AirAsia Update: Fatal Mid Air Stall Most Likely Caused Crash

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Air Asia Flight QZ8501, in an effort to bypass the Hurricane force storms, attempted to climb to 38,000 feet at an impossible rate of speed causing a catastrophic stall sending the airbus plunging through the storms into Java Sea.

Indonesian investigators from the National Transportation Safety Division have pieced together a probable crash scenario based on initial findings including the level of preservation of bodies recovered.

The determination, with a preliminary finding report expected to be released on January 28, temporarily concludes extreme weather conditions, in this case, hurricane force storms with intense lighting strikes, initiated distress from the pilot who requested climbing 6,000 feet to 38,000 to avoid the center of the storms.

From all accounts the pilot, Captain Iriyanto, with fighter pilot experience, initiated accent and attempted to climb at a faster rate of speed than the Air Bus A320-200, could withstand. Unconfirmed reports indicate the pilot was attempting to climb the 6000 feet in one minute.

This caused a catastrophic stall that sent the air bus with 162 passengers and crew members plunging into the Java Sea.

Released cockpit information indicate the fatal stall warning is “screaming” rendering the voices in the cockpit inaudible.

Both the block box and flight recorders have been found which have been moved from the sea floor where they were lodged under large pieces of the tail section to investigators and allow them to assess the cockpit condition, including if additional safety measures, on all elements.

Accent may have been denied as airspace, at 38,000 feet was cluttered with at least six other planes, al attempting to circumvent the deadly conditions.

To date 53 bodies of the 162 passengers and crew members have been recovered. Searches are still hoping to return all remains to family members.

AirAsia Flight 8501 Time Line

AirAsia Flight 8501, originating from Surabaya, Indonesia, with 162 passengers and crew onboard disappeared from radar at nearly mid way into its flight after encountering wall of severe and volatile thunderstorms somewhere over the Java Sea. 

The last know contact, at 7:12am local time (+12hoursDST), was 45minutes into the 110minute flight, when the pilot requested permission to ascend to 38,000 feet due to cloud cover.  At 7:16am the plane was still visible on radar.

At 7:18 AirAsia Flight 8501 went missing from radar and looses contact with Jakarta Air Traffic Control. Schedule to arrive at 8:37am, local time, QZ 8501 failed to make contact with Singapore ATF and Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency receives notification at 8:30am the Airbus is missing.

AirAsia carried 162 passengers. The passenger breakdown provided included predominately Asian citizens counting 149 Indonesians, 3 South Koreans, 1 Malaysian, 1 Singaporean, and 1 British citizen. A flight crew of seven (one French and six Indonesian) there were 16 children and 1 infant also confirmed as being on board.

The Airbus A320-216, only six years in use, operated a daily flight schedule, seven days a week from Surabaya to Singapore, and was a popular low cost island hopping flight substitute to other more costly options and generated many new never before flyers with its affordable alternative. 

This is a continuing story

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