AirAsia QZ8501: Plane’s climbing rate “to fast”

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 21, 2015

Indonesia’s Transport Minister has revealed that the climbing rate of AirAsia QZ8501 was abnormally high for a commercial jet, suggesting that faulty instruments could have been one of the causes that led to the plane crashing into the Java Sea on December 28th on-route from Surabaya to Singapore.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing in the capital Jakarta yesterday, Ignasius Jonan said that data recorders, recovered from the ocean on January 13th, showed that the Airbus A320-200 climbed at a rate of  6 000 feet per minute (1 800 meters) before stalling and eventually falling into the ocean, killing all 162 passengers and crew on-board.

“The plane, during the last minutes, went up faster than normal speed ... after then, it stalled,” he told the House of Representatives Commission.

“The average speed of a commercial aircraft is probably between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (300-600 meters) per minute because the aircraft is not designed to soar so fast. I think it is rare even for a fighter jet to be able to climb 6,000 feet per minute”.

According to Reuters, the data recorders also revealed that the plane topped out at 37 600 feet (11 460 m), having been flying at 32 000 feat (9 700 m), before starting a rapid decent, falling 1 500 feet (457 m) within six second then accelerating to 7 900 feet (2 400 m), eventually disappearing from radar after going below 24 000 feat (7 300 m).

Shortly before disappearing, permission was requested from air traffic control to deviate from the plane’s scheduled route, and climb to 38 000 feet (11 500 m) in an attempt to avoid storm clouds, believed to be the main reason for the crash. Investigators have also determined that planes travelling in the same area at the time, were flying at altitudes of up to 39 000 feat (11 900 m).

 

CAPTION: An AirAsia Airbus A320-200, similar to flight QZ8501, pictured at Indonesia's Achmad Yani International Airport in 2012. IMAGE sourced from www.planespotters.net