Archive for February 2015
Air Asia QZ8501 which crashed on 28th December 2014 in the Java Sea, Indonesia, and TransAsia GE235 which crashed in the Keelung River, Taipei, Taiwan on 4th February 2015.
QZ8501 has been more difficult to recover as it is in the Java Sea with rough seas and bad weather hampering the search. However, it is only in about 40 metres of water so that scuba divers are able to dive on the wreck. The Flight Data Recorder was recovered on 12th January 2015 and the Cockpit Voice Recorder was recovered on 13th January. Now, a full 4 weeks after recovery of the recorders, Indonesia is still only spoon feeding snippets of information to the World. The Indonesia authorities are holding the data from both recorders very close even the preliminary report on the accident is not being released and only going to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
TransAsia GE235 crashed in the Keelung River, Taipei at 14.55 local time. The river is shallow although flowing quickly and the wreckage was visible on the surface with some survivors. The rescue authorities were on the scene within minutes to rescue survivors and recover some bodies. Both the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder were recovered at about 16.00 that afternoon. Both recorders have already been examined and information was made available to the public and authorities the following day, 5th February. On 6th February, less than 48 hours after the crash some conclusions were already being made available and a full press conference was held to release details of the crash and initial investigation.
TransAsia has already commenced additional training for all of its aircrew in handling engine failures on the ATR72 and all other operators of ATR72 aircraft will be provided with full information on the issues which caused the crash so that they can take pre-emptive action to avoid any similar events from occurring.
HANDLING OF CRASH DATA AND FLIGHT RECORDER TRANSCRIPTS
So, the comparison must, inevitably be made about the way in which these two countries are dealing with the respective air disasters. Indonesia is treating the information as though it was part of a military operation and top secret to only be seen and examined by appropriate people with top level security clearance. This also happened when the Silk Air flight 165 crashed in the Musi River, Sumatra on 19th December 1997 killing all on board. Indonesia had to be literally forced to release information on the crash and caused a great deal of frustration to the international aviation community and to ICAO. This case with QZ8501 is slightly better but only because of the intense media coverage of the events.
Why do the Indonesian authorities feel that this crash data must be secret and kept from the general public and the aviation industry? Whereas the authorities in Taiwan have been open and honest with briefings being provided immediately that information was available, so enabling the airlines to take immediate corrective action by re-training their pilots.
WHY DO WE HAVE INVESTIGATIONS OF AIR ACCIDENTS?
The entire reason for thorough accident investigations is to discover the cause of the accident so that the industry can learn from the mistakes made which have caused the accident. The objective is to avoid future accidents of a similar type. The only way to achieve this is to provide the information to all concerned organisations and people so that they can understand the cause.
Taiwan has followed the international protocols and very quickly released the information which will allow aviation safety to be improved.
Indonesia, on the other hand, is acting in a way which is of no benefit to itself or the international aviation community and would do itself a great service by informing the World of the issues surrounding the crash of QZ8501 at the earliest possible time.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
Posted by Des Ross
Des Ross was interviewed by Annabelle Quince for Rear Vision on the ABC.
The past 20-30 years has seen an unprecedented expansion of air travel but in 2014 in our region alone we lost three passenger planes - two from Malaysian Airlines and one from Air Asia. So just how safe is air travel and has air safety increased over time?
For the transcript please click here
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Posted by Des Ross
The Indonesian military has withdrawn from the search for more bodies and will not make further attempts to raise the fuselage of Air Asia flight QZ8501. Fascinating decision.
Seemingly based on the reality that it is rather difficult and the Indonesian military have determined that it is “just too hard” to get the fuselage to the surface and to recover it. No mention of bringing in a professional salvage company to do the job. We all know that there are many professional salvage companies which could do the job. Look at the re floating of the Costa Concordia, various submarines which have been raised, the raising of the “Mary Rose” a shipwreck several hundred years old from the bottom of the ocean off England, discovery of the Titanic, and the list goes on.
We seem to be watching a cultural difference at play here. If this had occurred in similar conditions in most of the developed countries of the World, no effort would be spared. The fuselage would be raised and as many bodies as possible would be recovered.
There are two major reasons for this. The broken fuselage will provide many answers to the big question of why the accident occurred. The recovery of the bodies would provide some measure of peace and closure to relatives. But in Indonesia, with all due respects to the Islamic beliefs of the country, life is much cheaper than in the Western World and, unfortunately, this measure of the value of life is in play here. This is similar in India where Hinduism is the major religion and way of life, but in common with all these highly populated and underdeveloped nations, an individual life is simply not valued as highly as in Western cultures.
Now, to turn to the issue of the preliminary accident report on QZ8501. Why do the Indonesian authorities feel that this must be secret and kept from the general public and the aviation industry? The entire reason for thorough accident investigations is to discover the cause of the accident so that the industry can learn from the mistakes made which have caused the accident. The objective is to avoid future accidents of a similar type. The only way to achieve this is to provide the information to all concerned organisations and people so that they can understand the cause.
Why does Indonesia have such a retarded view of such matters? Consider what happened when Silk Air flight 185 crashed into the river near Palembang in Sumatra in December 1997. The Indonesians treated this like a highly sensitive military secret of “Eyes Only” importance and it took months to obtain information on what had occurred. Finally the USA investigators released a totally separate report which differed significantly from the one released in Indonesia. This is contrary to all International protocols and is obstructive to the learning process which will allow aviation safety to be improved.
Indonesia can do itself a great service by informing the World of the issues surrounding the crash of QZ8501 at the earliest possible time.
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Posted by Des Ross
What happens now that Malaysia has declared that flight MH370 was an accident?
On January 29 2015, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation made an announcement officially declaring that the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was an accident. Well, OK, this clears the way for some compensation to be paid to the relatives of crew and passengers, but on what basis has that declaration been made?
Answer: This has not been based on any technical facts but is purely a similar form of speculation which many others have been espousing, unless of course, the Malaysians know something that they have not released to the rest of the World.
Given the facts that we know, and the demonstrated incompetence of Malaysian authorities in the first hours and days after the disappearance of MH370, we have to wonder what will happen next. Is it now down to Australia to continue the search for MH370 or will Malaysia continue to provide assets and funding for an ongoing search??
Many of the relatives and friends of crew and passengers are not satisfied with this declaration and want proper answers.
Who is now in charge and maintaining the search for MH370?
Monday, 2 February 2015
Posted by Des Ross