Faulty equipment and mis-communication an isolated case?

It is worrying that air crash investigators of Air Asia Indonesia QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore three days after last Christmas which attributed to ‘faulty equipment’ and ‘miscommunication between both technical crew in the flight deck’ was an isolated case and not a reoccurring situation.

BBC.com story:

AirAsia crash: Faulty part ‘major factor’

A section of AirAsia flight QZ8501's tail is loaded onto a boat for transportation to Jakarta from Kumai Port, where it had been stored since it was recovered last month, near Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan 7 February 2015 in this file photo taken by Antara

A section of AirAsia flight QZ8501’s tail is loaded onto a boat for transportation to Jakarta from Kumai Port, where it had been stored since it was recovered last month, near Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan 7 February 2015 in this file photo taken by Antara

18 minutes ago
From the section Asia
Faulty equipment was a “major factor” in the AirAsia plane crash last December that killed all 162 people on board, Indonesian officials say.
The plane’s rudder control system malfunctioned four times during the flight, officials said in a report.
The crew’s response to the fault also contributed to the disaster, the report added.
The Airbus A320-200, travelling from Surabaya to Singapore, crashed into the Java Sea on 28 December 2014.
Investigators had initially indicated that stormy weather was a major factor in the crash – however, they now say that this was not a cause of the crash.
The new report from the National Transport Safety Committee, released after a year-long investigation, found that the soldering on a tiny electronic part in the system that controlled the rudder was cracked, causing it to send four warning signals to the pilots.
The crew tried to fix the problem by resetting the computer system, but this disabled the autopilot. They then lost control of the plane.
The plane then entered “a prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the flight crew to recover”, the report said.
Maintenance crews were aware of the problem as it had occurred 23 times in the past year, and resetting the system was one of several methods used previously to address it, the report added.

The report also said that:
Inadequacies in the maintenance system led to “unresolved repetitive faults occurring with shorter intervals”
There appeared to be miscommunication between the pilot and co-pilot – at one point, the pilot commanded “pull down” but the plane was ascending
At another point, the two men appeared to be pushing their controls in opposite directions.
The report does not apportion blame or liability, but is intended to help the industry avoid future accidents.
Eka Santoso, who lost several family members in the crash, told AFP news agency: “AirAsia must find the people who were responsible for this problem [with the faulty component].”
Those who failed to fix the fault should be prosecuted, he added. “It has been proven there was a weakness.”
Caskets containing the remains of AirAsia QZ8501 passengers recovered from the sea are carried to a military transport plane before being transported to Surabaya, where the flight originated, at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan in this 2 January 2015 file photoImage copyrightReuters

Only 106 bodies have been retrieved
Malaysia-based AirAsia’s Chief Executive Tony Fernandes thanked investigators on Twitter and added that “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.”
Since the crash, AirAsia had carried out 51 measures to improve safety standards, the report said.
Meanwhile, an Airbus spokesman said: “Airbus has just received the final accident report. We are now carefully studying its content. With safety being top priority Airbus is fully committed to push the safety track record of our industry even further.”
Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, BBC News, Singapore
Families of the 162 people on board AirAsia flight QZ8501 have been waiting anxiously for the results of this investigation.
Indonesian investigators did not release their preliminary findings earlier this year, saying they were under no legal obligation to do so.
Covering the crash at the time, the working theory was that pilot error must have been a major contributor, or that bad weather was a factor.
But this report shows that it was actually the response of the crew to a chronically faulty component on the plane that caused the plane to crash and that bad weather had nothing to do with it.
AirAsia will now have many questions to answer about why the aircraft was not better maintained and why its pilots were not better prepared to handle these problems.
Read more: Who were the victims of the AirAsia crash?
The plane’s wreckage was found days after the crash at the bottom of the Java Sea near Borneo.
Most of the passengers were Indonesian, and others on board included a French citizen, a Singaporean, a Malaysian, a Briton, and three South Koreans.
Only 106 bodies have been retrieved so far.
The crash came at the end of a year of major air disasters, including the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17- both flights operated by Malaysia Airlines.

***********

The air crash investigators also reported that the component controlling the rudder recorded 23 times fault in the past 12 months prior to the accident.

Channel News Asia story:

AirAsia plane crash caused by faulty component, crew action: Probe

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.

POSTED: 01 Dec 2015 15:27 UPDATED: 01 Dec 2015 18:44

JAKARTA: A faulty component and the crew’s inadequate response caused an AirAsia A320 to crash into the Java Sea last year, killing all 162 people on board, an Indonesian report said on Tuesday (Dec 1).

Flight QZ8501 plunged into the ocean in stormy weather on Dec 28, during what was supposed to be a routine flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

The crash of the Airbus A320-200 triggered a huge international search, with ships and aircraft from several nations involved in a lengthy hunt that was hampered by strong currents and bad weather.

The bodies of 56 of those who died have never been found.

In their final report into the accident released on Tuesday, Indonesia’s official National Transportation Safety Committee said poor maintenance and a fault with the system that helps control the rudder’s movement was a major contributing factor to the crash.

Cracked soldering in the component caused it to malfunction and send repeated warning messages to the pilots, it said. In response, they tried to reset a computer system but in the process turned off the plane’s autopilot, sending it into a sharp roll from which they were unable to recover.

“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 said.

Investigators said there was miscommunication between the pilots as the plane plunged towards the sea, with the men at one point pushing their control sticks in opposite directions.

Investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said that AirAsia pilots flying Airbus aircraft had not received adequate training for when their planes became severely destabilised, as it was not recommended by the manufacturer.

Up to the time of the crash, Airbus was indicating in its training manual that it was not necessary for pilots to be trained in the recovery of aircraft in an ‘upset condition’, which is when a plane loses control and is in a dangerous position.

Airbus said this was because it never anticipated that one of its planes would ever be in such a position. NTSC said the aircraft went into an ‘upset condition’ during its flight after encountering a failure in its rudder travel limiter system four times.

The report said the faulty component, the Rudder Travel Limiter, had suffered 23 problems in the past 12 months, citing maintenance records. “The investigation found some inadequacy in the maintenance system, leading to the unresolved, repeated problem” with the rudder system, said Utomo.

Before crashing, the plane climbed fast and went into an aerodynamic stall, losing lift. The French co-pilot, Remi Plesel, was at the controls in the moments before the crash, rather than the more experienced pilot.

Following the accident, AirAsia Indonesia performed 51 safety actions in order to prevent similar future incidents. These included training its pilots on how to recover an aircraft from an ‘upset condition.’

‘FIND THOSE RESPONSIBLE’

Family members of those killed in the accident had been waiting anxiously for the report, and Eka Santoso – whose brother, sister-in-law and their two children died in the crash – urged AirAsia to take action following its recommendations.

“AirAsia must find the people who were responsible for this problem,” he told AFP, referring to the faulty competent, and adding those who failed to fix it should be prosecuted. “It has been proven there was a weakness.”

The crash was the first major setback for Malaysia-based AirAsia, which has enjoyed a spectacular 13-year run of success, and the group’s flamboyant boss Tony Fernandes thanked the transport committee for their work.

“These are scars that are left on me forever but I remain committed to make AirAsia the very best,” he said.

An Airbus spokesman said the company was studying the report.

Rescuers faced difficulties in the choppy waters of the Java Sea, but the main body of the plane was eventually located on the seabed by a Singapore navy ship and both black box data recorders were recovered.

Search efforts were finally called off in March after almost three months.

The crash was one of several aviation disasters in the sprawling archipelago in the past year.

In August, a turbo-prop plane operated by Indonesian domestic carrier Trigana crashed in the remote eastern region of Papua during a short flight in bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.

And in June an Indonesian military plane went down into a residential neighbourhood in the city of Medan, exploding in a fireball and killing 142 people.

Indonesian airlines are expanding rapidly after years of strong economic growth and the emergence of a new middle class, but carriers are struggling to find enough well-trained personnel to keep up with the boom, experts say.

*************

It is important for the CEO of the Air Asia Group Tony Fernandes to assure the public especially those who frequent services on the region’s most successful low cost carrier that the attributes of the crash is something extraordinary.

It the past, Air Asia have been talked about on ‘questionable operating procedures’. This include the various mishaps during landing.

The Independent story:

Another AirAsia plane overshoots runway on landing in Philippines as concerned passengers say they are ‘following the QZ8501 news’

The flight to Kalibo was, like QZ8501, already delayed by bad weather
Adam Withnall @adamwithnall Tuesday 30 December 20140 comments

An AirAsia plane has overshot the runway on landing in the Philippines, forcing passengers to evacuate the aircraft on emergency slides, it has been reported.

Those on board the domestic Flight Z2 272 from Manila to Kalibo had already endured an anxious wait as bad weather caused two-hour delays, according to a journalist travelling on the plane.

The incident comes just days after AirAsia flight QZ8501disappeared during a storm while on route from Surabaya to Singapore. Search teams on Tuesday recovered at least 40 bodies from the sea near where the plane was lost.

Rappler’s Jet Damazo-Santos reported that today’s short flight to Kalibo airport came down with “a hard, abrupt landing” followed by “a very abrupt stop”.

Emergency services were waiting on the grass at the end of the runway, she said, and elderly passengers received medical attention in the wake of the evacuation.

Prior to this week, AirAsia had an excellent safety record, with none of its planes having ever been involved in a fatal incident.

*********

Three low cost carriers under the AirAsia Group have been listed by The Daily Mail for ‘questionable  \\safety standards’.  AirAsia Indonesia was quick to announce their rectification for the low cost carrier.

Reuters story:

AirAsia Indonesia says upgrades training, enhances safety after crash

Reuters
1 hour ago

JAKARTA (Reuters) – AirAsia Indonesia said on Tuesday the firm has upgraded pilot training and enhanced safety standards following the crash of its plane last year, killing all 162 onboard.

Earlier on Tuesday, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) released the first public report on the disaster of the Airbus A320 that crashed into the Java Sea on Dec. 28.

“KNKT’s final report on QZ8501 highlights that a combination of several factors contributed to the tragedy,” AirAsia Indonesia said in a statement.

“There are many lessons to be learned for the entire aviation industry.”

(Reporting by Fergus Jensen; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

**************

However, AirAsia in Malaysia is the biggest within the Group.

The issue here is not merely rectification, as per announced by AirAsia Indonesia. How would the Group ensure that the factors in this QZ8501 deadly air crash and other mishaps, do not reoccur.

It would cost the Group a lot of money. The heavily debt-burdened Group would be expected to be affected, if stricter technical audits are carried out. Then again, it is only money versus the risk.

*Updated Wednesday 2 December 2015, Noon.

It seems that AirAsia dominoes of bad luck has started to topple the rippling effect. The low cost carrier now has been ‘plagued’ with pilots’ influenza, which left tens of thousand of passengers fuming mad.

NST story:

Flight delays, cancellations left AirAsia passengers fuming

BY NST TEAM – 2 DECEMBER 2015 @ 11:17 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget carrier AirAsia was hit by multiple flight delays and cancellations on Monday and yesterday after 13 of its pilots were allegedly grounded by flu.

The havoc caused to flight scheduling left hundreds of passengers fuming as many were forced to endure multiple lengthy delays and cancellations.

Some had no choice but to spend the night on airport floors. The delays affected not only local flights but also to and from international destinations, including flights from Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport. Passengers on flight AK6130 bound for Kota Baru from klia2, scheduled for 7.05pm on Monday, were initially told their flight was delayed, then moved to another flight, which was cancelled.

A reader, who contacted the New Straits Times, said the passengers were given food packs at 11.30pm shortly after being told their flight was cancelled due to technical requirements by AirAsia ground staff.

Another reader confirmed that a flight from klia2 to Penang on the same day was also cancelled, with some passengers left to sleep on the airport floor as accommodation was not provided. AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes confirmed in a text message that the problem was due to a number of the airline’s pilots being down with flu.

“There was a flu epidemic in AirAsia and 12 captains were sick. So, no choice,” he said. Efforts to contact AirAsia chief executive officer Aireen Omar for more details proved futile, but the airline’s corporate communications department later confirmed that by yesterday evening the number of their pilots struck by flu was 13.

“We do not have the official data yet, but several flights were delayed or cancelled. “As of now, 13 of our pilots are down with flu,” a spokesman said. Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said they had not received any official complaints, but the matter seemed like an operational issue which would usually not involve his department.

“This is an issue which AirAsia will have to solve,” said Azharuddin.

Reports by: Arnaz M. Khairul, Hani Shamira Shahrudin, Tasnim Lokman And Hashini Kavishtri Kannan

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/115017/flight-delays-cancellations-left-airasia-passengers-fuming

***********

Maybe the Executives of AirAsia now have to take up ‘Flu Insurance’ and draw up a ‘Influenza Crisis Plan’. of course it would add up to the annual operation and eventually passed down to the passengers.

No fancy marketing strategy and tactical plan could deal with ‘Flu Risk’.

Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 19:59  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. The fault had occurred 23 times over 12 months or almost twic a month over the past year.

    The aircraft should have been grounded and the cause indetified and rectified before the aircraft was cleared to fly again.

    Blaming the crew for not knowing how to handles such situations is a despicable, cowardly act.

    Expect Air Asia Indonesia to be sued blue and black.


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