AirAsia Crash Caused by Poor Maintenance, Bad Component, & Crew Response

The final report into the crash of AirAsia flight QZ8501 last December has been released by the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Committee. As is common in modern day accidents, there were many contributing factors, but poor maintenance and a fault with the system that controls the rudder’s movements (Rudder Travel Limiter) were noted as was the crew’s response to these notifications.

Cracked soldering in the component caused it to malfunction and send repeated warning messages to the pilots, it said. In response, they tried to reset a computer system but in the process turned off the plane’s autopilot, sending it into a sharp roll from which they were unable to recover. “Subsequent flight crew action resulted in inability to control the aircraft,” said the report. The plane went into a “prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the crew to recover”, it said.

The report noted that the system had 23 repeated problems over the prior year which were never resolved.

The report also stated that in the final moments before the crash, the French co-pilot was at the controls rather than the more experienced pilot as the plane climbed fast and went into a stall.

AFP story here.

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