Tag Archives: A320

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PK-GTA: A320NEO pertama Citilink menuju Indonesia

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Sinyal ADS-B PK-GTA tertangkap NEOSky selepas dari pantai Iran ketika sedang turun menuju Ras Al Khaimah.

Pesawat A320NEO pertama untuk Citilink akan tiba di Indonesia tanggal 23 Februari 2017 setelah delivery flight dari Toulouse (Prancis) melalui Ras Al Khaimah (UAE). Pesawat berangkat pada pukul 0930 waktu setempat (0830UTC), setelah terbang dengan ketinggian jelajah 39000 kaki, PK-GTA mendarat di Ras Al Khaimah pada pukul 1954 waktu setempat (1554UTC).

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PK-GTA ketika singgah di bandara Ras Al Khaimah (RKT/OMRK). (Photo oleh Sean Mendis)

Pesawat pun hanya berhenti di Ras Al Khaimah selama 1 jam untuk pengisian bahan bakar. Menurut sumber setempat, pesawat membawa Augmented Crew (jumlah awak pilot yang lebih) agar tidak memerlukan pergantian crew ditempat singgah. Pesawat berangkat kembali sekitar pukul 2105 waktu setempat (1705UTC) langsung menuju bandara Soekarno-Hatta, Tangerang (CGK/WIII) dan diperkirakan akan mendarat pada pukul 0819WIB (0119UTC).

Apakah penerbangan sepanjang 3852NM ini akan menjadi penerbangan terpanjang A320 dan A320NEO standard selama ini?

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PK-GTA sedang mengisi bahan bakar di Bandara Ras Al Khaimah (RKT/OMRK). (Photo oleh Sean Mendis)

Kebetulan, pesawat ber-registrasi PK-GTA (msn 7466) diberangkatkan dari Toulouse pada ulang tahun ke-30 pesawat Airbus A320.

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Trying To Look Tough? Indonesia Grounds Aircraft Undergoing Maintenance

 

End of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan is marked by the Eid-Al-Fitr holidays, in Indonesia that means peak season. It is usual for the ministry of transport to conduct ramp checks at the beginning of Ramadhan, to make sure that the fleet flying for the holidays are all airworthy. This year is no different. Ramp checks were done at 5 main airports (Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta (CGK/WIII), Surabaya Juanda (SUB/WARR), Bali Ngurah Rai (DPS/WADD), Medan Kualanamu (KNO/WIMM), and Makassar Hasanudin (UPG/WAAA)), between 27 May and 5 June.

“Sudah ada 133 pesawat di-ramp check untuk mengetahui sejak dini kesiapan armada melaksanakan angkutan di saat Lebaran,” jelas M Alwi ditemui detikcom di kantornya di Kemenhub, Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Jakarta Pusat, Rabu (8/6/2016).

(“We conducted ramp checks on 133 aircraft to see the airline fleet’s readiness for the Eid-Al-Fitr Holidays,” explained M Alwi to detikcom in his office at the Ministry of Transport in Jakarta on wednesday 8 June 2016)

Ministry of Transport’s Director of Airworthiness and Aircraft Operations (DAAO), M Alwi, further explained, “We checked the aircraft, technical records and insurance policies of the aircraft. We checked the tires and the brakes. We only checked the aircraft and crew. Generally, the airlines are prepared. Spare tires, and brake sets were ready.”

Not all is well unfortunately, he also said he found 3 aircraft that had to be grounded during the ramp checks. He explained that 1 aircraft had a repetitive problem from 11 May to 5 June 2016, and the aircraft was grounded as a consequence, and that the aircraft now has to be repaired to find the cause of the errors. He also stated that the certificate for the engineer doing the repairs has been revoked. “That aircraft is an Air Asia Airbus A320,” he explained.

The second aircraft is a 737-300 from ExpressAir, registration PK-TXZ, which has had repeated reports of high temperature for engine number 1. “We grounded the aircraft. It can’t fly now until it is serviceable. That aircraft belongs to ExpressAir,” he revealed.

The third aircraft is a 737-300 from Sriwijaya Air, where an “engine number 1 head seal assembly error” was found. “That aircraft was recertified on 5 June and was grounded,” explained Alwi.

Such exercise is probably good for PR, and would impress the public, but this time, it seems that 2 of the airlines refused to play along with this “charade.”

Sriwijaya Air’s public explanation

Sriwijaya Air Head of Corporate Communications, Agus Soedjono, explained that the aircraft had already been taken off service when the ramp checks occured.

“The aircraft was not ramp-checked, it wasn’t operational. The aircraft had been scheduled to undergo renewal of the Certificate of Airworthiness. They placed it under the ramp-check category, but it was not,” said Agus Soejono.

The aircraft was not grounded because it was found to be non-airworthy while being in operational status. The aircraft was already taken offline by the airline as it was scheduled to undergo it’s C-Check.

 

Air Asia’s public explanation

Indonesia Air Asia Corporate Communications Baskoro Adiwiyono released a written statement on 9 June, stating that the aircraft that was ramp-checked by the DAAO was already in the middle of a maintenance monitoring and actions in accordance with the maintenance manuals from the aircraft manufacturers. He added that the actions taken were already agreed upon and is conducted with regular oversight by the Indonesian aviation regulators.

In addition, Baskoro also stated that all of Indonesia Air Asia engineers and technicians are certified by the regulators in order to be able to conduct their duties, and that all their technicians/engineers are qualified to undertake their tasks and that no one has had their certification/license revoked as a result of the ramp check finding.

Are Groundings Necessary Or Are They Just Trying To Look Tough?

I personally wonder, did the DAAO even check whether the aircraft were operating within the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) or DDG (Dispatch Deviations Guide) issued by the manufacturers (and approved by the DAAO)? Somehow I am not sure they did. I cannot comment on the ExpressAir case, because there is a lack of information, but my cynical self can’t help think that, maybe the temperature issue was just from concerned pilots that the engine temperature was higher than normal, but within the limitations.

As to the Sriwijaya Air and Air Asia case, I am having difficulty in finding the right expression or remark to use. The 737 was already taken offline and already scheduled for maintenance, I fail to see how that can be a finding in a ramp check, unless the inspectors didn’t know what they were doing (which is a much bigger concern to the industry as a whole). The A320, was still within the MEL limits and was being monitored and maintenance actions planned. This shouldn’t even be a finding unless again, the inspector didn’t know what they were doing. The claim of having revoked someone’s license/certificate that was refuted reveals another big worry, that is the inspectors may not only not know what they were doing, but they were making findings not because the findings needed to be made, but because they wanted to please their bosses by (erroneously) trying to act tough to the airlines.

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Ramp Check dan Retorika “Tidak ada toleransi untuk keselamatan udara!”

Dalam persiapan untuk peak-season Lebaran, Kemenhub melalui Direktorat Kelaikan Udara dan Pengoperasian Pesawat Udara (DKUPPU) serta Inspektorat Jendral (ItJen) melakukan ramp-check di 5 bandara besar (Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta (CGK/WIII), Surabaya Juanda (SUB/WARR), Bali Ngurah Rai (DPS/WADD), Medan Kualanamu (KNO/WIMM), dan Makassar Hasanudin (UPG/WAAA)) dari 27 Mei hingga 5 Juni.

“Sudah ada 133 pesawat di-ramp check untuk mengetahui sejak dini kesiapan armada melaksanakan angkutan di saat Lebaran,” jelas M Alwi ditemui detikcom di kantornya di Kemenhub, Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Jakarta Pusat, Rabu (8/6/2016).

Direktur Kelaikan Udara dan Pengoperasian Pesawat Udara, M Alwi menjelaskan, “Yang diperiksa fisik pesawat, teknik pesawat serta policy pesawat. Sampai ban dan limit break kita cek. Kami hanya memeriksa pesawat dan kru. Umumnya pihak operator sudah menyiapkan diri. Ban, kampas pengereman sudah siap,” jelas Alwi.

Namun dijelaskan bahwa ramp check kali ini menghasilkan temuan terhadap 3 pesawat yang harus di grounded. 1 pesawat dikabarkan mengalami kerusakan berulang dari 11 Mei hingga 5 Juni dan akibatnya pesawat di grounded agar pesawat bisa diperbaiki dan dicari penyebab kerusakan tersebut. Selain itu Alwi menjelaskan juga bahwa sertifikat engineer yang melakukan reparasi, dicabut. Pesawat itu dari Maskapai Indonesia Air Asia, tipe Airbus 320,” jelas Alwi.

Pesawat kedua adalah Boeing 737-300 dari ExpressAir dengan registrasi PK-TXZ, yang dilaporkan mengalami temperatur tinggi pada mesin kiri dari 24 Mei hingga 28 Mei. “Pesawat itu kita grounded. Kalau sudah begitu nggak boleh terbang sampai serviceable,” ungkapnya.

Pesawat ketiga adalah pesawat Boeing 737-300 milik Sriwijaya Air, dimana pada mesin kiri ditemukan head seal assembly error. “Tanggal 5 Juni kemarin pesawat itu disertifikasi ulang dan di-grounded,” jelas Alwi.

Tentu saja aksi² seperti ini bagus buat konsumsi masyarakat awam bahwa Kemenhub menerapkan kebijakan “tak ada toleransi untuk keselamatan udara,” namun sepertinya 2 dari 3 maskapai diatas tidak mau tinggal diam saja dalam “sandiwara” ini!

Penjelasan Sriwijaya Air

Head of Corporate Communications untuk Sriwjaya Air, Agus Soedjono, menjelaskan bahwa pesawat yang dimaksud bukan dalam status operasional pada saat ramp check dilakukan.

“Itu posisi pesawat bukan di ramp check, bukan pada saat operasional. Pesawat itu memang di-schedule oleh Sriwijaya untuk mendapatkan renewal certificate of airworthiness (CofA). Nah itu dimasukkan kategori ramp check, padahal enggak,” ucap Senior Manager Corporate Communication Agus Soejono kepada detikcom, Rabu (8/6/2016).

Jadi, pesawat tersebut tidak di grounded karena ramp check menemukan pesawat berada dalam status operasional namun tidak layak terbang. Pesawat tersebut sedang tidak berstatus operasional karena pihak maskapai sudah menjadwalkannya untuk melakukan C-Check (pemeliharaan sedang/berat per 4000 jam terbang)!

Penjelasan Air Asia

Setelah penjelasan oleh pihak Sriwijaya Air, pada tanggal 9 Juni, pihak Air Asia Indonesia pun memberikan penjelasan melalui Head of Corporate Secretary and Communications AirAsia Indonesia Baskoro Adiwiyono.

Terkait dengan adanya temuan pada salah satu pesawat kami saat ramp check yang dilakukan oleh Direktorat Kelaikan Udara dan Pengoperasian Pesawat Udara (DKUPPU), kami ingin menegaskan bahwa pesawat tersebut memang tengah berada dalam rangkaian proses perawatan dan pemantauan yang dilakukan oleh tim maintenance kami, sesuai dengan panduan yang dikeluarkan oleh pihak pabrikan pesawat.

Adapun program perawatan pesawat yang kami laksanakan telah mendapatkan persetujuan dan berlangsung dalam pemantauan secara berkala oleh pihak regulator di Indonesia.

Sehubungan dengan proses perawatan yang berlangsung, kami juga mengonfirmasikan bahwa seluruh teknisi AirAsia Indonesia memiliki sertifikat dari regulator serta melaksanakan tugas dalam koridor check and balance yang kami terapkan secara menyeluruh. Seluruh teknisi kami qualified dalam melaksanakan tugasnya, dan tidak ada satu orang pun yang dicabut sertifikatnya atas adanya temuan tersebut.

AirAsia Indonesia kembali ingin menekankan komitmennya pada kelancaran dan keselamatan operasional penerbangan serta kenyamanan penumpang, terutama jelang periode musim Lebaran tahun ini.

Dimana DirKUPPU M Alwi menjelaskan ada teknisi yang sertifikasinya dicabut, pihak Air Asia membantahnya dengan menjelaskan bahwa “tidak ada satu orang pun yang dicabut sertifikatnya atas adanya temuan tersebut.” Selain itu, kesimpulan dari penjelasan Air Asia tersebut adalah kerusakan berulang pada pesawat tersebut masih dalam penelusuran dan rektifikasi, dan pesawat masih layak terbang sesuai panduan yang dikeluarkan pabrik dan disetujui oleh pihak regulator Indonesia.

Jadi, Apa Maksud Dari Grounding² Ini?

Saya jadi berpikir, apakah yang melakukan inspeksi ramp check tersebut memeriksa apakah kerusakan² tersebut membuat pesawat tidak layak terbang sesuai dengan MEL (Minimum Equipment List) atau DDG (Dispatch Deviations Guide) untuk pesawat tersebut yang diterbitkan oleh pabrik pesawat dan disetujui oleh DKUPPU? Saya pribadi tidak  yakin. Saya juga tidak bisa berkomentar mengenai temuan untuk pesawat Expressair karena informasinya kurang, namun saya mulai berpikir, mungkinkah temperatur tinggi yang dilaporkan di mesin kiri pesawat yang menjadi temuan ramp check tersebut adalah karena kepedulian pilot mengenai kesehatan pesawatnya meskipun temperatur mesih tersebut masih dalam batas normal yang ditetapkan pabrik? Ya bisa saja!

Untuk kasus Sriwijaya Air dan Air Asia, saya sendiri hanya bisa geleng² kepala. 737 tersebut sudah dicabut dari penjadwalan terbang karena sudah dijadwalkan untuk melakukan perawatan, dan saya gagal paham kenapa hal tersebut menjadi temuan dalam ramp check, kecuali jika inspektur yang melakukan ramp check tersebut tidak mengerti (dan ini menjadi kekhawatiran yang lebih besar bagi industri penerbangan kita). A320nya pun sepertinya masih dalam batasan² yang diperbolehkan MEL, dan sedang di monitor sambil mencari penyebabnya. Lagi² ini seharusnya bukan menjadi finding dalam ramp check, kecuali inspekturnya tidak mengerti. Yang juga parah adalah klaim bahwa sertifikat engineer yang melakukan perbaikan terhadap pesawat tersebut dicabut sedangkan menurut maskapai hal tersebut tidak/belum terjadi.

Semua ini mengarah ke kesimpulan yang sangat mengkhawatirkan, bahwa temuan² dari ramp check tersebut bukanlah temuan² yang layak dilaporkan, tetapi adalah upaya pencitraan baik terhadap publik maupun atasan mereka bahwa mereka sedang tegas terhadap maskapai, tentunya dengan slogan, “kita tak ada toleransi untuk keselamatan udara.” Tidak ada toleransi? Lhapabrik pesawatnya sendiri memberikan toleransi melalui MEL dan DDG, dan itu disetujui pula oleh pihak regulator!

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MS804: Tuduhan vs Bukti mengenai 3x mendarat darurat 24 jam sebelum jatuh

Setelah seminggu kabur dari urusan kecelakaan MS804, saya sedikit jengkel ketika membaca tuduhan² yang menurut saya cukup aneh-bin-ajaib. Salah satu tuduhan tersebut adalah pesawat yang nahas tersebut mengalami 3 kali pendaratan darurat dalam 24 jam terakhir sebelum akhirnya jatuh. Tragisnya, salah satu koran terkemuka didunia memuat berita mengenai tuduhan tersebut:

The doomed EgyptAir plane that plunged into the Mediterranean last month with the loss of 66 lives was forced three times to turn around after taking off and return to three different airports in the 24 hours preceding the crash, reports say.

The Airbus A320’s warning systems signalled anomalies on board three times during the plane’s six rotations – between Asmara in Eritrea, Cairo, and Tunis – in the 24 hours before it disappeared on its final flight, according to French media.

But each time when it returned to the airport it had just taken off from, it was quickly allowed to leave again after inspectors carried out a technical audit and found nothing amiss, the reports said.

Kalau informasi ini benar pertanyaannya adalah bagaimana ratusan bahkan ribuan airplane geeks di dunia yang mengamati semua aspek kecelakaan ini serta investigasinya bisa tidak mengetahui hal ini? Jangan lupa bahwa bukti mengenai pergerakan dan jadwal pesawat bisa diakses dari sumber independen. Jika pesawat tersebut mengalami 3 masalah yang mengharuskan pesawat tersebut kembali ke bandara asal, tentu hal tersebut akan ada jejak rekamnya.

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Rekaman pergerakan pesawat di situs Flightradar24

Berdasarkan informasi diatas, pesawat tidak mengalami delay yang berarti dalam 24 jam terakhir sebelum jatuh. Bahkan ada 1 penerbangan yang pendaratannya 15 menit lebih awal. Ini tidak konsisten dengan tuduhan terjadinya 3x RTB (return-to-base, atau mendarat ke bandara asal). ini bukanlah informasi rahasia, ini informasi yang dapat diakses umum dan informasi yang tertera tidak membutuhkan proses pencernaan informasi yang banyak untuk menyimpulkan bahwa tuduhan tersebut adalah tidak benar. Namun kalau anda tetap ingin mendapatkan statement resmi, simak yang berikut:

“For me it is not true,” Safwat Musallam said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Dublin.

Sepertinya tuduhan ini merupakan upaya terkini dari oknum² pihak tertentu yang ingin menjatuhkan Mesir dengan kecelakaan ini. Secara pribadi, saya tidak peduli apakah pihak yang berwenang di Mesir bisa dipercaya atau tidak, karena masih ada data² dari sumber² independen, dan bilamana kita tidak percaya kepada pihak pemerintah Mesir (ya, kita tahu bahwa mereka sedang berupaya keras menjaga citra negara mereka demi mempertahankan industri pariwisata mereka), kita juga harus fair. Khusus mengenai komisaris utama Egyptair, Safwat Mussalam, saya rasa dia tidak berbohong di kutipan diatas.

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MS804: Claims of 3 emergencies versus the facts!

Having spent a week away from dealing with the MS804 crash, I was quite shocked to return finding new allegations that the aircraft has had 3 emergencies within 24 hours of the accident. Much to my dismay, one reputable newspaper wrote about this allegation:

The doomed EgyptAir plane that plunged into the Mediterranean last month with the loss of 66 lives was forced three times to turn around after taking off and return to three different airports in the 24 hours preceding the crash, reports say.

The Airbus A320’s warning systems signalled anomalies on board three times during the plane’s six rotations – between Asmara in Eritrea, Cairo, and Tunis – in the 24 hours before it disappeared on its final flight, according to French media.

But each time when it returned to the airport it had just taken off from, it was quickly allowed to leave again after inspectors carried out a technical audit and found nothing amiss, the reports said.

I find it unbelievable that this information would have been missed by the hundreds if not thousands of airplane geeks around the world looking into this accident. Let’s not forget that there is evidence of the aircraft’s movements. Had it suffered 3 anomalies requiring the aircraft to return to the airport it had just departed from, we would have seen a pattern of delays within the records.

The Evidence
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Screenshot of the aircraft’s recorded movements at Flightradar24

If we see the evidence above, in the last 24 hours of the aircraft’s life, it suffered no or little delays. In one occasion, it even landed early. This is inconsistent with allegations of three RTBs (return-to-base). This isn’t secret evidence, this is publicly available information that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to churn through and make a conclusion that the allegation is false. However, if you insist on an official version, well, here goes:

“For me it is not true,” Safwat Musallam said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Dublin.

It seems that this latest allegation is just another in a string of attempts to paint a bad light on the Egyptians. I personally don’t care whether the Egyptian authorities are to be trusted or not, but independent data exist, and even if one does not trust the Egyptian (as many would tell you they would tell lies in a desperate bid to save their tourism industry) one must give credit where it’s due. As for the Egyptair chairman, Safwat Mussalam, I doubt he’s lying in this instance.

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MS804 Synopsis 21May2016 0001Z

My Airliners.net colleague, Mr. FlyingTurtle is always kind enough to post periodic synopsis of accidents in order to keep discussions there not going too far astray. He has given permission for the synopsis to be put on the GerryAirways website.

Background
  1. 66 people were on board. None of the people on the manifest were on a terrorism watchlist.
  2. Leaked passenger list: According to a leaked passenger list, only very few of the passengers have a non-Arabic name. A leaked passenger list can be found on a anti-Muslim website http://www.shoebat.com
  3. Strangely, the plane mentioned on the leaked crew list is SUGBZ, but at least two confirmed victims (among them, French photographer Pascal Hess) do appear on the passenger list.
  4. Earlier that day, SU-GCC flew to Asmara (Eritrea) and Tunis, returning to Cairo each time.
  5. According to BBC, no terrorist organization has credibly claimed responsibility.
Flight History
  1. Flight entered Athens FIR at 2:24 AM. Last successful communication was at 2:48, the flight was cleared to the exit of Athens FIR. “The pilot was jocund and thanked in Greek.”
  2. Several ACARS messages beginning at 3:26 AM:
    – 00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
    – 00:26Z 561200 R SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR
    – 00:26Z 2600 SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE
  3. At 3:27, Athens Area Control Center (ACC) tried to communicate with the flight, to hand it over to the Cairo FIR. Repeated calls, also on the emergency frequency, went without any response. At the same time, 0:27Z, there was the “2600 AVIONICS SMOKE ACARS” message.
  4. ACARS message:
    – 00:28Z 561100 R FIXED WINDOW SENSOR
  5. The flight passed the FIR boundary at 3:29 AM. At the same time, these ACARS messages were sent:
    – 00:29Z 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT
    – 00:29Z 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT
    – After those, no more ACARS messages were received.
  6. At 3:29:40 AM, the flight was lost from ATC radar, almost 7 nm southeast of KUMBI (KUMBI lies on the FIR boundary). The civilian ATC radar track shows that the plane never departed FL370.
  7. The Greek Air Force was called, they were unable to track the plane with their radars (as it had already crashed at this time).
  8. Supposedly, the Greek Air Force’s primary radars did record the plane’s flight. “It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet.” (Paul Kammenos, Greek minister of defense)
Search
  1. First debris spotted at around noon of May 20th, about 290 km north of Alexandria. Among the first objects found are seats, luggage and body parts.
  2. Possible oil slick photographed by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellite.
Possible Explanations
  1. The crew did not respond to repeated calls by Athens ACC, yet the flight didn’t disappear from radar until a few minutes later. This suggests the crew was either incapacitated or unable to respond due to an emergency.
  2. The time span between the attempted calls by Athens ACC and the disappearance rules out an explosive event that would have totally crippled the plane.
  3. An on-board fire.
What can be reasonably ruled out?
  1. A struggle in the cockpit, including a hijacking.
  2. A bomb that led to a decompression (though not an incendiary device).
  3. Helios-type of accident (crew incapacitation due to asphyxiation) is improbable, as the plane would have simply continued the flight.

The synopsis is posted for readers to be able to keep track of developments on the accident, and be up to date with regards to discussions flows among serious enthusiasts and knowledge-sharing professionals.

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UPDATE: MS804 Turns and Descent Maybe Due To Smoke Removal Attempts

Information begin to surface on MS804’s aircraft automated messages (ACARS) containing aircraft warnings, faults, and status. It appears that aircraft may have had an in-flight fire and if so, the aircraft maneuvers could be due to Smoke Removal Emergency Procedures, which involves descending the aircraft to 10,000 feet and also opening the cockpit window.

The ACARS received were as follows (all times in UTC):

00:26 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
00:26 561200 R SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR
00:26 2600 SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE
00:27 2600 AVIONICS SMOKE
00:28 561100 R FIXED WINDOW SENSOR
00:29 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT
00:29 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT

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MS804: It doesn’t have to be terrorism!

As the search continues to find Egyptair MS804 (SU-GCC), speculation begin to surface as to the cause of the tragedy. While many point towards terrorism, I tend to keep an open mind and not fall to the “bandwagon” syndrome. A piece of information about the flight paths final moments were revealed by Panos Kammenos, the Greek Defence Minister based on military radar information, stated that “it turned 90⁰ to the left and then a 360⁰ turn towards the right, dropping from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet.”

The Times newspaper made an illustration on it’s understanding of the above piece of information.

MS804-desc1

Whilst Russian and Egyptian authorities, according to The Times, believed that this was an act of terrorism, the information provided by the Greek Defence Minister, in my opinion, says that there is a possibility that it isn’t.

A case of decompression?

An aircraft suffering rapid decompression at high altitude would need to descend to 10,000 feet as quickly as possible. However, making these kinds of descents can result in risk of collision amongst other aircraft along the same airway. With descent rates that can exceed -6,000 feet per minute, you really don’t want to have a TCAS warning whilst doing the emergency descent. So the solution is, and is standard emergency descent procedure, to turn 90⁰ to the left or right (depending on the situation), to get away from airway and minimise collision risks with anyone else on the airway. After you get away from the airway, you then bring yourself parallel to the airway, to minimize your chances of losing your bearings and end up in another airway. This can explain if the MS804 had a 90⁰ left turn followed by a 90⁰ turn to the right.

An example of this 90⁰ turn followed by an opposite 90⁰ turn was during a decompression case I followed a few months ago. In this case, another A320 operated by Citilink operating flight QG861 had a decompression and the crew decided to make an emergency descent with those 90⁰ turns.

QG861Decomp
Citilink QG861 PK-GLI had a decompression in January 2016, shows the tell-tale sign of the 90-degree turns you would expect in an emergency descent.
QG861-compo
A close-up sequence snapshots of QG861 emergency descent, showing why it was necessary to make the turns which has now become standard procedures.
So why did they continue the right turn into a 360⁰ turn?

This is of course, the multi-million dollar question at the moment. On the case of QG861, I interviewed the captain of this incident (he happens to be a good friend of mine), and I showed him his flight path, and he asked, “Did I really exceed 90⁰ heading change on the initial turn?” Our conclusion was that in extreme attitudes, one’s skill and judgement is tested, and the risks of becoming disoriented went significantly higher than normal.

Of course there may be major differences between the two cases, but let us remind ourselves of the situation with MS804. QG861 happened in daylight hours while MS804 happened during the early hours in the morning, quite likely fatigued, and right inside what I refer to as “disorientation black hole” (for lack of a better term). The turning maneuvers if not done correctly, could have resulted in the aircraft entering an upset attitude, which if not corrected, could lead to loss of control or inflight breakup. Cases such as Ethiopian 409 in Beirut, Kenya Airways 507 in Douala and even Adam Air 571. But these thoughts of decompression and disorientation are just “ifs and maybes” at the moment, but to me, they look more credible than the “if it turned like it did then it had to be unlawful interference” or “it has to be a terror attack” bandwagon calls.

OK, now if it was decompression, what caused it?

It could be anything. While an act of terror is possible, it doesn’t have to be, but we will find out the clues to point us in the right direction once the wreckage is found.

EgyptAir-Logo

Pesawat Egyptair dari Paris ke Kairo hilang

 

Egyptair telah mengkonfirmasi bahwa salah satu pesawatnya hilang. Penerbangan nomor MS804 dari Paris Charles de Gaulle ke Kairo hilang dari pantauan radar sekitar 10 nautical mile setelah memasuki airspace Mesir sekitar pukul 0230 waktu setempat. Pesawat yang digunakan adalah pesawat Airbus A320 dengan registrasi SU-GCC yang merupakan pesawat A320 ke 2088, terbang pertama pada 25 Juli 2003 dan diserah-terima ke Egyptair pada 3 November 2003. Dilaporkan ada 58 penumpang dan 10 awak didalam pesawat yang dijadwalkan mendarat 3 jam yang lalu. Pihak Egyptair telah mengeluarkan beberapa pernyataan resmi dan Search and Rescue dimobilisasi oleh pihak pemerintah Mesir pagi ini.

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Replay rekaman ADS-B penerbangan di situs FlightRadar24

 

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Egyptair flight Paris-Cairo goes missing

 

Egyptair has confirmed that one of it’s aircraft has gone missing. Flight MS804 from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Cairo disappeared roughly 10 nautical miles after entering Egyptian airspace this morning at around 0230 local time. The flight was operated by an Airbus A320 registered SU-GCC msn 2088 that made it’s first flight 25 July 2003 and delivered to Egyptair 3 November 2003. The aircraft was carrying 58 passengers and 10 crew members. The flight was due to land 3 hours ago (at the time of writing). Egyptair has made several official statements regarding this tragedy and search efforts are underway.

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Flight playback on FlightRadar24 ADS-B tracking site and showing the last recorded position.