AIR ASIA-LOW COST LOW SAFETY DEATH TRAP
AIRASIA QZ8501- AN AVOIDABLE JOURNEY TO DISASTER
An investigation into the crash of an AirAsia flight last year has found pilot error in breaking protocol by pulling circuit-breakers on part of the aircraft’s control system — which turned off the autopilot — was partly to blame for the crash, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The investigation summarized its findings as follows:
- Both crew error and a rudder system problem had contributed to the crash
- The same rudder system problem occurred at least 23 times in the 12 months prior to the crash
THE PUBLIC RELATIONS DISASTER AND ITS IMPACT ON AIRASIA’S REPUTATION
The investigation also found there had a maintenance problem with the aircraft that had been left unresolved by AirAsia for 12 months.
A more detailed hour long report on the state of Indonesian civil aviation and that of AirAsia Indonesia and by implication AirAsia itself can be viewed on the ABC (Australia’s) Foreign Correspondent programme.
The programme which aired on 3 May 2016 in Australia is available for download online from 4 May 2016 onwards. The programme offers compelling and compulsory viewing for those who fly or intend to fly AirAsia or any of Indonesia’s many airlines in future.
ADMINISTRATIVE BUNGLES AND BRAVADO
For whatever it is worth, the Indonesian arm of AirAsia claims it has now upgraded its systems to prevent such occurrences (as the events that led to the tragedy of AirAsia QZ8501) in the future.
Tony Fernandez the Airline’s CEO issued an apology to relatives of the victims of Air Asia QZ8501 a few days after the crash. We called his actions a mistake. The outcomes of the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission findings into the cause of the crash likely vindicates our position in this respect.
THE TECHNICAL FAULT
A fault with the rudder control system and poor attempts to repair the fault were major factors contributing to the crash according to Indonesian investigators of the National Transportation Safety Commission.
The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission claims that although the rudder problem was a major contributing factor, it was the poor maintenance of the aircraft that created the problem that caused confusion in the cockpit and corrective actions by the pilot and co-pilot that led to the crash.
THE HUMAN FAULT
“Repeated problems with the system led to the pilots disengaging the autopilot in stormy weather in a bid to fix the situation, and then losing control of the Airbus A320-200, Indonesia’s official National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said”.
“On three occasions the report found the pilot and co-pilot reacted according to the guidelines to the warning alarm”.
Investigators also say that when the crew received the fourth warning, they (the pilots) pulled circuit-breakers on part of the aircraft’s control system in a bid to reset the system to stop the alarm sounding”. This resulted in them turning off the autopilot, causing the plane then to roll out of control.
The report also indicates that the flight data recorders did not implicate the weather in the crash. Critically the report says the AirAsia plane the problem with its rudder system was a recurring problem occurring 23 times in the 12 months prior to the crash.
Cold comfort for the passengers of the ill fated flight, their friends and family and more important for the travelling public of a low cost, now low safety airline.
UPDATE ON AIRLINE SAFETY RATINGS- IT GETS WORSE FOR AIRASIA
A list of the most dangerous airlines in the world has been released and while AirAsia Indonesia is included, Malaysia Airlines is not.
The list of the most dangerous airlines of the world was published in the Daily Mail (Australia edition) recently. The following is extracted from the Daily Mail Australia 4 May 2016.
“The Malaysian carrier MAS scored five out of a possible seven stars for its safety record, as opposed to five airlines which just manage one star.
Three AirAsia subsidiaries – in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines – were included on the list, scoring just two, three and three stars respectively.
Indonesia’s AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea on December 28, killing all 162 people on board.”