AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crash attributed to equipment failure
The year-long investigation into the crash of AirAsia flight QZ8501 has attributed the cause of the crash to faulty flight equipment. According to the National Transport Safety Committee's report, the plane's rudder control system malfunctioned 4 times during the flight. The crew responded by resetting the computer system, which disabled the plane's autopilot and the plane entered an uncontrollable "prolonged stall condition" ultimately crashing.
AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashes killing all on board
AirAsia flight QZ8501 took off from Surabaya in Java at 05:35 local time, and was headed to Singapore in what would normally be a two-hour flight. Contact was lost with flight QZ8501 40 minutes into the flight, and it crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo, killing all 162 people on board. Initial investigations cited stormy weather as a major factor in the crash.
Flight QZ8501 had experienced pilots
AirAsia flight QZ8501 was piloted by experienced pilots- Captain Iriyanto was a veteran with 20,537 hours of flying time, while his co-pilot Remi Manuel Plesel had 2,275 hours of flight experience.
The 162 people on board
AirAsia flight QZ8501 to Singapore was carrying 155 passengers and 7 crew members consisting of 2 pilots, 4 flight attendants and 1 engineer. The 155 passengers included 17 children and 1 infant, nearly all of whom were Indonesians. One of the pilots was French, and there were also a South Korean family of three, a Briton, a Singaporean and a Malaysian onboard.
Over 50 bodies unaccounted for
Wreckage and bodies were discovered 16 kilometeres from AirAsia flight QZ8501's last known location. A total of 106 bodies were eventually found over the course of the search, and the rest are still unaccounted for.
The search effort
The first debris from the crash were discovered three days after search operations commenced, helping officials to narrow down the search area to 1,575 nautical square-miles of the Java Sea. After deploying a "pinger locator" to look for the plane's beacon, the flight's data recorder was recovered on 12 January 2015. This was followed by the discovery of the cockpit recorder on 13 January.
What is a blackbox?
Civilian aircraft carry 2 "black boxes" - the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Both, protected by steel casing, weigh 7kgs, and are designed to withstand tremendous trauma and water pressures in depths up to 20,000ft.
Technical fault had occurred 23 times
Flight QZ8501's faulty rudder control system which led to its untimely demise was not new. The fault had occurred 23 times in 2014, and resetting the computer system was one of the methods used to counteract it.