Archive for category Transport

Weather Worries Remain in Hunt for AirAsia Plane

By EILEEN NG and ROBIN McDOWELL Associated Press
ABC News
Jan 1, 2015

SURABAYA, Indonesia —

More ships arrived Friday with sensitive equipment to search for the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the more than 150 people still missing since it crashed five days ago.

Rear Marshal Henry Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said the search would be stepped up as long as the weather allowed.

“We will focus on underwater detection,” said Soelistyo, adding ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S. had been on the scene from before dawn Friday to try to pinpoint the wreckage and the all-important black boxes? the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people on board. Nine bodies have been recovered so far.

Nine planes, many with metal detectors, were also scouring a 13,500 square kilometer (8,380 square mile) area off Pangkalan Bun, the closest town on Borneo island to the search area. Two Japanese ships with three helicopters are on their way to the area, Soelistyo said. Read the rest of this entry »

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The search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Where things stand

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
January 1, 2015

(CNN) — Searchers looking for more bodies and wreckage from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea faced fresh difficulties with bad weather Thursday.

Ships, planes and helicopters are being used to find victims of the disaster. Most of the people on board the flight remain missing, and officials are yet to confirm that they’ve found the plane’s fuselage.

Here’s key information about where things stand:

The flight

What we know: Flight QZ8501 took off early Sunday from Surabaya, Indonesia, bound for Singapore. Roughly 35 minutes into the flight, the pilot asked air traffic control for permission to turn left and climb to a higher altitude to avoid bad weather. Minutes later, the plane disappeared from air traffic control’s radar.

What we don’t know: What happened on board after contact with the plane was lost. No distress call was received. Indonesian aviation authorities have suggested that the plane ascended despite permission being denied because of traffic.

Some experts have speculated that the aircraft might have experienced an aerodynamic stall because of a lack of speed or from flying at too sharp an angle to get enough lift. Analysts have also suggested that the pilots might not have been getting information from onboard systems about the plane’s position, or that rain or hail from thunderstorms in the area could have damaged the engines.

Until the main wreckage of the plane is found, along with the flight recorders, experts have little evidence to support their theories. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Unbelievably’ steep climb recorded before AirAsia crash, report says
December 31, 2014

Investigators working to piece together what led to the AirAsia Flight 8501 disaster discovered radar evidence indicating that the plane made an “unbelievably” steep climb moments before the crash, Reuters reported Wednesday.

“So far, the numbers taken by the radar are unbelievably high. This rate of climb is very high, too high. It appears to be beyond the performance envelope of the aircraft,” a source close to the investigation told the news agency.

Poor weather conditions Wednesday have prevented divers from carrying out their recovery operations and largely grounded helicopters, though ships were still scouring the area.

Indonesian search and rescue Chief Bambang Soelistyo said that the bodies of four men and three women had been recovered earlier in the morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 questions about the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 tragedy

By Laura Smith-Spark and Ashley Fantz, CNN
December 30, 2014

(CNN) — The discovery of debris from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 means investigators have taken a big step toward answering the questions haunting the families of those aboard the doomed plane. What are the key questions, and what might come next?

What caused the plane to crash?

It’s the million-dollar question. And as yet, nobody knows. Ahead lies a possibly months-long investigation into what happened after the Airbus A320-200 lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday.

Shortly beforehand, the pilot requested permission to turn and climb to a higher altitude because of bad weather, according to Indonesian officials.

Some experts have said the aircraft might have experienced an aerodynamic stall because of a lack of speed or from flying at too sharp an angle to get enough lift.

Analysts have also said that the pilots might not have been getting information from onboard systems about the plane’s position or that rain or hail from thunderstorms in the area could have damaged the engines.

The key to understanding what happened is likely to be contained in the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, commonly known as black boxes.

“Until we get the black boxes, we won’t know what’s going on with the engines,” Bill Savage, a former pilot with 30 years of experience, told CNN. Read the rest of this entry »

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UPDATE 6-Bodies, debris from missing AirAsia plane pulled from sea off Indonesia

Dec 30, 2014

By Wilda Asmarini and Adriana Nina Kusuma

JAKARTA, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Indonesian rescuers searching for a missing AirAsia plane carrying 162 people pulled bodies and wreckage from the sea off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday as relatives of those on board broke down in tears on hearing the news.

Indonesia AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday during bad weather on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

The navy said 40 bodies had been recovered as dusk fell.

The plane has yet to be found and there was no word on the possibility of any survivors. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Do Planes Keep Disappearing?

By Jeff Wise
Dec. 29, 2014

With AirAsia 8501, a storm could have been the cause. With Malaysia Airlines 370, we still don’t know.

March 8, 2014. Malaysia Airlines 370 takes off from Kuala Lumpur, heads north, and disappears 40 minutes into its flight. Dec. 28, 2014. AirAsia 8501 takes off from Surabaya, Indonesia, heads north, and disappears about 40 minutes into its flight.*

Are the events coincidental? Is there something about Southeast Asian passenger flights that makes them particularly vulnerable to Twilight Zone–style vanishing? Or have we entered a new era of air travel, in which anyone could disappear midair for no apparent reason?

There are certainly a number of parallels between the flights. AirAsia Indonesia is a daughter company of AirAsia, which—like Malaysia Airlines—is headquartered near Kuala Lumpur. Both flights were scheduled to arrive in the morning. Neither issued a distress call or sent out an emergency locator beacon signal. And then there’s the question of proximity, both temporal (the incidents took place less than 10 months apart) and spatial (QZ8501 was last seen on radar less than 50 miles from the final MH370 “ping ring”). Read the rest of this entry »

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Why after 57 years of Umno/BN government, and the “seminal” 22 years of Mahathir premiership, Malaysia is producing minnows instead of towering personalities so much so that we have to appoint an “orang putih” to save MAS?

The suggestion by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir that Malaysia should have a white man (orang putih) as Prime Minister is most amusing and even comical, coming from a person who had breathed fire and brimstone in the last general elections, throwing all political scruples to the winds in falsely accusing me of spearheading a Chinese grab of the political power of the Malays by contesting in the Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency, who suddenly produced a “new rabbit from his hat” – an ‘orang putih’ Prime Minister in Malaysia.

Of course, Mahathir was indulging in his classic “tongue-in-cheek” Mahathirism in objecting to the appointment of a German, Christoph Mueller as MAS chief executive officer to manage and save the revamped national airline, MAS from next year.

I agree with Mahathir that it is an indictment of Malaysia’s talents, skills, expertise and intellectual prowess that we could not find a Malaysian to save MAS.

Are Malaysians so bereft of talents, skills, experience and expertise that we have to go outside the country to source for a saviour for MAS?

The question all Malaysians must ponder is why after 57 years of Umno/BN government, and in particular what is regarded as a “seminal” 22-year Mahathir premiership, followed by the Abdullah and Najib premierships, to produce Towering Malaysians, Malaysia seems to be producing minnows instead of towering Malaysians in various fields of human endeavour whom we can export all over the world to help other countries in distress with their talents, skills, experience and expertise?

How can we save the world when we cannot even save ourselves?

Why have we been increasingly reduced to a near “basket case” as to have to appoint an “orang putih” to save our national airline? Is there not a single soul in Malaysia who could be appointed to do the job? Read the rest of this entry »

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Passengers praise MAS pilot for landing troubled flight safely

The Malay Mail Online
April 21, 2014

SEPANG, April 21 — Passengers of a troubled MAS flight to Bengaluru (Bangalore), India, praised the pilot for having turned back and landed the aircraft safely at the KL International Airport early today.

Passenger Masluhuddin Khan, 30s, an Australian national of Indian descent, said that though it was the most frightening experience of his life, he was glad that the pilot made a ‘perfect’ emergency landing.

MAS Flight MH192 left KLIA at 10.09 pm yesterday for Bengaluru but detected a right landing gear malfunction, turned back and made an emergency landing at KLIA at 1.56am today.

The plane, carrying 159 passengers and seven crew, was piloted by Capt Nor Adam Azmi, with Prakash Kumar as the co-pilot.

Masluhuddin said the pilot kept the passengers informed through the intercom system every 20 minutes of the measures he was taking as the aircraft maintained a holding pattern for about four hours.

“All the passengers were cool and calm on board; everything went well inside the cabin,” he said when met by reporters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Passengers on MH192 praise pilot’s calm handling of situation

by Muzliza Mustafa
The Malaysian Insider
April 21, 2014

Passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH192 bound for Bangalore, which had to return to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport a few hours later after its departure last night, praised the crew for handling the situation calmly.

Passengers said the aircraft had a “bumpy” take-off when it departed from KLIA about 10.15pm yesterday.

Marta Alonso, a telecommunication engineer from Spain, said she knew something was not right as soon as the plane took off.

“It was bumpy and shaky. Not long after that the pilot announced we needed to make an emergency landing. It was frightening,” she said at the airport today.

Alonso was one of the 159 passengers and seven crew members onboard of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

She said the cabin crew, however, remained under control.

“It was calm. The pilot did a good job by giving a constant update on the situation,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Suspense as MH192 makes dramatic emergency landing

Koh Jun Lin
1:51AM Apr 21, 2014

Passengers on board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH192 faced a four hour terror ride after the landing gear malfunctioned shortly after take off, forcing a turnback and several attempts at an emergency landing.

At about 2am, the plane successfully made an emergency landing. There were 166 people on board.

Flight MH192 departed at 10.09pm for Bangalore last night. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was supposed to have arrived at 2.35am (Malaysian time) today.

In a press release after the plane had landed, MAS said the right main landing tire had burst during take off.

“The captain was alerted by Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control that tyre debris were found on the runway and immediately contacted Malaysia Airlines Operations Control Centre (OCC) at 10:25pm.

“As safety is of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to KLIA,” said MAS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines criticised over London incident

The New Zealand Herald
Friday Apr 11, 2014

Britain’s air accidents investigator has criticised Malaysia Airlines for its lack of proper oversight in preserving flight recordings during an incident at London’s Heathrow Airport in 2012.

A Boeing 747 bound for Kuala Lumpur, carrying 340 passengers, had to return to Heathrow soon after takeoff because of engine and electrical failures on Aug. 17, 2012.

The pilots flew the plane manually and returned to the airport safely. Read the rest of this entry »

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More cracks found in klia2, a month before starting business

The Malaysian Insider
April 02, 2014

Newly found cracks on the klia2 apron and building have cast doubts on the RM4 billion budget airport terminal’s safety, weeks before it is due to begin operations and at a time of global scrutiny after flight MH370 vanished, aviation industry sources say.

The sources passed a set of 13 photographs taken yesterday to The Malaysian Insider, revealing cracks on the apron and also rectified cracks on walls of the two-storey budget terminal.

“The photos tell the story of whether klia2 is ready or not to be used,” an aviation source told The Malaysian Insider.

This is the second set of photographs sent to The Malaysian Insider about the condition of the new terminal, which can cater for up to 45 million passengers through its 64 gates.

It is understood that klia2 operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has assured the government that it would carry out remedial works that would not affect the terminal’s opening and operations from May 2. The opening date has been delayed at least five times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Classified data shows plane may have crashed in Bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

Classified intelligence analysis of electronic and satellite data has indicated that the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight 370 likely crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or somewhere in the Indian Ocean, an exclusive report by the CNN said.

If this information is true, it would offer the first glimpse of concrete details about what happened to the Beijing-bound flight which went off the radar early last Saturday.

It had enough credibility for the United States to move its guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, into the Indian Ocean, and Indian officials to expand its search effort into the Bay of Bengal.

An aviation industry source told CNN that the flight’s automated communications system appeared to be intact for up to five hours, because “pings” from the system were received after the transponder last emitted a signal.

The CNN report said taken together, the data points toward speculation in a dark scenario in which someone took the plane for some unknown purpose, perhaps terrorism.

That theory is buoyed by a New York Times (NYT) report that the MAS plane made several significant altitude changes after losing transponder contact.

The paper said MH370 altered its course more than once as though it was still under the command of a pilot. Read the rest of this entry »

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US ship, plane to search Bay of Bengal for missing jet

The Malay Mail Online
March 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 15 ― A US naval ship and surveillance plane are heading to the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal to search for a missing Malaysian airliner that vanished a week ago, officials said yesterday.

US media reports, meanwhile, suggested the plane experienced marked changes in altitude after it lost contact with ground control, and altered its course more than once as if still under the command of a pilot.

A P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, were due to aid the international hunt for the jet as the search effort extended further west, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.

“At Malaysia’s request, the USS Kidd is north of the Straits of Malacca in what we’re calling the western search area,” Warren told reporters in Washington.

The Kidd was preparing to search the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal for the Malaysia Airlines plane. Read the rest of this entry »

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Could MH370 have landed?

The Malay Mail Online
March 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 ― With new evidence suggesting the possibility that missing jetliner MH370 had been deliberately piloted towards the Andaman Islands, another theory has now emerged out of the woodwork ― could someone have landed aircraft?

Reuters cited two sources yesterday as saying that investigators believe the plane had been directed between navigational waypoints after it lost contact with ground control, which indicated it was being flown by someone with aviation training.

It cited another source as saying that investigations are now looking at the possibility of foul play, with signs pointing increasingly to the likelihood that a person who knew how to fly a plane had deliberately swung the aircraft hundred of miles off its original course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, towards the Andaman Islands.

“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” Reuters had quoted a “a senior Malaysian police official” as saying.

Although this is at best just conjecture for now, it may be one of the few working theories that could finally expose more conclusive leads to what experts have described as the most baffling of mysteries in aviation history.

But if the Malaysia Airlines aircraft had truly made the air turn-back as suspected, if it had headed to the Andaman Islands as satellite data and US officials have suggested, and if it indeed had landed, where in the remote Indian archipelago could it have parked itself so stealthily out of sight? Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 hijack theory includes intent to use plane for ‘nefarious purposes’, say US officials

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

With evidence showing a missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200ER could still be intact, US officials have not ruled out that flight MH370 was flown to a secret site so that it could be used at a later date.

There has been no trace or debris field on land or sea that is linked to the plane carrying 239 people, which vanished while on a red-eye flight to Beijing last Saturday.

“I am keenly interested in resolving this mystery so we can discard the possibility, however remote, that the airplane can be used for nefarious purposes against us in the future,” ABC News quoted a US official as saying.

The official added that “all our intelligence assets” are being used to try to figure this out.

Investigators searching for the missing MAS passenger jet said that they could not rule out hijacking and are looking at whether one of the plane’s pilots or crew could have been involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellites scour earth for clues as missing jet mystery deepens

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

An unprecedented international effort is under way from space to track the missing Malaysia passenger jet as satellite operators, government agencies and rival nations sweep their gaze across two oceans in search of elusive debris or data.

Six days after the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing with 239 people on board, the search has widened to the Andaman Sea, northwest of the Malay Peninsula, with only one precious clue – an ephemeral “ping” detected five or six times after the plane lost contact – picked up in orbit.

Disaster relief agencies and governments are co-operating across political divides, and in the absence of a formal probe are finding informal ways to share information, including via China’s weather agency, a person involved in the search said.

“I haven’t seen this sort of level of involvement of satellites in accident investigation before,” said Matthew Greaves, head of the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre at Cranfield University in Bedford, England. “It is only going to get more important until they find some wreckage.”

Several governments are using imagery satellites – platforms that take high definition photos – while data from private sector communications satellites is also being examined. Read the rest of this entry »

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India scours uninhabited jungle islands for lost MH370 jetliner

The Malaysian Insider
March 14, 2014

Indian aircraft combed Andaman and Nicobar, made up of more than 500 mostly uninhabited islands, for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner that evidence suggests was last headed towards the heavily forested archipelago.

Popular with tourists and anthropologists alike, the islands form India’s most isolated state. They are best known for dense rainforests, coral reefs and hunter-gatherer tribes who have long resisted contact with outsiders.

The search for flight MH370 turned west toward the islands after Malaysia’s air force chief said military radar had detected an unidentified aircraft suspected to be the lost Boeing 777 to the west of Malaysia early on Saturday.

Two sources yesterday told Reuters the unidentified aircraft appeared to be following a commonly used navigational route that would take it over the islands.

The Indian navy has deployed two Dornier planes to fly across the island chain, a total area of 720 km by 52 km, Indian military spokesman Harmeet Singh said in the state capital, Port Blair. So far the planes, and a helicopter searching the coast, had found nothing.

“This operation is like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Singh, who is the spokesman for joint air force, navy and army command in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aviation experts question shift in search for MH370

The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The dramatic expansion of the search for a missing Malaysian airliner suggests the plane flew thousands of miles off course, crossing — apparently undetected — a sensitive region bristling with military radar.

Aviation experts today queried the plausibility of such a scenario, but confirmation from US and Malaysian officials that the search was being widened into the vast Indian Ocean suggested it had credible underpinnings.

If there was a debate over what might have happened to Flight MH370, there was a general consensus as to the extraordinary nature of its disappearance without trace a week ago over the South China Sea.

“I would probably go ahead and say this is unprecedented,” said Anthony Brickhouse, a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.

“In most investigations each day you move forward, you uncover more things, more clues,” Brickhouse told AFP. Read the rest of this entry »

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London-based satellite firm says MH370 registered signals on its network

The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Global satellite company Inmarsat revealed today that it had registered “routine, automated signals” from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur.

The news adds to the intrigue surrounding the aircraft’s disappearance, particularly as it appears to corroborate reports that said satellites had picked up faint, electronic pulses or “pings” from MH370 hours after it was last heard from.

Inmarsat, a London-based firm, reported its findings in a statement on its website but did not elaborate on when or how long the signals were received.

“This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with Malaysia Airlines,” it said in the statement, adding that further information should be obtained from MAS, the owner of the Boeing 777 aircraft that went missing.

SITA is a global specialist in air transport communications and information technology. Read the rest of this entry »

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