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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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October 17, 2007

First A380 enters commercial service

First A380 enters commercial service – Wikinews, the free news source

First A380 enters commercial service

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Airbus A380 Superjumbo in SIA livery, which was featured at the 2006 Asian Aerospace.
Image: Slivester Chua.

It was a milestone in aviation history: the first Airbus A380 landed at Singapore’s Changi International Airport at 6:40 p.m. (GMT+8) after a 12-hour flight from Airbus’ Delivery Center. The aircraft was greeted by some 400 guests, including the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, at the soon-to-open Terminal 3 of Changi International Airport.

In his speech, the Prime Minister applauded Singapore Airlines (SIA) – the recipient carrier – and cited its success as a source of pride for all Singaporeans. He also said that the landing was a milestone not only for SIA, but also for Changi International Airport, the country’s main airport. All existing terminals are currently A380-ready, and the SGD1.75-billion Terminal 3 will open its doors in January next year.

The A380 will make a special charity flight on October 25 from Singapore to Sydney and will begin regular service on the Singapore-Sydney route on October 28.

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December 2, 2005

Australian Van Nguyen executed in Singapore

Australian Van Nguyen executed in Singapore

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Friday, December 2, 2005

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Van Tuong Nguyen was executed at Changi Prison in Singapore today. Prison officials have confirmed the execution took place at 0900 AEDT (2200 UTC Thursday).

The 25-year-old Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in December, 2002, while in transit from Cambodia to Australia. He was found to be in possession of 396.2 grams of heroin. He was convicted in the Singapore High Court and sentenced to death under the Misuse of Drugs Act which mandates a death sentence for trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin.

All appeals for clemency were rejected. Singapore’s High Commissioner in Australia, Joseph Koh, said Singapore carefully considered appeals from Australia but decided the law must be applied consistently. “It had to treat Nguyen consistently with similar past cases, and apply the law equally to Singaporeans and foreigners,” Mr Koh said.

After saying goodbye to his client, Nguyen’s Australian lawyer, Julian McMahon, said Nguyen’s execution was a waste. “He is completely rehabilitated, completely reformed, completely focused on doing what is good and now they’re going to kill him,” he said.

It was previously reported that Nguyen’s mother would not be permitted to embrace her son before the execution, however, Mr McMahon has confirmed that they were allowed some physical contact. “Well I actually wasn’t in the room when that happened but there was a grill and they were able to hold each other’s hands and Kim was able to, at least for some time, I’m not sure how long, was able to touch Van on the face,” he said. “She told me she was able to talk to him and touch his hair. That was a great comfort to her.”

Prayer vigils were held outside Changi Prison and around Australia to mark the first execution of an Australian since Michael McAuliffe in Malaysia in 1993. Nguyen’s body is expected to be returned to Australia on Saturday for a funeral next week.

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November 19, 2005

Australian man to be executed in Singapore

Australian man to be executed in Singapore

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Supporters of convicted Australian drug trafficker, Van Nguyen, gathered outside the State Library in Melbourne yesterday to display thousands of messages of opposition to his death sentence.

Callers to talkback radio in Melbourne were overwhelmingly against the death penalty of Nguyen, who immediately admitted his guilt and has cooperated with authorities since being caught smuggling heroin into Singapore. Many called for a boycott of Singaporean products.

25-year-old Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in 2002 for carrying heroin and sentenced to death in March. Nguyen claims he carried the 396 grams of heroin strapped to his body in an attempt to pay off his brother Khoa’s $30,000 legal debts.

The Singapore government have announced they will execute Nguyen at dawn on December 2nd. Singapore President S. R. Nathan rejected Nguyen’s clemency four weeks ago. The Melbourne salesman was sentenced to death under Singapore law which determines a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of possessing 15 grams of heroin or more.

Nguyen’s mother was informed on Thursday by registered mail from the Singapore prisons service of the execution date. The letter stated that she should start making funeral arrangements. She will get to see her son in the three days leading up to the execution.

Despite repeated pleas for clemency from many thousands of supporters; religious groups; human rights organisations; the Pope; and the Australian Government – including Prime Minister, John Howard – Singapore officials have said Nguyen’s execution is irreversible.

Mr Howard had argued that Nguyen should be spared, citing mitigating circumstances in his case which pointed to the fact that he was not a serial drug trafficker but had merely been trying to pay off his brother’s debts.

The Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, says the Singaporean Government has shown no compassion whatsoever in its treatment of Van Nguyen and his family.

“What’s happening is brutal, is inappropriate. I, and the Victorian Government, vehemently oppose the death penalty in any circumstances”, he told ABC Radio. “This is a young kid who has assisted the police all the way… In any other country, he would get a discount in relation to the penalty. But because there is a mandatory death penalty for drug offences in Singapore, this young man may well be executed. It is just grossly inappropriate.”

“Singapore maintains that capital punishment is a criminal justice issue; it is the sovereign right of every country to decide whether or not to include capital punishment within its criminal justice system,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Singapore argues that there was no international consensus that capital punishment should be abolished. At the most recent meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, 66 countries dissociated themselves from a resolution calling for the abolition of capital punishment.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong affirmed Singapore’s position by saying that it has to “stand firm on drugs to protect its citizens from the scourge and to ensure the country does not become a conduit for the trafficking of illicit drugs.”

In reply to a letter appealing for clemency from his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said: “Mr Nguyen imported almost 400gm of pure heroin which would have supplied more than 26,000 doses to drug addicts.”

No one will be permitted to see Nguyen on the morning of his execution. His body will be released to his mother.

Bungle over execution date release

On Thursday, a letter informing Nguyen’s mother of the Dec 2 date was accidentally sent earlier than intended by the Singapore authorities. As a result, Australian Prime Minister John Howard was caught offguard when asked by reporters on Thursday if he knew that Nguyen would be executed on Dec 2.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday admitted he had been told several days ago that a letter would be sent this week to Nguyen’s mother. Mr Downer said his Singapore counterpart, George Yeo, had told him on Monday night, when they were both in Busan, that the family would be sent a letter which they would receive yesterday.

“So the Singapore Prime Minister had assumed that the letter would arrive on Friday,” Mr Downer said. “The letter arrived a day earlier than they had anticipated.”

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday the differences between Australia and Singapore over the planned execution of convicted drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van would not damage relations between the two countries.

“It is not an issue where we agree but our disagreement on the treatment of Mr Nguyen is not going to contaminate the very good relationship between Australia and Singapore,” Mr Howard was quoted as saying in an AAP report.

Lawyers say: regime should change

Mr Lex Lasry, QC, who heads Nguyen’s Melbourne legal team, recently told Singapore’s high commissioner in Canberra that the “regime” of the mandatory death penalty would have to change.

“At some point, the Singapore Government must realise as a First World country it can no longer continue to impose mandatory death sentences. They simply can’t keep doing this to people,” he said. He described as an “outrageous injustice” the Singapore law that denies lawyers the chance to argue to a judge why a client should not be hanged.

“Let the rest of the world know we are not prepared to tolerate it and ultimately they will have to change their minds,” he said.

“Even if our client is executed as he probably will be, the campaign against Singapore’s mandatory death sentence will continue,” Mr Lasry said.

Mr Lasry said the fight to save Nguyen would continue over the next few weeks.

Execution methods reviewed

Nguyen Tuong Van may be the last person to face the hangman in Singapore after a review of execution methods in Singapore. The nation’s chief hangman, Darshan Singh, has told prison officials he wants to retire, but finding a replacement has been unsuccessful. One of two candidates picked to replace Mr Singh was unable to complete his first execution. A second left the prison service.

Mr Singh, a veteran of over 850 hangings, is reportedly unhappy with the new machinery, which is prone to malfunction. The Australian newspaper reports that Singapore officials have been studying other methods of execution and are considering the lethal injection technique used in the United States.

The lethal injection method being considered by Singapore officials as an alternative is modelled on the procedure introduced in 1977 in Oklahoma. The prisoner is strapped to a gurney and an intravenous tube is inserted into each arm with a flow of harmless saline solution. At the warden’s signal, 5g of sodium pentothal is administered, which renders the prisoner unconscious.

It is followed by pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant that paralyses the diaphragm and lungs, and finally potassium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest.

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January 18, 2005

Airbus launches world\’s largest passenger plane

Airbus launches world’s largest passenger plane

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Toulouse, FRANCE – In a ceremony attended by several European political leaders and 5,000 VIP guests, Airbus unveiled plans for the A380, a twin-deck aircraft that can carry up to 840 people in all-economy class (550 for a Boeing 747), or 555 people in typical three mixed classes layout.

The new aircraft will take the world’s-largest title away from rival Boeing’s 747. Boeing’s upcoming new design, the 7e7, does not attempt to compete directly with the A380 but instead is aimed at a more efficient and comfortable flight at 200-250 seats.

Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard stated that he expected sales of the aircraft to exceed the 250 required for the project to break even. To date, 149 confirmed orders for the aircraft have been received. Airbus has hopes that sales will exceed 700. The company is currently in talks with China regarding possible sales there.

The first test flight of the aircraft may take place as early as March, and the first commercial flight is expected to take off in mid-2006 from Singapore’s Changi Airport.

British and American airline Virgin Atlantic has purchased six of these aeroplanes and intend to fit them with gyms and bars as well as seats.

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