QZ8501: Out of control

first_imgEvidence is mounting that AirAsia flight QZ8501 encountered a freak weather event that sent it on a terrifying ride before it plummeted into the ocean.Radar play back of the plane’s flight path leaked by Indonesian authorities show it climbing at 9000ft a minute and then being slammed into a dive at 11,000ft a minute with bursts of up to 24,000ft a minute. But the plane’s forward speed was barely 100km/ hour.Earlier this week AirlineRatings.com broke the news that the plane was well above its assigned altitude and at a forward speed less than required to sustain flight.Controllers lost contact with the A320 just four minutes after its crew requested a deviation of their route to avoid storms.An A320 check captain told AirlineRatings.com that the leaked data was an accurate representation of Flt QZ8501. “If these figures are correct, QZ8501 was in a stall almost exactly equal to the parameters recorded on AF447,” he said. “The aircraft was out of control. It’s scary how similar to AF447 it looks.”Air France 447 was lost in the mid Atlantic in 2009. The French investigator found that the A330 crashed after inconsistencies between the airspeed measurements – due most likely to the A330’s pitot tubes being obstructed by ice – caused the autopilot to disconnect.It concluded that the crew reacted incorrectly and ultimately led the A330 to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover.AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said that preliminary investigations suggest that the A320 encountered “very unique weather.”The Airbus A320 was flying between Surabaya and Singapore with 162 passengers and crew on Sunday when it disappeared off radar in 42 minutes into the flight. Indonesia navy divers have been searching the ocean floor for any sign of QZ8501 but bad weather hampered those efforts.And the outlook is getting worse with winds of up to 32km/hour whipping up 2 to 3 metre seas with white caps forecast over the next four days making spotting and recovery of debris difficult.On Wednesday an Indonesian official told CNN that a Navy ship using sonar diction equipment had found the plane but later Mr Fernandes discounted that claim.Separately French and Singaporean crash investigators have arrived to help in the recovery of the plane’s black boxes. Those investigators are using sensors to try and pick up a signal from the A320s emergency locator transmitter.A new passenger list released by the Indonesian Transport Ministry has revealed that 23 passengers, including two families, missed the flight – some due to a mix-up on the departure time.The original bookings for the flight totalled 177 made up of 157 adults, 20 children and four infants. Actual uplift was 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant.The crew were made up of two pilots, one engineer and four flight attendants.last_img

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