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Investigation into downed AirAsia flight finds maintenance and crew error to blame

Posted December 01, 2015 19:17:01

An investigation into the downing of an AirAsia flight last year has found each upkeep and crew error to blame for the crash.

Flight Q78501 crashed into the Java Sea during a brief flight from Surabaya to Singapore in December 2014, killing all 162 on board.

Analysis of the plane’s black boxes has now been released by Indonesia’s Transport Safety Bureau, showing unresolved repetitive faults with the aircraft.

A fault with the rudder manage technique was a significant element in the plane’s downing, Indonesian investigators said.

Repeated troubles with the system led to the pilots disengaging the autopilot in stormy climate in a bid to fix the scenario, and then losing control of the Airbus A320-200, Indonesia’s official National Transportation Security Committee said.

A member of Indonesia's search and rescue team walks past a piece of the plane wreckage. Photo: A member of Indonesia’s search and rescue group walks past a piece of the plane wreckage. (AFP: Yudha Manx, file photo)

In their final report into the crash, investigators said the soldering on the Rudder Travel Limiter system — which assists manage the rudder’s movement — was cracked, leading it to send repeated warning messages to the pilots.

When they received the fourth warning, the pilots pulled circuit-breakers on element of the aircraft’s control program in a bid to reset the method.

This turned off the autopilot, and the plane then started to roll, the report stated.

“Subsequent flight crew action resulted in inability to manage the aircraft,” the report stated.

The plane went into a “prolonged stall situation that was beyond the capability of the crew to recover”, it said.

It added the flight information recorders did not indicate the weather had impacted the aircraft.

The report also said the AirAsia plane had the very same difficulty with its rudder system 23 instances in the 12 months before the December crash.

ABC/wires

Topics: air-and-space, law-crime-and-justice, death, indonesia, asia

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