January 6, 2015

Speculation concerning cause of AirAsia QZ8501 crash continues

With the Indonesian navy seeming to have located the tail section of the AirAsia flight 8501 downed on December 28th, 2014 with 162 people on board, opinions regarding the actual crash and reasons for it are becoming more formulated. With debris comprising relatively large sections of the plane, some experts have stated that the plane’s hitting the water was likely to be on a horizontal trajectory and not particularly violent. According to Jean-Paul Troadec, who was head of the official French air accident investigation agency when Air France’s flight 447 crashed in 2009, the size of the debris and the condition of the victims recovered indicates that the jet may have glided into the water. “The pieces of the aircraft are not so fragmented, it’s quite large pieces,” he said. “The fact that the bodies seem intact means most probably that the impact was not very violent and that the airplane was probably horizontal when it crashed into the sea.” he stated.
While two more bodies have been recovered, taking the total to 39, strong currents continued to hamper the work of divers and remotely operated vehicles. Frustratingly, despite the relatively shallow waters of the Java Sea, there has yet to be any discovery of the ‘ping’ signal from the aircraft’s black box. “The problem may be that … the bottom of the sea is very muddy in this area so it could happen that the recorder … is under the mud and cannot be heard,” Troadec made clear. “The other problem is the noise environment in this area due to the waves, due to the other vessels. We have no reason to suspect that the pingers are not working because they are designed to face a crash in the sea.” he continued.
It is known that the plane was caught in a relatively violent storm and one of the main hypotheses for the accident was the potential icing of the engines. This is partly refuted by the fact that Troadec has stated that even after engine failure planes are designed to glide and at lower altitudes, engines can be restarted. “When you examine the causes of the accident you can find that the weather is never the only cause of the accident….. It’s a factor because if the aircraft had not crossed the path of a thunderstorm most probably there should be no accident. So it’s a factor, but after this factor you certainly have other elements that the investigation will bring. Maybe human factor issues, maybe technical issue. Maybe all these factors combined together make the accident.” he went on to say.
Confusion still exists over whether the plane even had permission to fly between Singapore and Surabaya that Sunday with many believing that the airline had switched three of its authorized days from the originally agreed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.



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