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Air France Flight 296

Coordinates: 47°44′58″N 7°25′34″E / 47.74944°N 7.42611°E / 47.74944; 7.42611
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air France Flight 296 was a test flight of an Air France Airbus A320, chartered by Air Charter International, at the air show in Habsheim, Alsace, France on June 26, 1988. The approach was to take place with the plane at 100 feet (33 m), but the plane descended to a lower height than expected and crashed at the end of the runway, killing 3 passengers on board, this being the first fatal accident of an Airbus A320 in the world.

Air France Flight 296Q
F-GFKC, the Airbus A320 involved in the accident
Date26 June 1988 (1988-06-26)
SummaryCrashed into forest at air show
SiteMulhouse–Habsheim Airport, Mulhouse, France
47°44′58″N 7°25′34″E / 47.74944°N 7.42611°E / 47.74944; 7.42611
Aircraft typeAirbus A320-111
Aircraft nameVille d'Amsterdam
OperatorAir France (operated by Air Charter International)
IATA flight No.AF296Q
ICAO flight No.ACF296Q
Call signAIR CHARTER 296Q
Flight originCharles de Gaulle Airport
StopoverMulhouse–Habsheim Airfield
DestinationBasel–Mulhouse Airport
Survivors133 (136 initially)

Flight crew

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The crew of flight 296 was commanded by Captain Michel Asseline, who was sent to prison for this act and sentenced by the French justice system to 10 months in prison and 10 months of probation.[1]

Accident and Aftermath

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As the aircraft approached Habshiem Airfield, the Airbus A320 was prepared for the flyover by Captain Asseline, who was the pilot flying. The first officer then warned the captain of the low altitude of around 100 feet. The aircraft was not stabilized and continued to descend to 30 feet, with an according Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) callout. The aircraft was at a low speed and as the aircraft stabilized itself in a nose up attitude, Captain Asseline called out, "TOGA power, go around track!" The flight crew began a go around and applied maximum go around thrust, as commanded. As the engines reached approximately 84 percent N1, the A320 flew into trees at the end of the runway during the airshow, and burst into flames upon impacting the ground.

The impact and the fire resulting from the fuel fire killed 3 people on board, these being two young children and one adult. During the evacuation of the plane, the passengers left through the emergency exits, while a woman tries to remove a 7-year-old girl from the plane whose seat belt got stuck in her seat, killing both of them. The other child was found dead in the rubble.

Captain Asseline, First Officer Mazière, two Air France employees and the sponsor of the event, president of the local flight club, were charged with the crime of involuntary manslaughter, of the group Captain Asseline was the only one who ended up in jail convicted to 10 months in prison, while the rest ended up on probation.

It was found that the Airbus had actually went against Captain Asseline's flight control inputs and deflected the elevators down to prevent the aircraft from stalling. This later became known as the Alpha Protection system.


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The episode "Blaming the Pilot" of the TV series Survival in the Sky featured the accident.

The Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic TV series Air Crash Investigation featured the accident and subsequent investigation in a season 9 episode titled "Pilot vs. Plane" and included an interview with Captain Michel Asseline, survivors, and accident investigators.[2]

The episode "Disastrous Descents" of the TV series Aircrash Confidential produced by WMR Productions and IMG Entertainment, featured the accident and included an interview with Captain Michel Asseline.


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  1. "Commission d'Enquête sur l'accident survenu le 26 de juin de 1988 à Mulhouse-Habsheim (68) à l'Airbus A 320, immatriculé F-GFKC – Rapport Final" [Commission of Inquiry into the accident on June 26, 1988 in Mulhouse-Habsheim (68) on the Airbus A 320, registered F-GFKC - Final Report] (PDF) (in French). 24 April 1990. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 November 2013.
  2. "Pilot vs. Plane". Mayday. Season 9. 2010. Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic Channel.

Other websites

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