On the morning of December28, my breakfast on the island of Batam was disturbed with news of a missing Indonesia Air Asia A320 from Surabaya to Singapore, a mere 1 hour after it disappearance. I tweeted and started the #QZ8501 hashtag saying that the jet was suspected missing.

Within 5 hours of the aircraft going missing I received the first information on the aircraft’s last few minutes. It doesn’t look pretty.


AWQ8501 shown at FL363 with UAE409 some 30 nautical miles ahead

The picture appears to be from Pontianak ATC radar showing the aircraft’s movement on a replay. It shows the flight flying westwards off the airway at 36,300ft and an groundspeed of only 353 knots, which translates to around 190 knots indicated airspeed at that altitude, which is way to slow for normal flight. Note the Emirates jet 30 nautical miles or so to the north west at 36,000ft travelling at a much higher groundspeed.

As soon as I saw this picture, I suspected the aircraft would have been a total loss, lost at sea, with an impact similar to AF447, although the causes may be different.

Soon, another picture emerged, which appears to be from the ADS-B playback of the aircraft’s last recorded moment by the ADS-B receiver.


It shows the aircraft had gone down to 24,025ft (GPS) altitude and a ground speed of only 64.82 knots, which meant the aircraft had stalled and falling out of the sky. The vertical speed of -11,518.75ft/min isn’t a surprise given the groundspeed.

I realized that it was going to be the start of a long demanding time ahead, and I headed back to Jakarta that evening, in the tail end of the weather system that QZ8501 and that EK409 went through.

Since 10am on the 28th December 2014, I have been receiving endless calls from the media to comment and to appear on various TV stations. Unfortunately, that has meant that I have not been able to write about it much here due to countless of media requests for interviews and appearances to talk about the accident, what is known, what is reasonable and unreasonable speculation, and all the way to commenting on the government’s reaction.

Over the past month, heaps of speculation as to what may have happened to Air Asia Indonesia flight QZ8501 (operated by PK-AXC, an A320-200) have surfaced. Theories ranging from updrafts, to cost cutting, to lack of weather information, etc. Many of these are ridiculous. I decided that apart from trying to bridge the information gap through the media, I had to use my blog for the same mission. This article, is the start of what I need to write regarding the accident in my own blog.