Mar 222015
 

 

AirAsia Underwater Crash 3

Photo Credit: Facebook, Singaporean search robot photo of downed Airbus A320-200, formerly flown as AirAsia flight 8501 on Sunday, December 28, 2014, resting on the seabed of the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia.

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, via Reuters/AFP

Indonesia has suspended any further attempts by its military in the recovery effort for the remaining 86 victims missing believed to be still inside the submerged AirAsia flight 8501 Airbus A320-200 airliner.

Government officials also halted efforts from their armed forces to raise the fuselage from the Java Sea after encountering continuously poor weather conditions to complete the submerged airliner recovery.

This revelation comes after four days of failed attempts by the multinational deep sea recovery teams to bring AirAsia flight 8501's submerged Airbus A320-200 fuselage and cockpit wreckage to the surface of the Java Sea.

Deep seabed currents, surface waves as high as 16 feet, and poor visibility hampered divers in their quest to balloon lift the fuselage and what appears to be the plane's cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 30 meters (100 feet).

Experts are concerned that if the Airbus A320-200 fuselage and cockpit wreckage are left on the seafloor, the investigation into the crash could be compromised by the lack of physical evidence from the actual airliner to learn about how to avoid such crashes in the future.

Military spokesman Fuad Basya said to French news service, AFP reporters that the plane's body was "destroyed."

"It was soaked in seawater for a while so when we lifted it, it was torn apart," he said. "We can no longer find any more bodies."

Expert divers say that the deep sea savage and recovery of Air Asia 8501 fuselage wreckage and remaining victims believe trapped inside the Java Sea could take several weeks even up to months to fully complete, due to the current murky waters on the seabed.

Rear Admiral Widodo, head of Indonesia's Navy western fleet, said: "The operation has been ongoing for 30 days so the joint team has been pulled out."

"We apologize to the families of the victims. We tried our best to look for the missing victims."

There are new reports emerging that the Indonesian military divers may allegedly be coming down with the Bendz (a decompression sickness as a result of build up of carbon dioxide gas in the blood stream), and they are being supposedly placed inside recompression chambers in hospitals in Jakarta. This may allegedly be the immediate cause for the sudden Indonesian military pull out of the AirAsia flight 8501 Airbus A320-200 recovery effort.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said it may press on with the search for the remaining 86 victims missing.

But the agency's efforts will be hampered by the loss of the military's large vessels and heavy recovery equipment.

Yahoo! News confirms: "Some divers were suffering from decompression sickness, which typically affects those who have ascended too quickly from great depth, or have not taken long enough breaks between dives," the agency said.

Tatang Zaenuddin, the National Search and Rescue Agency's deputy of operations, told Reuters: "Perhaps we will do regular operations with help from fishermen and communities near the coast to find other victims."

"We will continue to try fulfill the hopes of the victims' relatives, but the operation will not be a large-scale one," said Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency.

"They could be on the seabed, or have been swept away by waves and currents," SB Supriyadi, a search and rescue agency official who has been coordinating the hunt, told AFP.

While Mr. Supriyadi suggested it would be tough to find any more victims, agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said he was "optimistic."

"Within one week we will evaluate [our search] depending on the result," Mr. Soelistyo told reporters.

"If we can find one or two more bodies, that means we have the opportunity to prolong the operation."

"The search operation will continue. I repeat, the search and rescue operation is still on," Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the rescue agency, known as BASARNAS, told reporters Wednesday morning, according to NBC News.

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Here's a brief synopsis of where the AirAsia flight 8501 search and recovery now stands:

  • Indonesia military suspended their search and recovery effort, claiming they are unable to raise the submerged Airbus A320-200 wreckage from the seabed.
  • Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) will continue looking for the remaining 86 victims missing.
  • Preliminary AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash report, a required formality by the International Civil Aviation Organization within 30 days of the December 28 crash, expected to be released on Wednesday, January 27, 2015 will not be made public with any substantial information surrounding what is on the Airbus A320-200 cockpit voice recordings and flight data recorders at this point.
  • Indonesia officials are promising a final AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash report in under a year, which would allegedly contain some substantive findings from the Airbus A320-200 cockpit voice recordings and flight data recorders.
  • A final report on the complete crash investigation of the Airbus A320-200 airliner, operating as AirAsia flight 8501 on Sunday, December 28, 2014, is expected in early 2016. This final document, however, is expected not to feature the complete transcript of the cockpit voice recording, The Independent (U.K.) via Reuters reports.
  • "In Indonesia it remains undisclosed," NTSC chief Tatang Kurniadi told Reuters, "Just some important highlights will be included in the report, but it will not be made public, adding that a full analysis of what went wrong with the plane could take up to a year."
  • Indonesia's NTSC and AirAsia management team currently speculate the Airbus A320-200 fuselage wreckage allegedly is not needed for further investigation, opting instead to focus their investigation on the airliner's cockpit voice recordings and flight data records, which are still currently being analyzed by the NTSC investigators and advisers from Airbus manufacturing firm.

The submerged Airbus A320-200, flown as AirAsia QZ8501, crashed into the Java Sea early Sunday morning on December 28, killing all 162 passengers and AirAsia crew on board, of which only 76 victims have been recovered so far. The doomed airliner, while cruising along the flight path shown in the map above en route from Surabaya to Singapore, lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control, four minutes after the flight crew received permission to climb from 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) to evade monsoon-like heavy thunderstorms, according to Indonesia officials.

Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely revealed from the flight deck conversations and flight performance data and information gained from AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 black-boxes recovered from inside the Java Sea. Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Now is the Time for Consensus on Recommendations on the Future of International Aviation Safety and Security

In a single year of 2014, we have lost the lives of 699 international passengers and flight crews on three compelling global aviation crash events, comprising the oceanic loss of a Boeing 777-200ER airliner, flown as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, 2014, the shooting down over a war-torn eastern Ukraine region of a Boeing 777-200 airliner, performing as Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, and a crash in the Java Sea of an Airbus A320-200 airliner, operating as AirAsia flight QZ8501 on December 28, 2014.

Given that international commercial passenger air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia, which is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region, consensus on recommendations of global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders, must be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "Second High-level Safety Conference" on February 2-5, 2015 at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

Air Asia 2

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Saturday, January 24, 2015, via The Independent (U.K.), The New York Times, and on Monday, January 26, 2015, via CNN International

Deep seabed currents, surface waves as high as 16 feet, and poor visibility hamper divers in their continued quest to balloon lift the fuselage and what appears to be the plane's cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 30 meters (100 feet).

Expert divers says that the deep sea savage and recovery of Air Asia 8501 fuselage wreckage and remaining victims believe trapped inside the Java Sea could take several weeks even up to months to fully complete, due to the current murky waters on the seabed.

This week several attempts were made to bring the Airbus A320-200 fuselage wreckage, estimated to be at least 10 meters (33 feet) long, up from the bottom of the Java Sea. However, both attempts failed after balloon lines being used to hoist fragile fuselage broke, according to Indonesian authorities.

According to CNN International, "on Saturday, January 24 sharp parts of debris sliced through a strap. On Sunday, January 25 a wire rope snapped after the fuselage had reached the surface of the water."

"The military divers were hoping to avoid similar problems Monday, January 26 by using twice as much rope as the day before," said Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of operations and training for Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency. "They were also putting the inflatable bags being used to lift the wreckage inside the fuselage," he said.

"But the deteriorating weather conditions halted the efforts," Supriyadi said later Monday, January 26.

Like they previously did with the Airbus A320-200  tail section wreckage, investigators are attempting to balloon float the fuselage wreckage to the surface and then hoist it onto a recovery ship.

According to several reports, including CNN and The New York Times, 70 bodies have been recovered, leaving 92 victims still missing from AirAsia Flight 8501, which plunged into the Java Sea with 162 people, while en route from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore. Early morning December 28, 2014, AirAsia flight 8501 pilots asked to climb from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid threatening clouds and were denied permission by air traffic control, because of heavy air traffic. Unfortunately, no distress signal was received, as the airliner crashed into the Java Sea. Officials believed the remaining victims are still submerged inside the main fuselage wreckage of the Airbus A320-200.

Rear Admiral Widodo, commander of the Indonesian Navy’s western fleet, told journalists aboard the naval ship Banda Aceh, which is involved in the search operations off the southern coast of Borneo Island, said that six bodies, two women and four men, were recovered Thursday, January 22, 2015 some of which were not intact, The New York Times reports.

“There are many bodies in the fuselage,” he said, declining to give an estimate.

The voice cockpit recorder picked up warning sirens during the flight’s final minutes, Reuters has reported. According to AFP, unconfirmed reports from Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) crash investigators have suggested this week that the flight deck voice recordings allegedly revealed "a number of warning sirens were "screaming" at the time the pilots were trying to "recover" and stabilize the plane, including a siren that indicated the aircraft was stalling," as the pilots' voices were drowned out by the sound of the alarms, which were going off "for some time."

Earlier this week on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, NTSC chief Tatang Kurniadi told Reuters, that investigators have ruled out sabotage, upon their analysis of the Airbus A320-200 cockpit voice and flight data recorders with advisers from Airbus, the airliner's manufacturer.

Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told Parliament earlier this week that ground radar data showed that the plane was climbing at an abnormally high rate - about 6,000 feet a minute - then dropped rapidly and disappeared. He did not say what caused the plane to climb so rapidly.

According to CNN International, "A fighter jet like the F/A-18 Super Hornet can climb as fast as 30,000 feet per minute. But commercial jets are designed to ascend at a much slower rate."

The transport minister was somewhat speculating that airliners flying inside black cells of highly turbulent monsoon storms could allegedly encounter a sudden up draft causing abnormally high air angles of attack on the wings, inducing near stall conditions of the airplane before the flight computers can recover quickly or the pilots could rapidly stabilize the airliner, allegedly speaking.

NTSC chief Tatang Kurniadi told reporters this week, "if one wing engine had stalled, the plane could spin out of control as it plummeted toward the water."

However, he said that "only the data from the black boxes would ultimately determine what happened to flight 8501, and he declined to say whether the plane had in fact stalled."

Mr. Tatang said the comments made by Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to Parliament earlier this week "were based not on data from the black boxes, but on the ground radar."

An excessively rapid ascent is likely to cause an airplane to go into an aerodynamic stall. In 2009, an Air France Airbus A330-200 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean in bad weather, while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators determined from the jet's black boxes that it began a steep climb and then went into a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover, The Independent (U.K.) reports.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said that it was too early to comment on possible similarities between the two crashes.

A preliminary report on the AirAsia accident is expected to be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization by Wednesday of next week, in line with a requirement that it be filed within 30 days of a crash, NTSC chief Kurniadi said, "but it will not be made public, adding that a full analysis of what went wrong with the plane could take up to a year."

AirAsia (1)

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Monday, January 19, 2015, via The Independent (U.K.) via Reuters.

Reporters questioned on Monday if there was any evidence from the cockpit voice recordings indicating terrorism was a cause of the Sunday, December 28, 2014 crash of AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner into the Java Sea, killing all 162 passengers and AirAsia crew on board, according to widespread media reports.

Andreas Hananto, a lead investigator of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), said: "No. Because if there were terrorism, there would have been a threat of some kind."

"In that critical situation, the recording indicates that the pilot was busy with the handling of the plane."

"We didn't hear any voice of other persons other than the pilots," said NTSC investigator, Nurcahyo Utomo. "We didn't hear any sounds of gunfire or explosions. For the time being, based on that, we can eliminate the possibility of terrorism."

Earlier official statements by the National Search and Rescue Agency last week have speculated that AirAsia 8501 allegedly exploded upon impact with the surface of the Java Sea. This was initially theorized to explain how the Airbus A320-200 fuselage, wings, and tail section wreckage broke apart, and how the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder separated from the tail section of the airliner that delayed the recovery of the devices by divers scouring the seabed of the Java Sea last week.

NTSC investigator Hananto suggested Monday that such a catastrophic explosive event can not be concluded, as detailed examination of the cockpit voice recordings do not so far present any kind of  evidence suggesting such an explosion before the Airbus A320-200 airliner crashed.

"From the (flight data recordings) so far, it's unlikely there was an explosion," Hananto said. "If there was, we would definitely know, because certain parameters would show it. There are something like 1,200 parameters."

"The final minutes of the AirAsia flight were full of "sounds of machines and sounds of warnings" that must be filtered out to get a complete transcript of what was said in the cockpit," Hananto told Reuters.

"Investigators said they had listened to the whole of the recording, but transcribed only about half," The Independent (U.K.) reports via Reuters.

Notwithstanding, investigators anticipate releasing a preliminary report on the AirAsia 8501 crash investigation early next week.

A final report on the complete crash investigation of the Airbus A320-200 airliner, operating as AirAsia flight 8501 on Sunday, December 28, 2014, is expected in early 2016. This final document, however, is expected not to feature the complete transcript of the cockpit voice recording, The Independent (U.K.) via Reuters reports.

"In Indonesia it remains undisclosed," NTSC chief Tatang Kurniadi told Reuters, "Just some important highlights will be included in the report."

Read more at The Independent (U.K.) via Reuters.

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UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Saturday, January 17, 2015, via The Wall Street Journal

Indonesian search and recovery officials said they are making plans with the Indonesian armed forces to bring to the surface the 85-foot piece of the AirAsia 8501 Airbus A320-200 fuselage and wing wreckage from the seafloor of the Java Sea, now resting at a depth of about 105 feet (shown above and below). Strong seafloor currents and poor visibility around the seabed has stalled the wreckage recovery and search for the remaining 111 missing passenger and crew victims.

Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said "strong seabed currents and poor visibility prevented divers from entering the plane’s main section and it remains unclear whether there are any bodies of victims inside."

“Please be patient and understand that with the conditions in the water it’s really difficult,” he told reporters on Friday.

Reports the Wall Street Journal, "one more body has been found," Soelistyo said, raising the number of AirAsia flight 8501 passenger and crew victim remains recovered to 51.

Indonesian search and recovery chief Soelistyo said "searchers have identified suspected pieces of the plane in nine locations, including what are believed to be the plane’s cockpit and at least one engine."

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, via CNN, BBC News, and Time.

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency announced Wednesday that they have located the fuselage and wing of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, resting on the seabed of the Java Sea. Crash investigators believe many of the missing 114 passenger and crew victims remains are inside the Airbus A320-200 fuselage wreckage.

According to BBC News and Time: "Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen posted pictures taken by a Singaporean search robot on his Facebook page."

Photo Credit: Facebook, Singaporean search robot photo of downed Airbus A320-200, formerly flown as AirAsia flight 8501 on Sunday, December 28, 2014, resting on the seabed of the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia.

He said "the words painted on the side of the wreckage confirmed the plane was flight QZ8501."

"The MV Swift Rescue has located the fuselage of the AirAsia plane in the Java Sea, two kilometers away from the tail. Mr Ng said on Facebook, "Singapore had informed the Indonesian search and rescue agency so that recovery operations could begin."

He said images taken by a remotely operated vehicle, which he posted as well, showed part of the wing and words on the fuselage that matched with those on the AirAsia flight, BBC News reports.

The AirAsia slogan "Now everyone can fly" could be seen on the wreckage in the pictures.

Read more on BBC NewsCNN, and Time.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, via USA Today and Fox NewsPhoto Credit: AirAsia, Asia Pacific Airline of the Year 2003

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Divers have retrieved the cockpit voice recorder wedged under heavy pieces of wreckage of AirAsia flight 8501, the second of two so-called "black boxes" that are likely to provide crucial evidence of why the Airbus A320 crashed in the Java Sea with 162 people on board early Sunday morning on December 28, 2014.

"The recorder was freed early Tuesday from underneath the remains of one of the plane's wings at a depth of about 98 feet, a day after the aircraft's flight data recorder was recovered," said Tonny Budiono, sea navigation director at Indonesia's Transportation Ministry.

"Thank God," he said. "This is good news for investigators to reveal the cause of the plane crash."

air asia black box

Photo Credit: The Associated Press/Adek Berry, Pool. "Indonesian divers hold the Flight Data Recorder of AirAsia Flight 8501 on board the navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh."

The cockpit voice recorder will be flown to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, to be downloaded and analyzed with the flight data recorder recovered on Monday. The cockpit voice recorder tapes in a two-hour loop the conversations between the captain, co-pilot, and Indonesian air traffic control surrounding the doomed AirAsia flight 8501 crashing into the Java Sea on December 28, 2014.

Suryadi Supriyadi, operation coordinator at the national search and rescue agency, said on Monday "initial findings suggest the jet may have exploded on impact with the water after plummeting more than 30,000 feet."

Read more here on Fox News, and USA Today.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Monday, January 12, 2015, via BloombergAFPUSA Today, Huffington PostThe Wall Street Journal, Chicago TribuneBBC News, The Independent (U.K.)Reuters

Numerous media reports have confirmed from an Indonesian Transport Ministry official that divers have located the black-boxes under debris and wreckage of the submerged Airbus A320-200 AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday, December 28. The airliner was en route from Surabaya to Singapore. Suddenly, the flight lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control, four minutes after the flight crew received permission to climb from 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) to evade monsoon-like heavy thunderstorms, according to Indonesia authorities.

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Tonny Budiono, a transportation ministry official, said Sunday evening that a recovery team had identified the coordinates of the location of the black boxes and that it appeared they were trapped in wreckage from the plane. But other officials said the black boxes had not been found."

airasia-black-box

Photo Credits: BBC News, The Independent (U.K.)ReutersWire Service. One of two AirAsia 8501 Flight Data Recorders in a safety case after its recovery upon arrival at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, before being taken to Jakarta. It was found on the Java Sea floor submerged under the wing wreckage of the Airbus A320-200. Divers have located flight deck voice recorders on the seabed about 20 meters away from where the flight data recorder was found under a heavy wing wreckage. This second black box will be hoisted up out of the Java Sea by air balloons on Tuesday morning.

However, one of two flight data recorders has been located early Monday, as divers continue their search with limited visibility shifting through the sea bed debris for the second flight data recorder inside the choppy Java Sea. "The flight data recorder was found under part of the plane's wing and brought to the surface early in the morning (on Monday)," said Fransiskus "Henry" Bambang Soelistyo, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency Chief.

"At 7:11, we succeeded in lifting the part of the black box known as the flight data recorder," Soelistyo told reporters at a news conference.

"The second so-called black box, containing the cockpit voice recorder, is located about 20 meters away from where the flight data recorder was found, but divers have not yet been able to get to it," reports Reuters.

"(The cockpit voice recorder) seems to be under a wing, which is quite heavy," said Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the search and rescue agency. "So we will use air bags to lift it. This will be done tomorrow."

AirAsia Flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner tail section wreckage has been now hoisted up from the bottom of the Java Sea on to ship Crest Onyx, located south of Pangkalan Bun Central Kallmantan, off the cost of Indonesia. The airliner wreckage was spotted by underwater sonar equipment during ongoing international efforts lead by Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency. So far, 48 of the total 162 passenger and AirAsia crew victim's remains have been retrieved.

The Associated Press previously reported, "two large and significant chunks of the aircraft near an oil spill off the island of Borneo, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief said last Saturday local time during a news conference in Jakarta." The discovery occurred on last Friday night in an area near AirAsia Flight 8510's final flight path. Wreckage site is 10 miles from plane's last-known coordinates. The Java Sea at the site where the Airbus A320-200 wreckage has been located is 80 feet to 130 feet (about 40 meters) deep.

The crucial black-boxes are typically held inside the Airbus A320-200 tail section, as crash investigators of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency were hoping to recover the flight data recorders inside the hoisted up tail section on Saturday. However, the black-box devices apparently separated and dislodged from the Airbus A320 tail hull on impact.

"Last night, our divers had opened the door of the tail cabin, searched around but found nothing," Suryadi B. Supriyadi, operational chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told the French news service, AFP, early Saturday.

Indonesian officials now confirmed divers have located the black-boxes under debris and wreckage of the submerged Airbus A320-200 inside the Java Sea. Chicago Tribune reports: "The flight data recorder will be taken to Jakarta, the capital, for analysis. It could take up to two weeks to download its recorded data," said Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at Indonesia's National Committee for Safety Transportation.

airasia-black-box1

Photo Credits: BBC News, The Independent (U.K.)Reuters. One of two AirAsia 8501 Flight Data Recorders in a safety case after its recovery upon arrival at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, before being taken to Jakarta.

Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely gained from AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 black-boxes recovered on Monday from inside the Java Sea. Analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders give crash investigations further insights into the flight deck conversations between the captain and co-pilot moments before the airliner crashed, and fullest array of flight performance data and information (such as the aircraft's vertical and horizontal speeds along with engine temperature determining its real-time power). Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Indonesia has said publicly that it will handle the analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders here - but it is likely that international teams will also be involved. The unfortunate silver lining of having had so many air disasters over the last decade has meant that Indonesian teams are very well equipped to analyse the data recorders and piece together what happened. Aviation analysts expect a preliminary report within a month, and a more detailed report within a year," according to BBC News.

Initial analysis of AirAsia 8501 Airbus A320-200 wreckage recovered on Saturday suggests the aircraft exploded as it crashed into Java Sea.

Supriyadi said to the media gathered in Pangkalan Bun, the base of operations of the international priority search area in the Java Sea, off the coast of Kalimantan and Indonesia, that the plane “exploded because of the pressure”.

“The cabin was pressurised and before the pressure of the cabin could be adjusted, it went down – boom. That explosion was heard in the area,” he said from the search headquarters.

Additional details are forthcoming in this breaking news update.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Sunday, January 11, 2015, via ReutersPhoto Credit: AirAsia, Asia Pacific Airline of the Year 2003

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency teams have detected through sonar scans on Sunday three more signals believe to be emanating from black-boxes supposedly submerged underneath the fuselage hull wreckage of AirAsia flight 8501 in the bottom of the Java Sea, where the Airbus A320-200 airliner crashed two weeks ago, killing 162 people, as now widely reported.

"Authorities have detected strong signals from the aircraft's black-box flight recorders," according to AFP. Military divers at this time are searching with limited deep sea visibility underneath the fuselage wreckage following the pinging signals inside the choppy shallow waters of the Java Sea about 100 feet (about 30 meters) deep.

"The sonar equipment continued to detect more objects, which are suspected to be the plane’s front section and detected pings suspected to be from the plane’s black-box flight recorders near the location where the tail was found. Sea divers, vessels and helicopters were deployed to observe the focused searched area," according to recently released statements of AirAsia on Saturday.

BBC News reports: "Three Indonesian ships had detected signals from two different locations about 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) from where the aircraft's tail was discovered," Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo said.

"The two are close to each other, just about 20 meters [apart],'" Mr Soesilo said. "Hopefully, they are the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder."

"The black boxes are in a crushed part of the aircraft debris, making it very difficult for the team of divers," said Tonny Budiono, a navigation director for the transport ministry.

"Because of time constraints, (we) have decided to retrieve the black boxes tomorrow morning by gradually shifting these layers of aircraft body debris."

Signals have been detected over an area spanning from 1.6 miles to 2.4 miles (about 1 kilometer to 4 kilometers) from the location of the rear of the Airbus A320-200 airliner.

S.B. Supriyadi, operations chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told Reuters in the town of Pangkalan Bun, the base of operations of the international priority search area in the Java Sea, off the coast of Kalimantan and Indonesia, "They suspect it is the body of the plane. There is a big possibility that the black box is near the body of the plane."

BBC map

Photo Credit: BBC News

"A sonar scan had revealed an object measuring 10 meters (33 feet) by 4 meters (13 feet) by 2.5 meters (8 feet) on the sea floor," Supriyadi confirmed to Reuters, "If it is the body of the plane then we will first evacuate the victims." Many of the AirAsia flight 8501 passenger and crew victim remains are believed to be inside the Airbus A320 fuselage. On Saturday, international news reports confirm that 48 have been recovered.

In Surabaya, Indonesia on Saturday, an underwater balloon hoisted up from the bottom of the Java Sea, the submerged tail section of the Airbus A320-200 flown as AirAsia QZ8501 that was downed early Sunday morning on December 28. The doomed airliner, while cruising along the flight path shown in the map above en route from Surabaya to Singapore, lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control, four minutes after the flight crew received permission to climb from 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) to evade monsoon-like heavy thunderstorms, according to Indonesia officials.

Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely revealed from the flight deck conversations and flight performance data and information gained from AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 black-boxes still to be recovered from inside the Java Sea. Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Given that international commercial passenger air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia, which is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Asiatic region, consensus on recommendations of global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders, must be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "Second High-level Safety Conference" on February 2-5, 2015 at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

Read more here via Reuters.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Saturday, January 10, 2015, via Russian News Service, RTCNN and Mashable

In Surabaya, Indonesia on Saturday, excitement was displayed by search and rescue investigators and people observing nearby, when an underwater balloon hoisted up from the bottom of the Java Sea, the submerged tail section of the Airbus A320-200 flown as AirAsia QZ8501 that was downed early Sunday morning on December 28. The doomed airliner lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control, four minutes after the flight crew received permission to climb from 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) to evade monsoon-like heavy thunderstorms, according to Indonesia officials.

air asia tail section, RT News

Photo Credit: Reuters / Prasetyo Utomo . "The tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the Indonesian Search and Rescue (BASARNAS) ship Crest Onyx after it was lifted from the sea bed, south of Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan on Saturday, January 10, 2015," reports the Russian News Service, RT.

"The tail has now been lifted,” said National Search and Rescue Agency operations chief Suryadi B. Supriyadi. “We can confirm it’s from AirAsia QZ8501 and we can see the letter A on the tail. The condition of the tail is still in one whole piece."

AirAsia Flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner tail section wreckage has been now hoisted up from the bottom of the Java Sea on to ship Crest Onyx, located south of Pangkalan Bun Central Kallmantan, off the cost of Indonesia. The airliner wreckage was spotted by underwater sonar equipment during ongoing international efforts lead by Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency. So far, 48 of the total 162 passenger and AirAsia crew victim's remains have been retrieved.

The Associated Press previously reported, "two large and significant chunks of the aircraft near an oil spill off the island of Borneo, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief said last Saturday local time during a news conference in Jakarta." The discovery occurred on last Friday night in an area near AirAsia Flight 8510's final flight path. Wreckage site is 10 miles from plane's last-known coordinates. The Java Sea at the site where the Airbus A320-200 wreckage has been located is 80 feet to 130 feet (about 40 meters) deep.

"Divers tried to find the black box while they were on the seabed, but they couldn’t see it. It might be due to poor visibility which [is] only three feet and also because of strong currents. Now it’s on the ship. So, we’ll try to figure it out whether the box is still on the tail part or has been blown away," Supriyadi said.

The crucial black-boxes are typically held inside the Airbus A320-200 tail section, as crash investigators of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency were hoping to recover the flight data recorders inside the hoisted up tail section, and not separated from the Airbus A320 tail hull, as some Indonesian officials now believe the black-boxes may have dislodged from the tail hull on impact.

"The discovery of the plane's tail earlier this week was a major breakthrough in the slow-moving search that has been hampered by seasonal rains, choppy seas and blinding silt from river runoff. Officials were hopeful the black boxes were still inside," Mashable reports.

The flight deck conversations, airliner flight data, and engine performance information the black-boxes hold is key to the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash investigation into what exactly occurred during the ill-fated flight en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore on December 28 with 162 people on board.

Ping signals detected on Friday remain unclear as to their exact location or source from the black-boxes resting either inside the Airbus A320 tail section or somewhere nearby still on the Java Sea floor inside the underwater slush.

Suryadi B. Supriyadi, operational chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said, "intermittent underwater ping-like sounds were picked up Friday about a kilometer (half mile) from where the tail was located, but it was unclear if they were coming from the cockpit voice and flight data recorders located in the back of the Airbus A320," reports Mashable.

"They might have become buried in mud on the seabed because of the force of the impact," Supriyadi said.

Indonesia's National Commission for Transportation Safety investigator, Nurcahyo Utomo said "the sounds could not be confirmed."

"Last night, our divers had opened the door of the tail cabin, searched around but found nothing," Supriyadi told the French news service, AFP, early Saturday.

Black-box batteries typically send out their ping signals for 30 days, as time is indeed running out with only 13 days left for search and rescue teams to hopefully still detect any future ping signals from the black-boxes, since the AirAsia 8501 airliner crashed into the Java Sea on December 28.

"Caution surrounds the possible pings, because something else could be causing the sound. In the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, several signals raised hopes of locating the missing plane, but proved to be false leads." CNN reports.

“We’re trying to locate the coordinates of the black box from the pings we detected. We’re trying to narrow down the search area to within a 500m (1,600ft) radius. It’s impossible for us to search the black box without trying to narrow down the search area,” Supriyadi said.

According to CNN: "A total of 48 bodies have been recovered so far from the sea, Indonesia's search and rescue agency said Friday."

"The vast majority of the people on AirAsia QZ8501 were Indonesian. There were also citizens of Britain, France, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea," CNN confirms.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Friday, January 9, 2015, via Time and Mashable

Signals have been detected from what is believed to be the black-boxes in the vicinity of the Airbus A320-200 tail section wreckage of the ill-fated AirAsia flight 8501 found Wednesday, resting at a depth of 30 meter (or 100 feet) in the Java Sea, about 30 kilometers (or 20 miles) from the last known contact of the doomed airliner with air-traffic control, Reuters reports.

S.B. Supriyadi, director of operations for Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) in Pangkalan Bun — the Borneo-based center for search operations — told the BBC News and French news service, AFP, "A ship detected the pings. The divers are trying to reach it," he said. "The location of the ping is reported to be near where the tail was found."

Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee, told Reuters, "We have our fingers crossed it is the black-box. Divers need to confirm. Unfortunately it seems it's off from the tail. But the divers need to confirm the position."

Fransiskus "Henry" Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, said to The Associated Press on Wednesday, "Finding the black boxes will be key to the investigation. They provide essential information including the plane's vertical and horizontal speeds along with engine temperature and final conversations between the captain and co-pilot. The ping-emitting beacons still have [less than] 20 days before their batteries go dead, but high surf had prevented the deployment of ships that drag "ping" locators."

Time reports via Reuters on Friday that "a salvage operation involving helicopters and lifting balloons was also launched Friday in a bid to recover the tail section of the jet."

Planning for global aviation safety improvement

On February 2-5, 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be holding its "Second High-level Safety Conference" at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada. Attendees will include experts and strategic decision-makers of international civil aviation, which will convene to "build consensus, obtain commitments and formulate recommendations deemed necessary for the effective and efficient progress of key aviation safety activities," according to the conference's website.

ICAO's Second High-level Safety Conference will include "various topics covering three major themes: reviewing the current situation, the future approach to manage aviation safety and facilitating increased regional cooperation. In particular, the Conference will also be invited to discuss emerging safety issues, including the global tracking of aircraft and risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones."

Citing an anonymous official from ICAO, Reuters reports that ejectable black-boxes will be front and center discussions among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials at the ICAO safety conference on international commercial passenger aviation travel safety and security in February.

“The time has come that deployable recorders are going to get a serious look,” the unnamed ICAO official told Reuters.

Ejectable data recorders used on military aircraft and helicopters, alongside real-time black-box data streaming technologies are costly to adopt for large commercial passenger airlines. However, as advances are made with cloud streaming, efficient management of big data, and powerful wireless communication device technologies, such cost concerns held by the world's hundreds of airlines will quickly erode in the future.

Given that international air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia, which is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Asiatic region, consensus on recommendations of global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders, must be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials at the ICAO safety conference on international commercial passenger aviation travel safety and security in February.

Hopefully, once again, 'black-boxes' of AirAsia QZ8105's Airbus A320-200 and still missing MH370's Boeing 777-200ER will be recovered. Indeed, each of these costly deep sea recoveries will be international breaking news. Just as much as recovery of the 'black-boxes' of 2009's Airbus A330-200 loss of AF447 was back in 2011, as shown in the photo below.

Photo Credit: MEHDI FEDOUACH, AFP/Getty Images. The flight data recorders from Air France flight AF447 lost in the mid-Atlantic Ocean is displayed in front of journalists during a press conference in 2011.

Once more, it's time to put the 'black-box' in 'the cloud.' That way we can find out what occurred during the course of the doomed AirAsia flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner's and Malaysia Airlines flight MH370's and flight MH17's Boeing 777 airliner's final few minutes right now, and not after months even years of searching for aircraft crash investigation answers at the bottom of the world's remote oceans and seas or over war-torn conflict regions of the world.

A synopsis of what occurred during the course of the doomed Air France flight AF447's Airbus A330-200 airliner's final few minutes is here.

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Global Flight Tracking Recommendations Now Essential in Searching for Missing Airliners Over Remote Oceanic Regions.

Widely-available now is the 219-page final report by France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA), published in July 2012, "On the accident on 1st June 2009 to the Airbus A330-203, registered F-GZCP, operated by Air France flight AF447 en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France."

The extensive report also proposed changes to the way 'black-boxes', or flight data recorders, work on aircraft that operate over water. Calls for extending from 30 to 90 days the life of the battery that powers the transponder used to locate 'black-boxes' after an airliner crash, has been adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and should surface as commonplace across international aviation by 2018.

Rémi Jouty, head of the BEA, told the Financial Times earlier this year that all the recommendations were made to avoid a repeat of “the difficulties we had in locating AF447 in [the mid-Atlantic] Ocean.”

While the tracking technology exists, Jouty pointed to “a need for governments at the international level to reach an agreement.”

Although ICAO had discussed the proposals, he said “one aspect” of its failure to require tracking was lobbying by airlines concerned about cost – a view corroborated by a senior airline executive, Financial Times reports.

“MH370 is very different from AF447 [and AirAsia QZ8105] ,” says Tony Tyler, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“While we knew pretty accurately where AF447 [and AirAsia QZ8105] went down, the issue with MH370 is that it disappeared from tracking capabilities, which included radar surveillance.”

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption at the ICAO conference next month.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, announcing the report recommendations on global flight-tracking for its 240 member airlines. IATA's 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

Early next year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) plans to convene a high-level safety meeting in Montreal, Canada, to approve a concept of operations for global flight-tracking, and to move forward in developing a global flight-tracking standard by February 2015. Additionally, ICAO plans to publish in 2016 its global flight-tracking standards.

APPENDIX

Road Map to Global Flight-Tracking Standards 2014, as chronicled in Aviation Week.

March 8 • MH370 disappears from radar over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China.

March 31- April 2 • International Air Transport Association (IATA) convenes Operations Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and creates Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) to focus on identifying near-term options for global tracking of aircraft, including a concept of operations (Conops).

May 12-13 • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds Special Meeting for Global Flight Tracking in Montreal, Canada, and reaches consensus to track all airline aircraft. • IATA agrees to early voluntary implementation; ICAO to develop standards in parallel, while developing global standard on a parallel track.

May 26-27 • International Telecommunications Union (ITU) holds Expert Dialogue on real-time monitoring of flight data in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. • ITU asked to provide necessary spectrum allocations for emerging flight-data monitoring needs and work with ICAO to implement it.

June 11-13 • IATA ATTF holds first formal meeting and launches effort to define current state of flight-tracking with member and non-member airlines, air navigation service providers.

September • IATA ATTF presents preliminary Conops for global flight-tracking to ICAO in Montreal, Canada.

December 10, 2014 • IATA communicates ATTF findings to member airlines.

2015 February• ICAO to hold high-level safety meeting in Montreal, Canada to approve Conops from ATTF and move forward in developing a global flight-tracking standard.

2016 • ICAO to publish global flight-tracking standards.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, via Reuters, Mashable and The Associated Press

The Associated Press via Mashable reports: "Powerful currents and murky water continue to hinder the operation, but searchers managed to get a photograph of the debris after it was detected by an Indonesian survey ship, National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told reporters. One released image appears to show an upside down "A'' painted on a piece of metal."

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Photo Credit: Getty Images. AirAsia flight 8501 wreckage found in the Java Sea by Indonesian search and rescue officials.

"The find is particularly important because the all-important cockpit voice and flight data recorders, or black boxes, are located in the aircraft's tail."

"Today we successfully discovered the part of the plane that became the main aim since yesterday," Fransiskus "Henry" Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, said. "I can ensure that this is part of the tail with the AirAsia mark on it."

He stressed the top priority remains recovering more bodies along with the black boxes. So far, 40 corpses have been found, including an additional one announced Wednesday, but time is running out.

"Finding the black boxes will be key to the investigation. They provide essential information including the plane's vertical and horizontal speeds along with engine temperature and final conversations between the captain and co-pilot. The ping-emitting beacons still have about 20 days before their batteries go dead, but high surf had prevented the deployment of ships that drag "ping" locators."

"The search area for bodies and debris was expanded this week to allow for the strong currents that have been pushing debris around," said Indonesian search and rescue operation coordinator Tatang Zainudin.

"In addition to heavy rain and wind, the monsoon weather has turned the Java Sea into a slush bowl."

Read more details here on Mashable.

plane_tail_2-original

Photo Credit: Getty Images. AirAsia flight 8501 wreckage found in the Java Sea by Indonesian search and rescue officials.

plane_tail_1-original

Photo Credit: Getty Images. AirAsia flight 8501 wreckage found in the Java Sea by Indonesian search and rescue officials.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, via Reuters, BBC News and Time

"We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane," Yayan Sofyan‎, captain of the patrol vessel, told reporters, as his ship returned to the port in Surabaya on Monday, although it remains unconfirmed that the vessel captain was referring to one of the five large objects observed by deep sea sonar equipment submerged inside the Java Sea about 90 nautical miles off the coast of Borneo over the weekend.

The flight deck voice and data recorders reside inside the tail section of the Airbus A320-200 airliner, making recovery of the tail section wreckage essential to fulfilling the complete crash investigation of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"I am not saying it's the tail yet," the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, told a news conference in Jakarta. "That is suspected. Now we are trying to confirm it."

Indonesia's meteorological agency has said seasonal tropical storms allegedly led to AirAsia flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 crash on Sunday, December 28. Search and rescue operations in the shallow waters of the Java Sea at just 40 meters (or 130 feet) have been hampered for 10 days by monsoon seasonal heavy rains, choppy surface waves, and strong underwater currents tossing sea floor organic mud, making deep sea diver visibility impossible, and prohibitively hindering recovery of the missing 125 passenger and flight crew remains, as of Tuesday, January 6.

According to Time, "the search area expanded Tuesday from a 18,000-sq.-mi. (45,000-sq-km) primary search zone to include another 100,000 sq. mi. (260,00 sq km) farther east, in the direction where debris may have drifted."

Increasing the complexity of the underwater search is sea garbage and churning debris from the heavily inhabited islands of Java, Borneo and Sumatra, and the voluminous Java Sea vessel traffic.

Hence, the AirAsia QZ8501 search does have some Déjà vu" characteristics of the initial hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, presumed to be lost without a trace inside the southern Indian Ocean.

"As with MH370, there is the desperate race to find the black-boxes before their batteries run out." reports Time. No trace of the black-boxes have yet been found. “We are racing against time, as their battery [will be used] up within 30 days,” Nurcahyo, an investigator with the Indonesian National Transportation Agency, told Xinhua.

As of Tuesday, only 20 days remain before the black-box underwater location beacon is silenced upon exhaustion of its battery, thus substantially complicating the deep sea search for the flight data recorder devices, if the tail section housing the black-box devices is not indeed recovered soon.

Photo Credit: BBC News

airasia_black_box_BBC NEWS

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Sunday, January 3, 2015, via The Independent (U.K.) and Mashable:

Five large pieces of wreckage of the Airbus A320-200 carrying 162 souls on board that crashed into the sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday, December 28, 2014 has been generally ascertained from sonar equipment to allegedly be resting at the bottom of the Java Sea about 90 nautical miles off the coast of Borneo.

"At about 18 meters (or 59 feet) long, the largest piece suspected to be the fuselage of the plane – but bad weather and strong currents have prevented searchers from making the relatively shallow 30-meter dive to verify this," The Independent (U.K.) reports.

However, experts believe the tail section that contains the flight data recorders (or the "black-boxes"), crucially needed to fully understand what happened inside the flight deck of AirAsia flight QZ8501 last Sunday, still remains separated from the five large pieces of wreckage believed to be found.

Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, said the focus now was to reach that fuselage, where many bodies could still be strapped in to seats. “Our priority is to dive in the location we suspect parts of the plane to be,” he said.

Read more here inside The Independent (U.K.).

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Divers tried to reach the site on Sunday, but rolling seas stirred up silt and mud, leaving them with zero visibility, according to Soelistyo.

"At this moment, it's impossible to send any divers," he said. "We'll wait until the weather gets better."

At the moment the exact cause of the Singapore-bound Airbus A320-200 crash into the Java Sea 42 minutes after taking off from Surabaya on what was supposed to be a two-hour flight is unknown. "Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control that he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic," according to Mashable.

Also via Mashable: "While it remains unclear what caused the plane to plunge into the Java Sea, bad weather appears to have been a factor, according to a report by Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency. Researchers from the country's weather office said AirAsia Flight 8501 may have flown into a storm cloud, Bloomberg reported."

Read more here on Mashable.

Four more remains of passenger victims were recovered on Sunday for a total of 34 victim remains recovered so far.

"Round-the-clock coverage of the disaster has also reignited fear of flying for some in a country that has suffered a string of accidents in recent years, as new airlines pop up to meet booming demand in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of 250 million people," the social media news outlet reports.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Saturday, January 3, 2015, via Mashable and The Associated Press:

 "After nearly a week of searching for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, rescue teams battling monsoon rains had their most successful day yet on Friday, more than tripling the number of bodies pulled from the Java Sea, some still strapped to their seats. Of the 30 [passenger and crew victims] recovered so far, 21 were found on Friday, many of them by a U.S. Navy ship, according to officials. The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia, which is leading identification efforts, has identified a total of six passengers, AirAsia said in a Facebook post published Saturday, with 24 yet to be identified.

According to Mashable, "twelve of those remains — nine men and three women — arrived on Saturday at Bhayangkara Hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia, AirAsia said, where officials with Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea will begin work on identification."

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ8501," AirAsia said in its Facebook post, as search efforts enter the seventh day in the Java Sea.

The Airbus A320 carrying 162 passengers and crew went down Sunday, halfway into a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore. Minutes before losing contact, the pilot told air-traffic control he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic. It remains unclear what caused the plane to plunge into the sea. The accident was AirAsia's first since it began operations in 2001, quickly becoming one of the region's most popular low-cost carriers." Read more on Mashable via The Associated Press here.

Meanwhile, also via Mashable: "search teams combing the Java Sea for AirAsia Flight 8501 have found two large and significant chunks of the aircraft near an oil spill off the island of Borneo, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief said Saturday local time during a news conference in Jakarta. The discovery occurred on Friday night.

"With the discovery of an oil spill and two big parts of the aircraft, I can assure you these are the parts of the AirAsia plane we have been looking for," BASARNAS chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters on Saturday.

The Airbus A320-200 crashed after going missing with 162 people on board Sunday. So far, 30 [passenger and crew victims] have been found by dozens of ships and aircrafts from multiple countries carrying out the search. Search and rescue operators began finding bodies and wreckage on Tuesday." Read further details on Mashable here.

With the large chunks of wreckage found indicating AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 final resting place, we now have a closer proximity of where AirAsia flight 8501's black-boxes reside upon further search by BASARNAS. Upon recovery of these crucial black-boxes, crash investigators will learn more about the flight deck crew and air traffic controller conversations minutes before air traffic control lost contact, as well as, Airbus A320-200 airliner and engine performance during the final moments of AirAsia flight 8501.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Friday, January 2, 2015, via The New York Times:

AirAsia flight QZ8501 recovery efforts were halted Thursday afternoon, due to prohibitive weather and rough seas. The Associated Press reported that more ships arrived on Friday with sensitive equipment.

On Friday, heavy rains continued in the region, limiting all search and rescue efforts, as can be seen in the above photo on a search ship deck off the coast of Indonesia in the Java Sea, No sighting of AirAsia flight 8501's Airbus A320-200 fuselage has been made.

On Thursday, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, Bambang Soelistyo, said in Jakarta that "the bodies of nine of the 162 people who had been aboard Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 had been recovered." Six had been sent to Jakarta; two were in Pangkalan Bun, close to the site of the crash; and one remained aboard a navy ship. One of the deceased was a flight attendant, Khairunnisa Haidar Fauzi, 22, The New York Times reports.

"The discovery of seven more bodies was announced Friday morning, six of them found by a United States Navy ship, said Suryadi B. Supriyadi, operation coordinator for the search and rescue agency, bringing the total to 16."

In agreement with what I have also called for on Fox News, an excellent read on the early implementation and cost issues of the recent International Air Transport Association recommendations of global flight tracking and the need for streaming of black-box data is addressed in Friday's edition of The Independent (U.K.) in an article entitled, "After AirAsia and MH370 flight searches, one airline finds a way to make its planes nearly disappearance-proof."

"Canada's First Air flies to destinations including the Arctic Circle – far beyond the reach of conventional radar."

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Tuesday, December 30, 2014:

AirAsia flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner wreckage and debris and six of the total 162 passenger and AirAsia crew victim's remains were retrieved from the Java Sea in an area near AirAsia Flight 8510 flight path. Wreckage site is 10 miles from plane's last-known coordinates. The Java Sea at the site where the Airbus A320-200 wreckage has been located is 80 feet to 100 feet deep.

"The first proof of the jet's fate emerged Tuesday in an area not far from where it dropped off radar screens. Searchers found the bodies and debris that included a life jacket, an emergency exit door and a suitcase about 10 miles from the plane's last known coordinates," reports Yahoo! News.

It now appears from early morning news from the Southeast Asia region trickling in continuously throughout the day that AirAsia QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 airliner hit the shallow Java Sea in several pieces, much like Air France AF447's Airbus A330-200 did hitting the Atlantic Ocean off the cost of Brazil back in 2009.

AirAsia flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 broke into several smaller pieces as opposed to larger pieces, which is indicative of a break up upon crashing on the water, which is like hitting cement, due to surface tension on oceanic and sea water surfaces.

Also, noteworthy is the airspeed decayed from 470 knots to 353 knots, as the Airbus 320-200 airliner climbed through 36,000 feet, which allegedly suggests some degradation in engine power and performance as the airliner passed through darken cells of turbulent thunderstorms in the region at the time of the downing of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

"AirAsia QZ8501 story is quickly unfolding as Air France AF447 Déjà vu." - Oliver McGee on Fox News "Happening Now" 1 pm EST on Tuesday, December 30, 2014.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue on Monday, December 29, 2014:

"In the afternoon of Dec 29th 2014, an Air Force Super Puma Helicopter located oil on the sea surface within the search area about 100 nautical miles from Pulau Belitung. Indonesia's Air Force reported the oil is being tested whether it is aviation fuel," reports the Aviation Herald.

Indonesia’s search authority on Monday, December 29, said its preliminary assessment was that the plane is “at the bottom of the sea,” though it expanded the search area to include waters farther north and some land over the island of Borneo.

Officials said they no detection of any signal from the Airbus A320-200 airliner’s emergency locator transmitters. Ships and aircraft were deployed from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia to hunt for the plane after it disappeared.

More specifically, Indonesia, which is the lead aviation domicile nation in charge of the search, deployed eight ships, two helicopters and three airplanes in the ongoing search, which has focused on a narrow stretch in the Java Sea near Bangka and the island of Belitung east of Sumatra.

"Singapore deployed one C130 aircraft and two Navy ships, while Malaysia sent three vessels and one plane on Sunday. Australia’s government said it offered to send a P-3 Orion search plane to help. South Korea said that it was considering sending a surveillance plane to the region to help with the search," The Wall Street Journal reports on Monday.

Also on Monday, December 29, 2014, the U.S. Navy reported that upon request by the Indonesian Government the U.S. Navy is joining the search for flight QZ8501. USS Sampson, currently being assigned to another mission in the western Pacific, has been dispatched to the search area and is anticipated to arrive in the Java Sea region by Tuesday, December 30, Aviation Herald reports.

More than 10 hours later on Sunday night, no trace of AirAsia flight QZ8501's Airbus A320-200 had been found. The search resumed at dawn Monday.

 

UPDATE on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Search and Rescue, via Los Angeles Times report on Sunday, December 28, 2014:

"As severe monsoon rains lashed the region, Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean ships and aircraft were focusing the search in the Java Sea off the island of East Belitung, roughly halfway between Singapore and the aircraft’s point of origin, the Indonesian city of Surabaya, Indonesian news media reported.

“God willing, we can find it soon,” 1st Adm. Sigit Setiayana, the naval aviation center commander at the Surabaya air force base, told the Associated Press. Setiayana said that 12 navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and several warships had joined the effort Monday, according to the Associated Press.

The search was halted due to darkness Sunday evening, 12 hours after the plane lost contact with the ground, as teams faced low visibility due to difficult weather conditions." Read more from the report of the Los Angeles Times.

Low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 Airbus A320-200, Registration Number PK-AXC en route from Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore has apparently lost contact with air traffic control at approximately 6:18 am (local Surabaya time) Sunday morning, confirms Indonesian Transport Ministry authorities on Sunday, December 28, 2014. Airbus media statement released Sunday is provided below in the Appendix.

Photos Credit: AFP, AirAsia A320-200, Cover Photo Credit: ACHDIYATMA REZA, Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-200 PK-AXC in the air near Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport in April 2014, via Mashable.

AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. local time (00:30 GMT) and was listed as “delayed” on the flight arrivals board at Changi Airport in Singapore.

The air carrier's chief, Tony Fernandes, educated at the London School of Economics, and came to AirAsia from outside the airline industry, tweeted: "Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong," reports BBC News this morning.

Airbus released a statement announcing the aircraft manufacturer "will provide full assistance to the French safety investigation authority, BEA, and to the authorities in charge of the investigation."

The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on November 16, 2014. AirAsia officials and Indonesian media have confirmed the passenger nationalities, which include 156 Indonesians, three people from Korea, and one person each from Singapore, United Kingdom and Malaysia were on board. Of the flight deck and cabin crew nationalities, one is French and five are Indonesian. There were 23 no-shows, according to the flight manifest, reports Mashable.

Until we know more about the fate of all the 156 passengers and 6 crew on board AirAsia Flight QZ8501, our warmest thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with you along with your loving families and friends, who are waiting for any news during these extremely stressful moments.

Captain Irianto, pilot of the airline's missing flight QZ8501, in command had a total of 20,537 career flying hours of which 6,100 flying hours with the air carrier. Whereas, the first officer, a Frenchman named Remi Emmanual Plesel, logged a total of 2,275 flying hours with the air carrier, AirAsia authorities announced. The Telegraph (U,K.) and The Associated Press have compiled useful timelines of the missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 shown here.

Weather Conditions Allegedly Altered Flight QZ8501 Akin to Flight AF447.

The Airbus 320-200 departed from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at approximately 05:32 am (local Surabaya time), carrying 155 passengers (138 adults, 16 children, and 1 infant) as well as, two AirAsia pilots, one flight engineer, and four AirAsia flight attendants on board, as the airliner allegedly traveled through an area of heavy thunderstorm activity. "Southeast Asia, including parts of Indonesia, has been struck by unusually heavy monsoon rains this month that have caused severe flooding and forced nearly 160,000 people to evacuate their homes in Malaysia and Thailand," reports the Los Angeles Times.

According to Indoesia AirAsia early Sunday morning, "the aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost, while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC)."

The crash of the Airbus A320-200 rests on "a crucial two-minute delay in letting its pilot climb to a higher altitude," The New York Post reports, as "a transcript released Monday of the final communication between air traffic control and the pilot of AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 early Sunday local time reveals a calm request to redirect the plane and then to climb to avoid a storm."

The New York Post adds: "Air traffic control couldn’t say yes immediately because six other planes were crowding the higher airspace, forcing Flight QZ 8501 to remain at a lower altitude, the transcript reveals." AirAsia QZ8501 flight deck to State-owned AirNav Indonesia, which provides air-navigation services, reportedly at about 6:12 am (local Surabaya time), "requested permission to increase altitude from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to get around tons of tropical storms in the area, as shown in the weather maps below via Mashable.

Standard operating procedures called for AirNav Indonesia to establish a crisis center lead by director of Civil Aviation at the Tower of Jakarta Airport. Acting Air Transportation Director General Djoko Murjatmodjo said to Associated Press, "Jakarta air controllers had given the plane a green light to veer away from its flight path, but not to ascend to 38,000 feet, because of traffic conditions and pending confirmation with other controllers."

There were seven aircraft passing through the area at that time at flight levels between 29,000 feet and 38,000 feet. Neither of these seven aircraft encountered any difficulties. Six minutes later at 6:18 am (local Surabaya time), as AirAsia Flight QZ8501 commenced with its climb, the Airbus A320-200 disappeared from radar, which is a slight discrepancy from earlier reports stating about 6:36 am (local Surabaya time), according to a timeline chronicled on Twitter by the Indonesia Transport Ministry.

Location Map Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.)

Location Map Credit: @RT_com

According to tweets by Steve Herman (@W7VOA) on December 27, " Transport Ministry spokesman: Last contact from was pilot request for permission to change altitude due to bad weather."

"MT @EarthUncutTV: Satellite image around time went missing, very vigorous thunderstorms (black) north of Surabaya"

Photo Credit: Aviation Herald.

Temperature coding false color Satellite Image MTSAT, December 28, 2014 00:32Z,  "Ton of convection(storms) in the area where the missing plane would be located," Tweets Matt Daniel (@mattdanielwx), 11:13 PM - 27 Dec 2014

There were supposedly highly turbulent black storm cells, as part of the above weather map. Such black cells can reach very high altitudes in the range of airliner cruise, and could feature heavy winds and lightning with large hail stones that could possibility be injected into the aircraft engines like bullets, causing foreign object damage and high cycle fatigue failure of engine parts during the tragic moments of flight QZ8501.

Analogous to what happened five-years ago with Air France flight AF447 back in 2009, which tumbled into similar ice crystal-like inter-tropical convergence storms, while cruising over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil, at higher altitudes there is a much higher probability of engine stall, primarily due to less oxygen in the air alongside varying temperature distribution affecting engine power during highly turbulent tropical storms.

Moreover, such tropical storm conditions shown in the weather map above may have also supposedly caused distortion of air flow inside the engine intake that may have in all probability induced engine stall, thus allegedly causing flight QZ8501's Airbus A320 airliner to literally fall out of the sky into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

Something clearly happened on-board all three lost airliners - AF447, MH370, AirAsia QZ8105

Human judgement is the cause of nine of ten aviation safety mishaps. Oftentimes, some external factor comes into play that may cause on-board human operators of airliners beyond their control to lose their best judgement under crisis. Clearly, AF447 pilots, and perhaps even the pilots of MH370 and AirAsia QZ8105, panicked inside the fog of rapidly performing under severe safety crisis, while adhering to the ole' adage —aviate, navigate, and then, communicate.

Chaos discovered on-board AF447. "Damn it, we're going to crash," reported The Telegraph (U.K.) on April 28, 2012, regarding AF447 pilot's last words on the early morning hours of June 1, 2009. With the wreckage and flight-data recorders lost beneath nearly 3 miles of the mid-Atlantic Ocean, experts were also forced to speculate back in 2009 for well over 2-3 years using the only data available: "a cryptic set of communications beamed automatically from the aircraft to the airline's maintenance center in France."

The AF447 mystery might have never been solved, were it not for the remarkable recovery of AF447's 'black boxes'. Upon the analysis of their contents, the French accident investigation authorities were then properly positioned to verify their initial suppositions of the Airbus A330-200 safety breach. An even fuller picture of the arliner's safety mishap emerged with the French publication entitled, Erreurs de Pilotage (Volume 5), by pilot and aviation writer, Jean-Pierre Otelli, which includes the full-transcript of the AF447 pilots' conversation.

Hopefully, once again, 'black-boxes' of AirAsia QZ8105's Airbus A320-200 and MH370's Boeing 777-200ER will be recovered. Indeed, that will be international breaking news. Just as much as recovery of the 'black-boxes' of 2009's Airbus A330-200 loss of AF447 was back in 2011. Once more, it's time to put the 'black-box' in 'the cloud.'

Photo Credit: MEHDI FEDOUACH, AFP/Getty Images.

The flight data recorders from Air France flight AF447 lost in the mid-Atlantic Ocean is displayed in front of journalists during a press conference in 2011. A synopsis of what occurred during the course of the doomed Air France flight AF447's Airbus A330-200 airliner's final few minutes is here.

As Popular Mechanics found in their cover story about the crash, "the data implied that the plane had fallen afoul of a technical problem — the icing up of air-speed sensors — which in conjunction with severe weather led to a complex "error chain" that ended in a crash and the loss of 228 lives." The official document released by French accident investigators echoed human error, reported The Telegraph (U.K.), back on April 28, 2012. "There is no doubt that at least one of AF447’s pilots made a fatal and sustained mistake, and the airline must bear responsibility for the actions of its crew. It will be a grievous blow for Air France ... And the reason for that fatal lack of awareness lies partly in the design of the control stick — the “side-stick”— [then] used in all Airbus cockpits."

The mystery of the AF447 crash had taken three years to resolve. AF447 involved just as costly of an international search across the mid-Atlantic, covering 17,000 square kilometers of hazardous unmapped sea bed to depths of 4,700 meters (about 2.92 miles). Equally as remote as MH370's Boeing 777-200ER presumed southern Indian Ocean location, and AirAsia QZ8105's Airbus A320-200 supposed Java Sea location (many reports now confirm), were the hazardous southern waters along the equator between Brazil and Africa, in which the AF447 Airbus A330-200 plunged. After nearly two years, "robot submarines located the aircraft’s flight recorders, a near-miraculous feat that reopened the biggest crash inquiry since Lockerbie," The Telegraph (U.K.) said.

"Prior to the recovery of the recorders, the cause of the [AF447] disaster could only be inferred from a few salvaged pieces of wreckage and technical data beamed automatically from the [Airbus A330-200] aircraft to the airline’s maintenance center in France. It appeared to be a failure of the plane’s pitot (pronounced 'pea-toe') tubes — small, forward-facing ducts that use airflow to measure airspeed. On entering the storm [in which AF447 suddenly flew into in the early morning hours of June 1, 2009], these had apparently frozen over, blanking airspeed indicators and causing the autopilot to disengage. From then on the crew failed to maintain sufficient speed, resulting in a stall which, over almost four minutes, sent 228 people plummeting to their deaths."

"But why? Normally an Airbus A330-200 can fly itself, overriding unsafe commands. Even if systems fail there is standard procedure to fall back on: if you set engine thrust to 85 per cent and pitch the nose five degrees above the horizontal, the aircraft will more or less fly level. How was it that three pilots trained by a safe and prestigious airline could so disastrously lose control? Either there was something wrong with the plane, or with the crew. Airbus and Air France, both with much to lose, were soon pointing accusing fingers at each other," questioned The Telegraph (U.K.) on April 28, 2012, once the AF447 mystery was clearly reaching resolution.

The Telegraph (U.K.) further questioned: "But the airline’s case seemed thin. All indications suggested the aircraft had functioned just as it was designed. The black box recordings showed that the plane was responsive to the point of impact. The case against the pilots looked even worse, when a transcript of the voice recorder was leaked. It confirmed that one of the pilots had pulled the stick back and kept it there for almost the entirety of the emergency. With its nose pointed too far upwards, it was little wonder that the Airbus had eventually lost momentum and stalled. But this analysis begs the question: even if one pilot got things badly wrong, why did his two colleagues fail to spot the problem? The transcript of increasingly panicky conversations in the cockpit suggests they did, but too late."

This was further confirmed by technical experts of Popular Mechanics. "We now understand that, indeed, AF447 passed into clouds associated with a large system of thunderstorms, its speed sensors became iced over, and the autopilot disengaged. In the ensuing confusion, the pilots lost control of the airplane, because they reacted incorrectly to the loss of instrumentation and then seemed unable to comprehend the nature of the problems they had caused. Neither weather nor malfunction doomed AF447, nor a complex chain of error. [Rather instead, what doomed AF447 was] a simple but persistent mistake on the part of one of the pilots."

Search and Rescue of Missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Has Commenced.

Search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Indonesia Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency. "Air force spokesman, Marsma Hadi Tjahjanto, confirmed that the Air Force was using the last point of contact to conduct an air search," according to Sunday morning reports of Russian news service.

Indonesia AirAsia is "cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service and investigation in every possible way." Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia's acting director general of transportation, told reporters on Sunday, "no distress signal had been sent. The plane is believed to have gone missing somewhere over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan on Belitung island and Pontianak, on Indonesia's part of Kalimantan island," Djoko Murjatmodjo said to The Associated Press.

As of early Sunday morning, AirAsia unfortunately has few further details regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but the air carrier officials promise to keep all parties updated as more information becomes available. This is why I find the chart below extremely compelling, having historical data and information in which many should examine and take pause to contemplate just how challenging the oceanic searches are for lost Malaysia Airlines MH370 on March 8, 2014, and recently lost AirAsia QZ8501 on December 28, 2014 in relation to the lost Air France flight 447 airliner, which was eventually solved.

All total we have lost 80 large airliners since 1948 inside oceanic waters and remote regions of the world, like the South American Amazon, African bush land, and Asiatics. Only three airlines have been found, Uruguayan Air Force flight 571, lost October 13, 1972 and found 72 days later; Eastern Airlines flight 980, lost January 1, 1985 and found in 2006; and Air France flight 447, lost June 1, 2009 and found May 2011.

Disappearances of Large Airliners Since 1948

Photo Credit: Bloomberg Visual Data

Malaysian-based Indonesia AirAsia is a low-cost carrier established back in 2001 with just two aircraft, purchased from its Malaysian owner DRB-Hicom. Started in the aftermath of industry changes in international aviation safety and security, resulting from the 9/11 tragedy in the United States, combined with the airline industry liquidity crunch during the global financial crisis, AirAsia has faced down some entrepreneurial turbulent and hyper-competitive challenges in the international commercial passenger airline industry.

Indonesia AirAsia operates a fleet primarily comprised of Airbus A320 aircraft, representing one of the world's most technologically advanced, safest and most reliable passenger aircraft. The low-cost carrier's fleet, operating in Southeast Asia, is one of the youngest in the region, with an average age of just 3.5 years. There are currently over 150 Airbus A320s in service and another 200 orders in placed for next-generation A320s from Airbus.

The Southeast Asia low-cost carrier is regulated by the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation. AirAsia's unique "no-frills" business approach offers flights throughout Southeast Asia, including Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi as well as over 88 destinations in the region, carrying 220 million flyers since its founding back in 2001.

Notwithstanding, AirAsia's low-cost strategy in Southeast Asia may soon have a future competitor upon its potential comeback in Malaysia flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, which endured two disasters in 2014.

Remarkably, the missing AirAsia Airbus A320 causes many to quickly recall the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, which disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 carrying 227 passengers and 12 Malaysia Airlines crew. Shockingly, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew on board.

Embattled Malaysia Airlines appointed on December 11, 2014 Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus Chief, Christoph Mueller, as new CEO to lead the national flag carrier forward through its downsizing restructuring plan of 6,000 job cuts and brand recovery strategy.

Mueller takes the helm of the Malaysian flag carrier in mid-2015, Khazanah Nasional, Sovereign wealth fund, taking ownership of the beleaguered airline on December 15, 2014.

However, Malaysian-based AirAsia Indonesia has not lost an airliner in its history. According to Russian news service: "Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia is believed to be one of the safest air carriers in the world. Until today there have been only two incidents with its aircraft. In both cases they overran runways. One took place in November 7, 2004, at Malaysia’s Kota Kinabalu airport (Flight 104, Boeing 737). Another incident with Flight 5218 (Airbus A320-200) occurred in Malaysia’s Kuching on January 10, 2011."

According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday: Tatang Kurniadi, the chief of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said "the country’s safety record had improved as its aircraft accident rate dropped to 0.82 per million flights this year from 2.94 per million in 2007." That compares to a global, five-year average of 0.48 for serious accidents on Western-built jets, according to the International Air Transport Association’s 2013 report.

This despite international air-safety experts caution that soaring expected growth in air travel in the Southeast Asia region over the next 5-10 years could erode broader safety margins, if issues such as human factor errors, costs of global tracking of aircraft, and costs of black-box data streaming, are not quickly and adequately addressed in the region.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a Twitter statement that he was “very sad” about the AirAsia flight. “My thoughts are with the families,” Razak said. “Malaysia stands ready to help.”

Photo Credit: AirAsia A320-200, Denpensar International Airport, Bali, Indonesia, by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst, FlyersPulse.com

Global Flight Tracking Recommendations Now Essential in Searching for Missing Airliners Over Remote Oceanic Regions.

Widely-available now is the 219-page final report by France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA), published in July 2012, "On the accident on 1st June 2009 to the Airbus A330-203, registered F-GZCP, operated by Air France flight AF447 en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France."

The extensive report also proposed changes to the way 'black-boxes', or flight data recorders, work on aircraft that operate over water. Calls for extending from 30 to 90 days the life of the battery that powers the transponder used to locate 'black-boxes' after an airliner crash, has been adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and should surface as commonplace across international aviation by 2018.

Rémi Jouty, head of the BEA, told the Financial Times earlier this year that all the recommendations were made to avoid a repeat of “the difficulties we had in locating AF447 in [the mid-Atlantic] Ocean.”

While the tracking technology exists, Jouty pointed to “a need for governments at the international level to reach an agreement.”

Although ICAO had discussed the proposals, he said “one aspect” of its failure to require tracking was lobbying by airlines concerned about cost – a view corroborated by a senior airline executive, Financial Times reports.

“MH370 is very different from AF447 [and AirAsia QZ8105] ,” says Tony Tyler, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“While we knew pretty accurately where AF447 [and AirAsia QZ8105] went down, the issue with MH370 is that it disappeared from tracking capabilities, which included radar surveillance.”

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption by February 2015.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, announcing the report recommendations on global flight-tracking for its 240 member airlines. IATA's 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

Early next year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) plans to convene a high-level safety meeting in Montreal, Canada, to approve a concept of operations for global flight-tracking, and to move forward in developing a global flight-tracking standard by February 2015. Additionally, ICAO plans to publish in 2016 its global flight-tracking standards.

APPENDIX

Airbus Media Statement on AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ 8501

Sunday, December 28, 2014 (approximately 3:50 am EST)

"Airbus regrets to confirm that an A320-200 operated by AirAsia Indonesia lost contact with air traffic control this morning, 28th December 2014. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight QZ 8501, from Surabaya to Singapore.

The aircraft involved is MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 3648, registered as PK-AXC and was delivered to AirAsia from the production line in October 2008. Powered by CFM 56-5B engines, the aircraft had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights. At this time no further factual information is available.

In line with the ICAO Annex 13 international convention, Airbus will provide full assistance to the French safety investigation authority, BEA, and to the authorities in charge of the investigation.

The Airbus A320-200 is a twin-engine single-aisle aircraft seating up to 180 passengers in a single-class configuration. The first A320 entered service in March 1988. By the end of November 2014, over 6000 A320 Family aircraft were in service with over 300 operators. To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 154 million flight hours in some 85 million flights.

Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities.

The thoughts of the Airbus management and staff are with all those affected by Flight QZ 8501."

* * *

Contacts for the media:

AIRBUS - MEDIA RELATIONS

Tel.: (33) 05.61.93.10.00

also available on Internet: http://www.airbus.com

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Oliver McGee is professor of mechanical engineering at Howard University. He is an aerospace, mechanical, and civil engineer, and author of six books on Amazon. He is former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy (1999-2001) in the Clinton Administration, and former senior policy adviser in the Clinton White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-1999).

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