Faulty device, crew blamed for 2014 Indonesia plane crash: Probe

KONFRONTASI - The Indonesia AirAsia passenger jet that crashed last year went down mainly as a result of faulty systems and the crew’s “inability to control the aircraft,” an investigation by Indonesia’s aviation body finds.

Indonesia’s official National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said in a report on Tuesday that the plane’s rudder travel limiter malfunctioned and sent repeated warning messages to the pilots electronically.

But as the pilots received the fourth warning, they pulled circuit-breakers on one of the aircraft’s computers, removing power from the faulty system in a bid to reset it. In doing so, according to the report, they also turned off the plane’s autopilot.

“Subsequent flight crew action resulted in inability to control the aircraft,” said the report. The plane went into a “prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the crew to recover,” it added.

The rudder travel limiter had suffered 23 problems in the past 12 months before the crash, the report said, citing maintenance records.

In this file photograph, taken on January 12, 2015, foreign investigators (L) examine the recovered tail of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 in Kumai. (Photo by AFP)

Flight QZ8501, which was supposed to be a short flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, went down into the Java Sea during stormy weather on December 28, 2014, killing all 162 passengers on board.

The report said, however, that the flight data recorders did not indicate the weather had affected the Airbus A320-200 aircraft at the time.

The plane crash triggered a huge international search, with ships and aircraft from several nations involved in a lengthy hunt that was hampered by dangerous sea waves and bad weather. Only 106 of the victims’ bodies were recovered and the bodies of 56 others are still missing.

After almost three months of hunting for the rest of the bodies, the search was finally called off in March by Indonesian authorities.[ptv]