months reconstructing engine settings from the data recorder of the MD-83 jet.

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