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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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December 30, 2014

AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found

Filed under: Indonesia,Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 — admin @ 5:00 am

AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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  • 30 December 2014: AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found
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Search and rescue teams today began recovering bodies after debris from Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 was spotted in the sea near Borneo.

The flight from Surabaya to Singapore vanished from radar screens early on Sunday morning over the Java Sea. 155 passengers and seven crew were on board. Most were Indonesians, with three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit and one French person on board.

An Indonesian naval ship today recovered at least three bodies. TvOne broadcast uncensored footage that was seen by distressed relatives at Juanda International Airport, where the plane departed. TvOne has apologised and switched to blurred-out footage.

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

Yesterday evening searchers stated they were using twelve helicopters, eleven planes, and 32 vessels. Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia sent assistance with the search. Local fishing boats have also joined. The US, UK, and France have been asked for help locating submerged remains. USS Sampson, a US Navy destroyer, is due to join search efforts today.

National Search and Rescue Agency head Bambang Soelistyo says a “shadow” on the seabed, spotted by the air force, is thought to be the wreck site. The nearest airstrip is in Pangkalan Bun, Borneo, about 160km away.

AirNav, the Indonesian national air traffic control (ATC) facility, yesterday said the aircraft was given permission to divert to avoid bad weather; the area was experiencing thunderstorms. That was at 6:12 local time. The flight crew next asked to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft.

Controllers conferred with Singapore and agreed the plane could climb as high as 34,000ft with another flight preventing a higher altitude. When they radioed permission at 6:14 they received no answer. The flight vanished from radar at 6:17. The transponder ceased to be received a minute later.

A leaked screenshot from an ATC radar screen shows the flight ascending without permission through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with an Emirates jet also on the screen showing a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft. An insufficient speed can cause an aircraft to stall.

Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto and French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel did not explain their request to climb. They have over 8,000 hours experience between them. They were flying Airbus A320-200 registration PK-AXC and serial number 3648, which was six years old. It last underwent maintenance in November. Management company Doric own and lease the aircraft. The plane had accumulated 23,000 flying hours on 13,600 flights. It went missing around 40 minutes into a flight to Changi International Airport.

Iriyanto’s previous employers include the Indonesian Air Force, Merpati Airlines, and Adam Air. The 53-year-old also has ten years experience as a pilot trainer. He has flown for AirAsia for three years.

Investigations are to be led by the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee. France-based airframer Airbus, the BEA, which investigates aviation mishaps in France, and the US National Transportation Safety Board have all offered assistance.

Reuters spoke to an anonymous source within the investigation. “Why did [Iriyanto] request to climb at that stage?” said the source. “Should he have climbed earlier? Other aircraft were flying at a higher altitude in that area. How did the two pilots react to the weather? We are asking those questions.” The source said radar, weather, and communications data was being analysed.

AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes said he has “full confidence in my[…] crew[…][Iriyanto] was extremely experienced”. He added Iriyanto “came from the air force, one of their best graduates. He came from Surabaya, so he knows the area very well.” Fernandes said it was “too early to speculate” about causes.

AirAsia is based in Malaysia. 2014 has been a year of air disasters for the country; Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been missing since March with 239 on board and in July Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Ukraine with 298 casualties. Both involved Boeing 777 aircraft.

AirAsia has a good record with no previous fatal accidents.


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AirAsia Emergency Contact Number: +622129850801
Juanda Airport: [031] 8690945

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  • “AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing” — Wikinews, December 28, 2014

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December 28, 2014

AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing

Filed under: Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 — admin @ 5:00 am

AirAsia jet vanishes over Indonesia, 162 missing

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

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An Indonesia AirAsia jet vanished over the Kumai region today. The flight carried 162 people.

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

Among the 155 passengers and seven crew flying from Surabaya to Singapore are three Koreans, one Malaysian, and one person variously reported as a French or UK national. The rest are Indonesians. There are sixteen children and an infant. The plane was diverting around weather formations over the Java Sea when contact with air traffic control (ATC) in Jakarta was lost.

Local search and rescue have been told the flight last spoke to controllers at 6:12 local time seeking to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft. The flight vanished from radar at 6:17. The transponder ceased to be received a minute later. ATC issued a series of escalating alerts in response. It was due to enter Singaporean airspace at 6:52 and land by around 8:30.

The Indonesian Navy, police forces, and National Search and Rescue Agency are focusing on an area 20 nautical miles from East Belitung. The plane went missing in the vicinity of Pulau Belitung Island. A rescue boat with a crew of 22 has been dispatched, with water police providing an additional vessel. The Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority is overseeing the efforts. Searches are presently suspended until morning.

The flight path of the missing flight.
Image: Andrew Heneen/Natural Earth.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is “ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort” according to a statement. The Singaporean military has sent two C-130 aircraft to assist. The Indian Navy has reportedly placed three ships and a Boeing P8-1 on standby to help.

Australia has also offered assistance. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telephoned her Indonesian equivalent, Retno Marsudi, to offer support. Bishop has also offered Australian assistance to South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott contacted Indonesian President Joko Widodo to offer sympathies and a P3 Orion plane.

Areas for families and friends have been set up at Changi Airport where the flight was headed and at Juanda International Airport where it departed. The airline said in a statement they would “keep all parties informed as more information becomes available” about “the status of the passengers and crew members on board”.

“I hope I can get information soon on the whereabouts of our family members,” one weeping woman at Juanda told Antara. She said she has four relatives on board and heard about the disappearance from news reports.

The area where the plane vanished around 40 minutes into its trip was experiencing thunderstorms. Some clouds were as high as 50,000ft. The aircraft, Airbus A320-200 registration PK-AXC and serial number 3648, was six years old. It was undertaking flight designation QZ8501 and last underwent maintenance in November. Management company Doric own and lease the aircraft.

Cquote1.svg I hope I can get information soon on the whereabouts of our family members Cquote2.svg

—Woman awaiting news at Juanda Airport

Pilot Iriyanto and co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel have over 8,000 hours experience between them. Airbus released a statement saying the plane had accumulated 23,000 flying hours on 13,600 flights. The French-based airframer said it would assist investigators. The BEA, which investigates aviation mishaps in France, is liaising with their Indonesian counterparts at the National Transportation Safety Committee to provide assistance.

The engines were built by CFM International, a joint enterprise between US firm General Electric and French engineering company Safran. The US connection means the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) can also join the probe.The NTSB says it is ready and willing to assist if required.

Cquote1.svg Our priority is looking after all the next-of-kin for my staff and passengers Cquote2.svg

—AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes

A screenshot apparently leaked from an ATC radar screen shows the flight ascending through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with an Emirates jet also on the screen showing a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft.

“My only thought are with the passengers and my crew” said AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes. He said he is heading to Surabaya and thanked Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indonesian authorities for emergency efforts. Fernandes bought AirAsia for a symbolic price from the Malaysian government in 2002. By 2010 it had expanded from two aircraft to 86.

“I am touched by the massive show of support especially from my fellow airlines” said Fernandes. “This is my worst nightmare.” He urged staff to “Pray hard. […] Our priority is looking after all the next-of-kin for my staff and passengers.”

Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting head of transportation in Indonesia, said “We don’t dare to presume what has happened except that it has lost contact.” Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is “saddened” and his “thoughts are with the passengers and their families”. Pope Francis used today’s address in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican to say he was praying for the missing. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the news “Very sad to hear[…] My thoughts are with the families. Malaysia stands ready to help.”

The British Embassy in Jakarta has acknowledged reports a UK citizen may be missing. US President Barack Obama has also been briefed. Initial reports claim AirAsia did not include British when listing the nationalities missing, but the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office say a UK victim’s next of kin have been informed.

The present version of AirAsia’s statement lists a UK passenger and a French crewmember. France24 identifies co-pilot Plesel as French.

AirAsia is based in Malaysia. 2014 has been a year of air disasters for the country; Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been missing since March with 239 on board and in July Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Ukraine with 298 casualties. Both involved Boeing 777 aircraft.

AirAsia has a good record with no previous major crashes.

Exquisite-Modem.png
AirAsia Emergency Contact Number: +622129850801
Juanda Airport: [031] 8690945


 
This story has updates
 
See AirAsia disaster: Bodies, wreckage found, December 30, 2014
 

Related news

  • “Next phase of search for MH 370 begins” — Wikinews, October 9, 2014
  • “Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298” — Wikinews, July 19, 2014

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