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December 2, 2015

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee yesterday declared pilot error to be behind the crash of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501. All 162 passengers and crew died when the plane crashed into the Java Sea a year ago.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April 2014.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

The Airbus A320-200 was around 40 minutes from Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport to Singapore’s Changi International Airport when it vanished on December 28. Wreckage and bodies were found floating two days later; National Search and Rescue Agency divers led an international recovery effort but over 50 bodies remain lost.

The pilots were facing a fault with the rudder travel limiter, a part involved in rudder control. They repeatedly received warnings on their Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system. The first three times Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto and French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel followed correct procedure only for the fault to recur. The fourth time, they tried something else — based on Flight Data Recorder readouts, investigators believe they reset power to their Flight Augmentation Computers.

The computers are principally responsible for rudder control and aircraft stability. With both computers switched off, the entire fly-by-wire system of semi-automation disconnected, as did the autopilot and autothrust systems. The pilots were now left to fly entirely manually, without automation that protects the aircraft from entering unusual and dangerous positions.

A miscommunication followed. Iriyanto asked Plesel, who was flying, to “pull down”. Plesel pulled the controls down, which pitched the nose up; Iriyanto had wanted to descend. The flight ascended without permission through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with a nearby Emirates jet at a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft. The aircraft also banked as the disengagement of automation left the rudder off-centre.

A ship carries the aircraft’s recovered tail.
Image: Antonio P. Turretto Ramos, US Navy.

The AirAsia flight reached 38,000ft and entered a stall. The crew did not manage to regain control. The 155 passengers and seven crew died when the plane hit the sea. Most were Indonesians, but for three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit, and French national Plesel.

The fault was traced to cracked solder on a circuit board. It had repeatedly occurred in the weeks before the crash. The investigation concluded maintenance failings contributed to the disaster, but Muhammad Alwi of the Indonesian Transportation Ministry said “Repeated trouble in maintenance is a normal thing[…] If the trouble is fixed in accordance with the manual maintenance procedures, then it’s alright”.

Investigators believe the solder crack is attributable to extreme temperature changes in the unprotected compartment near the tail that houses the component.

The investigation further found the flight crew were untrained in recovering from extreme events. AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said yesterday “there is much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry… We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident”.

The report also dismisses weather as a contributory factor. The flight was diverting around storms in the area.

Iriyanto and Plessel had over 8,000 hours experience between them. Iriyanto had a decade of experience training other pilots, and previous employers include the air force. They spent three minutes struggling to regain control as the pane fell to the sea. Some bodies were recovered around 1,000km away near Sulawesi.

AFP spoke to Terence Fan, an air industry expert from Singapore Management University, who said “It’s a scenario that has played out in air accidents in the past[…] Pilots are either distracted by a faulty equipment or cannot properly solve the issue and something else is brewing in the background.”

One such accident was the loss of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 into the Atlantic. It was investigated by the BEA of France, which also assisted the AirAsia probe. The BEA issued recommendations on how to train pilots after the Air France crash. Ex-BEA boss Jean-Paul Troadec said to AFP “Several recommendations of the (BEA) on the subject of pilot training were clearly not implemented by [AirAsia].”

Indonesia saw such an accident on New Years’ Day 2007 when Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the Makasser Strait near Sulawesi. The plane suffered a failure on a navigational instrument. While pilots were troubleshooting for this navigational system they first unintentionally disconnected the autopilot, then lost control and crashed into the sea.



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February 8, 2015

Divers retrieve 100th corpse from Java Sea jet crash

Divers retrieve 100th corpse from Java Sea jet crash

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

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Divers yesterday recovered three bodies from December’s air disaster in the Java Sea. Added to four retrieved on Friday, they bring the total to 100. An additional 62 victims remain to be recovered.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

There were no survivors when Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed on December 28. The six-year-old Airbus A320-200 was 40 minutes from Juanda International Airport with 155 passengers and seven crew, bound for Singapore’s Changi International Airport. Most were Indonesians, with three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit and one French person on board.

One of the latest bodies was a uniformed man strapped into a cockpit seat, and presumed to be either Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto or French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel. Underwater currents have complicated recovery of the other body from the cockpit. Efforts to retrieve the entire aircraft last month were abandoned. Some bodies have been found roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the crash site, floating near Sulawesi.

Iriyanto and Plessel had over 8,000 hours experience between them. Iriyanto has a decade of experience training other pilots, and previous employers include the air force. Their actions have come under scrutiny as the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) investigates.

A ship carries the aircraft’s recovered tail.
Image: Antonio P. Turretto Ramos, US Navy.

The aircraft entered an excessively steep climb before stalling, the NTSC said last month. It took three minutes for the plane to reach the water, during which time the flight crew tried to regain control. Bloomberg claims the flight crew switched off computers designed to aid them after they issued alerts. AirAsia has declined to comment pending the NTSC investigation, which is expected to continue for several months.

The Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics suggests weather caused the disaster, suggesting ice led to engine failure. NTSC head investigator Marjono Siswosuwarno last month reported satellite data showed storms as high as 44,000ft. The plane was attempting to avoid storms in the minutes before contact was lost.

The National Search and Rescue Agency has over 60 divers working to retrieve the bodies.



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January 7, 2012

Japan Airlines to relist shares

Japan Airlines to relist shares – Wikinews, the free news source

Japan Airlines to relist shares

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

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A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-200 departing Kansai International Airport.
Image: BriYYZ.

Japan Airlines (JAL) is planning on relisting its shares in an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. By September, JAL shareholders intend to sell between ¥500 billion and ¥1 trillion (US$6.4b – US$12.8b, €5b – €10b).

If the sale goes into high-end estimates, it will make JAL the largest airline in the world by market value. It will also be the largest IPO in Japan since the 2010 listing of Dai-Ichi Life. However, Senri Sasahara, chief executive officer of Innovative Advisor Corp, said “The amount sought may be a bit too ambitious.”

JAL entered bankruptcy protection in January 2010 and was later given a government bailout. When it was delisted from TSE, it cut one-third of its workers, and reduced the benefits of remaining employees. JAL emerged from bankruptcy in March 2011. Since then, it has posted a record ¥188.4 billion (US$2.4b, €1.9b) in profit for fiscal year 2010.

JAL faces growing competition from discount airlines, such as AirAsia Japan and Peach. In response, JAL entered into a joint venture to form a low-cost carrier with JetStar Airways.



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January 21, 2009

ASEAN basketball league moves closer to reality

ASEAN basketball league moves closer to reality

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tony Fernandes of AirAsia will be one the major backers for the new basketball league

The formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Basketball League this week almost certainly ensures that a professional basketball league will be run across southern Asia. In planning for almost two years a US$5 million backing from Malaysian business tycoons Tony Fernandes of AirAsia and Indonesian media mogul Erick Thoir should see the league commence in September this year. The goal is to boost the mainstream popularity of basketball which, according to organizers of the new league, is already the second most popular team sport behind football.

Fernandes believes using overseas professional players will help increase the competitiveness and skills of the local ASEAN players. Fernandes said, “The aim is to develop local talent. Foreign players from outside ASEAN will be role models. Maybe one day our players will play in the NBA.”

Singapore Slingers John Fitzgerald. The Slingers are planning to confirm participation in the new league shortly.
Image: Bjorn Engelhardt.

Singapore’s The Straits Times quoted secretary general of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Patrick Baumann, as saying “Asia was ready for a professional league but warned organizers will have to ensure it doesn’t fade away after a few years. The time is right but it is not going to be simple to sustain the league”. He further added that “there has to be good entertainment. The clubs need to be managed professionally and well funded. You cannot have the league for one or two years and then stop.”

Addressing concerns over the current financial crisis and its possible impact on the launch of the league Fernandes said, “Yes, there will be a lot of obstacles and road blocks. But no mountain will stop us. During an economic downturn like now, this new league will create jobs.”

The composition of the league is still under discussion however it is expected that at least eight teams will part of the series this year. Each nation will be permitted a maximum of two privately owned teams. Other details including prize money, sponsorship and number of games is still in planning. The league will be organised by the South-east Asian Basketball Association which governs basketball across the region.

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Singapore Slingers are expected to be one of the first confirmed teams in the new competition. Bob Turner, CEO of the Slingers, said “We are definitely very interested. We believe that this will take the sport to the next level and we hope to confirm our entry as soon as possible.”

The league is tentatively scheduled to start in September 2009 and continue until February 2010. It will initially consist of eight teams that will play on a home-and-away basis. The champion will be the last team standing after a knock-out playoff round.

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July 21, 2008

One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster

One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster

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Monday, July 21, 2008

A One-Two-Go Boeing 717, similar to the one which crashed last September. These older aircraft are becoming uneconomic and are contributing to the carrier’s financial trouble.

Thai low-cost air carrier One-Two-Go Airlines has announced that it will be grounding all 16 of its aircraft immediately until September 15. The news comes as legal action against the airline and associated companies begins over the September crash of Flight 269, which killed 90 people, mostly foreigners.

Udom Tantiprasongchai, founder of the airline, has said conditions were hard for airlines with fuel prices having doubled within a year. He says 70% of operating costs are taken up with fuel, and the airline has already raised fuel surcharges again by 100 baht to 850 baht per leg.

“In this kind of environment, anyone can go (bankrupt) anytime,” said Urdom, who declined to comment on the impact the present financial situation has had on his airline, saying only that they “are financially sustainable.” He also said that the airline could return to service with ease if prices dropped, noting that, “if the situation improved with fuel prices being lowered and the profitability outlook was better, we could be airborne again.”

The airline began operations in 2003; it is a subsidiary of Orient Thai Airlines. Orient Thai, which will continue to operate as normal, recently opened Thailand’s first freight-only airline, Orient Thai Cargo, with a pair of Boeing 747-200Fs bought from Japan Airlines.

Urdon said that a major part of the problem is that eight of the company’s aircraft are MD-11s, which consume large volumes of fuel. He also said that a collapse of a damage limitation scheme with rivals Nok Airlines and Thai AirAsia had affected his decision. Both rival carriers were also struggling financially. One-Two-Go has already cut many routes.

The news comes as the first families of victims of Flight OG269 launch legal action against the airline, as well as parent airline Orient Thai and lessor Grandmax Group. Already confirmed to be involved in the action are Richard and Margaret Collins as well as Steve and Jean Jones, parents of Alex Collins, 22, and Bethan Jones, also 22, an unmarried Welsh couple who, a few days into a round-the-world trip, were among the 123 passengers on board. Alex was reported missing but quickly confirmed to have died, while Bethan died ten days after the accident with her family at her bedside, bringing the final death toll to 90.

“We believe the air crash was completely avoidable and those responsible should be held to account. While we accept that nothing can bring Alex and Bethan and the other people who lost their lives back, we are keen to make sure we prevent this from happening again,” said the families in a joint statement. “We will be forcing One-Two-Go Airlines to prove in court that they are not a low cost, low safety airline,” said James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stewarts Law in London. He also said that the action will be brought before courts in the United States.



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