Februar 2015 – Is it a bad Time for Aviation?
Three very serious aircraft accidents in the region within less than 12 month. Horrible for all those involved.
We’ve been reporting on all three of them.
In March last year MH-370 suddenly disappeared. A Boeing 777-200ER (Extended Range) operated by Malaysia Airlines was on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Absolutely nothing has been found so far. No wreckage, no live vests, no bodies. In the beginning, shortly after disappearance dozens of aircraft and lots of ships were involved in the (then) search and rescue mission.
Meanwhile the chance of finding anything is dwindling. Nevertheless the work is going on. Since 6 October 2014 three vessels are searching the area. The ships are equipped with towed deep water vehicles, which use side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders, and video cameras to locate and identify aircraft debris. A fourth vessel joined the search at the end of January 2015; the work within the priority search area will most probably be completed around May 2015. All 239 souls on board are presumed to be dead.
Right after Christmas 2014 another disaster. Flight QZ-8501, one of Air Asia’s more than 180 planes. All of them Airbus A-320. The aircraft crashed into the sea killing all 162 people on board. No distress call was received, no distrass call was recorded by the cockpit voice recorder.
The plane was en route from Surabaya (Indonesia) to Singapore flying at flight level 320 (approximately 32,000 ft) when the cockpit requested and received permission to deviate left from its original flight path to avoid bad weather. The pilot later requested to climb to flight level 380, which was deferred by ATC because of other aircraft in the vicinity.
Until today it is not known, why six other planes nearby did not report any significant weather.
As well unclear is why the plane started a steep climb exceeding a climb rate of 6,000 ft per minute, about twice the maximum rate for that type of aircraft, subsequently followed by an aerodynamic stall. The plane then was descending with a vertical speed of up to 16,000 ft. per minute, turning to the left, forming at least one complete circle before disappearing from radar at 06:18:44. The cockpit voice recorder captured multiple warnings, including a stall warning.
Early February 2015 again an accident with a complete loss of hull. TransAsia’s flight GE-235 just took off from Taipei airport heading for Kinmen. It was an almost brand new ATR 72-600 with 53 passengers and five crew on board.
Two minutes after take-off, the pilots reported an engine flame out. Flight 235 climbed to a maximum height of 1,050 feet then descended. Immediately before impacting the river, it banked sharply left and clipped a taxi travelling west on the Huandong Viaduct, then the viaduct itself, with its left wing. Out of 58 souls on board only 15 survived the crash.
Both cockpit voice recorder as well as flight data recorder were recovered soon after the accident. Soon the experts found out that indeed the engine #2 (right hand side) failed immediately after take off. But instead of turning that engine off and feathering the right propeller the pilots turned off their good engine (left).
Because of this fatal error and as this accident was the second fatal crash of an AirAsia ATR-72 within only six month, the Civil Aeronautics Administration announced that all 49 TransAsia Airways ATR pilots had to undergo proficiency tests between 7 and 10 February. Ten pilots who failed the engine-out oral test and a further 19 who did not attend were temporary suspended pending a resit. TransAsia vowed to dismiss pilots who fail again.