I somehow missed this a few weeks ago. Popular Mechanics has a detailed article analyzing the transcript of AF447′s cockpit voice recorder. It is chilling and incredible and horrifying and terribly sad.
Bonin yields the controls, and Robert finally puts the nose down. The plane begins to regain speed. But it is still descending at a precipitous angle. As they near 2000 feet, the aircraft’s sensors detect the fast-approaching surface and trigger a new alarm. There is no time left to build up speed by pushing the plane’s nose forward into a dive. At any rate, without warning his colleagues, Bonin once again takes back the controls and pulls his side stick all the way back.
02:14:23 (Robert) Damn it, we’re going to crash… This can’t be happening!
02:14:25 (Bonin) But what’s happening?
02:14:27 (Captain) Ten degrees of pitch…
Exactly 1.4 seconds later, the cockpit voice recorder stops.
On June 1, 2009, 228 souls were lost in the worst accident in the history of Air France, the deadliest commercial airline accident since 2001, and the deadliest in French aviation.