AirAsia Tragedy Blamed on Quick Ascent

By Tamanna Desai,
International News Writer

On December 28, Air Asia flight QZ8501 vanished off the Indonesian flight radar with 162 passengers on board and no survivors.

Multiple factors were considered as to why the plane crashed including pilot’s miscalculation, intense storm winds, a possible terrorist attack in the cockpit, and the plane’s abnormal climb above height guidelines.

The possibility of a terrorist attack was taken out of the equation after multiple reports affirmed that that was not the issue. As of now, only 59 bodies have been found according to

Furthermore, flight investigators have not been able to search the depths of the area of the Java Sea where the plane had crashed due to strong ocean currents and zero visibility.

Following the recent discovery of the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, commonly known as the “black box,” earlier in the week, Indonesian officials have been able to conclude that the plane ascended too quickly, causing it to stall and plummet into the sea.

According to the BBC, Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told a hearing of government officials that flight QZ8501 had ascended at a speed of 6,000 feet per minute.

“It is not normal to climb like that,” Mr. Jonan said. “It’s very rare for commercial planes, which normally climb just 1,000 to 2,000 feet per minute.”

Earlier in the search, air traffic controllers in Jakarta had released the conversation between the Indonesian airport and the plane shortly before the disappearance. On December 28, the pilot had asked to climb to an abnormal height in an attempt to avoid severe thunderstorms.

The traffic controller refused permission to the pilot as heights above 32,000 feet are considered dangerous for commercial flights. After the conversation, the plane vanished off the radar.

A similar occurrence    happened back in 2009 with a Rio De Janeiro flight traveling to Paris. Both flights were  airbus flights.

Pilots undergo rigorous training and preparation for situations such as plane stalls, but many customers are starting to become wary about the dangers of air travel.

Sources say, however, that air travel is still safe, and that the level of precaution taken is higher than that of any other travel method.

New safety measures are being put into action, flight routes are being double-checked, and passengers now have the   option to pick flights based upon the route that they will take.

Salvage teams are now starting to raise the flight’s fuselage, despite an unsuccessful first attempt. Earlier efforts at raising more of the wreck have been hampered by   unfavorable sea and weather conditions, while officials report that loose objects in the fuselage may also cause problems.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 27th print edition.

Contact Tamanna at

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