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Indonesian Transport Minister Sites Rapid Ascent as Possible Cause of QZ8501 Crash

By Juliet Van Wagenen | January 20, 2015
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AirAsia Flight QZ8501 flight path. Photo: Wikimedia

[Avionics Today 01-20-2015] Indonesia’s transport minister, Ignasius Jonan, stated that AirAsia flight QZ8501 climbed at an abnormally fast rate before disappearing from radar, AP reports. While most commercial flights climb 1,000 to 2,000 feet per minute, Ignasius said that radar data revealed the doomed flight was climbing at a rate of about 6,000 feet per minute. The Airbus 320 then took a steep dive toward the sea and lost contact with Jakarta Air Traffic Control in the morning of Dec. 28. The quick climb could have caused the plane to enter an aerodynamic stall, similar with what happened with Air France flight 447 in 2009.

Search and rescue operations have thus far recovered the plane’s Flight Data Recorder (FDR), the fuselage and main wreckage site as well as the remains of 53 of the 162 passengers and crew on board. Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee is currently in the processes of downloading and transcribing the cockpit voice recorder. While Nurcahyo Utomo, a commissioner with the National Transportation Safety Committee, stresses it is too early to come to conclusions about the cause of the fatal crash, he does rule out the possibility of terrorism, citing that no voices aside from the pilot and co-pilot’s can be heard in the cockpit.

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