AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact

When MH370 went missing, this publicity material appeared in AirAsia inflight magazine.

When MH370 went missing, this publicity material appeared in AirAsia’s inflight magazine.

 

Updates at 10:00 am on 30-12-2014:  The SAR for the past 2 days have no positive result. It has been reported that the SAR has been expanded to a bigger area. Lets pray for the passengers, crew and their loved ones.

Updates at 11:50 pm on 28-12-2014:  AirAsia flight from Penang to Langkawi did an air turn back after airborne for 10 minutes this evening. For more detail please read Free Malaysia Today/FMT.  As at this hour, there was still no sign of the missing AirAsia plane. The SAR has been called off for today. It will resume tomorrow art 7 am.

 

Lets pray for the safety of the 155 passengers and crew of the AirAsia flight QZ8501, which has now been confirmed by AirAsia to have gone missing.

Please read below for Reuters report.

 

An  AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday, Indonesian media said, citing a Transport Ministry official.

 

Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the aircraft, flight number QZ 8501, lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17 a.m local time. (2317 GMT).

 

The Airbus 320-200 had 155 passengers and crew on board, another Indonesian Transport official said.

 

Mustofa said the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.

 

The flight had been due in Singapore at 8:30 am Singapore time (0030 GMT).

 

The Singapore airport said on its website the status of the flight was “delayed”.

 

This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

 

REUTERS

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41 thoughts on “AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact

  1. Anonymous

    YB,
    Thank you for the reminder of the publicity material AAsia had in its inflight magazine.after the MAS 370 incident. I hope it will hound them for the rest of their life for whoever wrote or asked to write that statement. Tony and the AASia management must remember there is GOD. Tony is not GOD as some AASIA staffs think esp those of his kind.
    God bless the innocent passengers !!

    Reply
  2. Chan

    “Rest assured that your Captain is swell prepared to ensure that your plane will never get lost.”

    This was how AirAsia promoted its business at the time when the whole world was praying for the passengers and crew of MH370. This had shown that AirAsia was insensitive and thrived on the miseries of others.

    Of course, there was a public outcry and AirAsia had to withdraw this issue of its inflight magazine.

    What have you got to say about this, Tony?

    Reply
    1. Every Everyone Know Him

      You are right that he is very arrogant. Now he is a dumb. He is still trying to spin in his press conference. He said the pilot has more than 10,000 hours but new report said only 6,000 if i am not mistaken. A spinner will always be a spinner. A leopard cannot change its spot.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Please check your facts. The pilot indeed has >20,000 flying hours under his belt, incl his stint at Indonesia Air Force

  3. Anonymous

    The Indonesian DCA should investigate the Crew flying time and duty limitations. There are reports out of Indonesia that pilots are made to fly well above the annual flying hours limitations but in their log books they record what is within the agreed limits.
    With the current pay scheme where pilots get paid more by the hours they fly, with a low basic salary, greedy pilots will flaunt all rules to earn more. They will fly even though they are sick or not having the mandatory rest required before a flight. This is dangerous.
    Fatigue is the concern for all airlines. The CAA UK has a guide for airmen in their document CAP 371 which highlight the need to manage fatigue.
    Pilots don’t have the luxury of time to make decisions and the wrong one can be fatal.

    Reply
  4. Hasnul

    Is passengers safety the issue here? Safety is not the main priority for AirAsia. Indonesian DCA must do a thorough check on safety issue in AirAsia. The number of hours rest for crew and pilots. Whether the plane was regularly service and maintain. When was the C-Check done and etc?

    Reply
  5. beastofburden

    YB, Have you heard about this “‘Pay to Fly”‘ for new pilots in Air Asia.
    From what i have read from pprune pilots blog newbie pilot need to pay to be in the cockpit something like RM..,000 or so.

    Reply
  6. Warrior 231

    While my heart reaches out to the relatives and close ones of those missing, I have no feelings of sympathy let alone empathy for TF, the arrogant showman par excellence

    1. For starters those interested for backgrounders should check out what an AA captain once wrote: (Captain Lim Khoy Hing is a former AirAsia Airbus A320 and AirAsia X A330/A340 pilot who also used to fly the Boeing 777.)

    “A cautious captain will normally not fly into a raging storm. Instead, he would wait for the rain to subside first before taking off.”

    http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty/from-the-magazine/highlights/pilotsperspective/real-vs-reel-pilots

    “Thunder clouds are shown on the radar screen of the plane as red and pilots avoid them like the plague! Flying in their vicinity would make for a choppy ride and lightning strikes become a possibility.

    Depending on the height of the plane and the clouds, the captain may request deviation of around 20 nautical miles in order to stay clear of turbulence associated with this cloud.

    Rain may reduce visibility during take-off or landing. Commercial airliners have strict rules about weather conditions, including minimum visibility. There are operational limitations. For instance, I have refused to take off in the rain with cross winds during an approaching typhoon – a decision that incurred the ire of some passengers. Such actions are taken with the safety of passengers in mind.”

    http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty/from-the-magazine/highlights/pilotsperspective/weathering-obstacles

    2,Readers may also want to go here :

    Flying into storms to be feared, avoided: pilots

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/02/us-france-plane-pilots-sb-idUSTRE5513WN20090602

    3. And given what happened to Air France 2009, this may give them something to ponder about:

    http://syamil-revert.blogspot.com/2009/06/mas-and-airasia-have-issued-statements.html

    http://syamil-revert.blogspot.com/2009/06/flying-coffins.html

    http://syamil-revert.blogspot.com/2009/07/flying-frenchmanerrr-dutchman.html

    Now folks, I am not in the least implying that rain, storm clouds or faulty ADIRUs are the cause but given reservations expressed by an in-house experienced pilot, one can’t help wondering if an accident was waiting to happen all along……

    Warrior 231

    Reply
  7. Warrior 231

    Spot on anon 2.51pm but I reckon in this case given the flight’ s short time frame, there would have been sufficient fuel as per contingencies. In any case, a deviation in flight path was requested but it appears it was not suffcient enough. Advanced avionics these days virtually ensures that storms could be detected on inflight radar from miles away. It is a question of whether or not to fly through that bothersome natural phenomena. Note, an unplanned detour would have meant extra costs not to mention a scrambled flight schedule thenceforth meaning more costs……….That is why certain commercial outfits mandate their pilots to chance it. Now I am not implying anything here but getting to the destination in the shortest possible time with minimal fuel burn is an industry maxim cum euphemism for healthier bottom lines.

    The other question is why bring forward the flight given inclement weather in the region and by default the poor visibility conditions that would have prevailed in those pre-sunrise hours.

    As I said, there are several factors that come together to create the perfect storm but one can still question whether common sense went AWOL in all previous circumstances till one fine dawn, Lady Luck decided to abscond too…..

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Questions to be answered….why was the flight planned on the route with inclement weather, why did the flight dispatcher filed the flight on that route knowing very well of the weather, did he check the weather enroute??? why did the Captain accepted the flight on such a route, did he check the weather enroute?? To me, the decision made by ALL to proceed on the route is questionable.

    What is the standard of Flight dispatching in Air Asia, are the flight dispatchers licensed, or just someone who simply pass on the documents to the pilots?? Why was the flight not rerouted away from the weather? Did anybody really check the enroute weather??

    Professional flight dispatchers will not plan a flight into such a weather.

    Nice to know.

    Reply
    1. Warrior 231

      That would be defined as an accepted standard practice by the local bourse and local dailies. While the timing in all likelihood is coincidental, pariah’s act does raise the question as to why one who happens to be founder/CEO cum major stakeholder would want to relieve himself of a stake in the very agency that is liable for any mishaps/accidents/injuries as per standard insurance provisions involving the clients of his other major corporate outfit?

      Sounds bizarre doesn’t it but that question automatically pops up so I am probably thinking aloud there…hahaha.

      Maybe he was raising dough to finance QPR’s January window spending spree in a probably futile bid to stave off relegation and I sure hope they do go down…hahaha

      I am not implying anything at all as everything could well be purely coincidental but talk about fate, happenstance, etcetera.

      Interesting too, that two weeks beforehand a blog entry in China send out this equally interesting message:

      http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/unknown-blogger-sparks-online-storm-with-warning-of-disaster-before-airasia

      I reckon that blackhand whoever it may be has a penchant for opposition politics….(wink…wink) and one that may displace Malay/Islamic suzerainty…Far fetched?….think about it when geopolitics manoeuvrings and strategizing are in over drive in anticipation of the impending global conflagration…

      And to top off all that absurdity here is another interesting tidbit :

      Two large families are NoShows and miss the flight. The Susanto family and the Cahyono family.

      Just a pure coincidence:-

      Police General Unggung Cahyono was, until September 2014, the boss of the police in Surabaya.

      The Force Commander of the Military Sea Traffic for Surabaya is, yes, you guessed it, Col Budi Susanto.

      Could well be same names different persons!

      Reply
  9. Tony The Con Man

    I hope that the investigators will look into the safety issues within AirAsia. Look at the Spin Dr, he is still spinning all the ways I front of tv cameras. I am sure that the foreign press is not easily fooled by the Spin Dr. Star and BK Sidhu will help him to spin. Soon he will be exposed by the foreign press. Mark my words!

    Let’s see whether the Spin Dr could still spin in 2015!

    Reply
    1. Con Artist Tony

      Absolutely correct. Safety issues are not the priority of AirAsia because safety cost a lot of money. How could AirAsia make so much profit as reported by the press especially highlighted by the Star. There is no low cost fuel by the way. Remember of DCA refused to give a one full year Air Operation Certificate (AOC). So this says it all.

      Reply
  10. Lim Setapak

    Indonesia and Malaysian DCA must view the issuance of the AOC seriously because many lives are at stake. We have has enough of air tragedies and we cannot afford anymore of the tragedies.

    The DCA must adhere to stringent rules and procedures before the issuance of AOC.

    Reply
  11. KB Sandhu

    Australia have also barred Indonesia AirAsia X from operating flights from Melbourne to Bali for alleged safety irregularities and non-compliance. When is ASEAN going to do the same.

    An immediate audit (and grounding of all AirAsia aircrafts, if necessary) must be done by all the Civil Aviation Authorities in countries which have issue AirAsia AOCs.

    There can and should never be compromises on safety!

    http://www.focusmalaysia.my/Mainstream/Challenging%20task%20restoring%20traveller%20confidence

    Reply
    1. Alvin

      Safety is always an issue with AirAsia. It’s all about saving money. Please be reminded that Tony Fernandes had once said “If the fare is low enough, Malaysians are prepared to risk their lives.” This is how the pariah looks at Malaysians. We must all be aware of this statement and the AA modus operandi.

      Reply
  12. Bee Kay Fakdunggu

    Indonesia’s Transport Ministry has suspended temporarily the Surabaya-Singapore air route permit for Indonesia AirAsia, over suspicion the airline may have violated an agreement on the number of times it is allowed to ply that flight path.

    The suspension is effective today and will depend on the outcome of the government’s investigation and evaluation report, Indonesian news portal Berita Satu Online reported this evening, citing JA Barata, head of communications in the republic’s Transport Ministry.

    According to the news report, the Indonesian unit of the Malaysian budget carrier was only granted permission to ply the Surabaya-Singapore route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

    However, PT Indonesia AirAsia is alleged to have deviated from the schedule and flown on Sundays, without first obtaining the permission of the local air traffic authorities.

    The official was reported advising passengers who had bought flight tickets for that route from AirAsia to switch to another airline.

    – See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/indonesia-freezes-airasia-surabaya-singapore-route-permit#sthash.VHgqFDVH.dpuf

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Izin Rute AirAsia Surabaya-Singapura Dibekukan

    “Kementerian Perhubungan (Kemenhub) membekukan izin terbang AirAsia rute Surabaya-Singapura. Pembekuan ini berlaku sejak 2 Januari 2015. Pemberian sanksi ini terkait pelanggaran waktu operasional AirAsia rute Surabaya-Singapura.

    Berdasarkan Surat Direktorat Jenderal Perhubungan Udara No AU.008/30/6/DRJU.DAU-2014 tanggal 24 Oktober 2014 perihal izin Penerbangan Luar Negeri Periode Winter 2014/2015, rute Surabaya-Singapura yang diberikan kepada Indonesia AirAsia adalah hari Senin, Selasa, Kamis, dan Sabtu”.

    How come they were allowed to fly on that Sunday 28th Dec ???

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    On checking the air asia website to book a flight from Surabaya – Singapore , this is what it has mentioned —-
    Hold on!
    Looks like the flights for this date are unavailable or sold out. Please select another date or refer to our flight schedule for details. For flights departing within the next 4 hours, please visit your nearest airport sales counter.

    bukan NOT AVAILABLE or SOLD OUT – kena FROZEN ber !!

    Reply
  15. Warrior We

    The contents of the Daily Mail report seems to indicate something very serious. Firstly, AA flights to Singapore from Juanda Surabaya has been suspended as Indonesian authorities investigate a suspected breach of the flight permit.
    If that is so, it could explain why the flight captain didn’t pick up the hard copies of the day’s weather from Surabaya ATC. Probably knowledge of the flight’s illegality served as deterrent or the fact that the flight was not leg, by default prompted ATC not to print the map for AA. Would be interesting to find out.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2895106/Indonesia-widens-search-area-hunt-AirAsia-jet.html

    Elsewhere, Honeyvell are on record as saying that ELTs are not activated underwater while cases of ELT malfunction are legion.

    http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/missing-malaysia-plane-no-distress-signals-can-be-emitted-underwater-says-honeywell-114032100667_1.html

    Such has been the unreliability of ELTs that tracking tech would have done far better as advocated five years ago here

    http://www.avweb.com/blogs/insider/Time_To_Replace_ELTs_203244-1.html

    And a plane that crashes right through the drink would have its ELT antennae ripped off by any impact anyway. So that should put all those madcap theories of the plane landing whole being peddled by silly charlatans and conmen to rest

    http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/01/02/AirAsia-Plane-may-have-landed-on-water/

    Just shows how easy it is these days to get your Warholian fix with some garbage.

    Warrior 231

    Reply
    1. Now Everyone Cannot Bullshit

      jangan bimbang. BK Sidhu Akan mulakan skripnya: “according to sources, the AirAsia mishap was not caused by AirAsia but the DCA in Indonesia and Singapore. AirAsia and TF will fight them all the way. Although Malaysian DCA did not grant the full AOC to AirAsia a year ago, AirAsia is the safest airline in the world. Please do not worry, the air fare of AirAsia is low enough that passengers should risk their lives. The low air fare is worth all the risk.” Now Everone Can Bullshit.

      Reply
  16. KB Sandhu

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/doomed-airasia-qz8501/1565338.html

    If this isn’t a good enough reason to withdraw AirAsia’s AOC in Indonesia, I don’t know what is.

    AirAsia have constantly behaved like cowboys and it’s terribly unfortunate 162 innocent lives were lost due to the greed and cockiness of a few.

    Time to put a stop to this. Once, a nation that’s revered in aviation, we have become the pariah of the aviation world no thanks to the antics of a select few.

    These people and their ilk should be charged for manslaughter!

    Reply
  17. Razak

    I hope that the con artist will be exposed by the authorities this time around. The world have had enough of his public relation bullshits. Now our DCA a should also look into the issuance of AOC to AirAsia. Check on whether it has compromised on safety issues. Malaysians cannot afford to risk their lives even if AirAsia gives out free tickets let alone having to pay for it.

    Reply
  18. IT.Scheiss

    Flying a route on a day when it is not officially permitted could well provide a legitimate reason for insurance to refuse payments for material and human loss, and to refuse to bear compensation due to successful lawsuits, if that is also part of the policy.

    According to a report in The Star, PT Indonesia AirAsia was only permited to operate the Surabaya-Singapore route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays but in this case flew on a Sunday which violated the terms of its route permit, however trivial this may seem.

    http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/01/03/AirAsia-Suspends-Surabaya-Singapore-route/

    If you are involved in an accident whilst driving a car with a valid driving licence, valid insurance but road tax which expired just the day before, insurance could well refuse to pay which will be many times worse than the fine by the authorities.

    News of this possible violation has spread around the world.

    If you are OK with reading Indonesian, check out Kompas.com

    http://bisniskeuangan.kompas.com/read/2015/01/02/205840526/Izin.Rute.AirAsia.Surabaya-Singapura.Dibekukan.?utm_source=WP&utm_medium=box&utm_campaign=Khlwp

    Reply
  19. Cheng

    When the news of AirAsia flying on an unauthorised schedule, the Spin Dr Tony no longer attending to the press conference to spin. He knew he could no longer spin because the issue is clear cut and the foreign reporters will not kow tow to him like BK Sidhu, the editor of the Business Star.

    This violation is a serious issue and must not be condoned by our DCA and Ministry of Transport. Our DCA must take a serious look again at the approving process of AOC for AirAsia because we do not want to see more lost of lives. 160 lives was unacceptable. We must not allow a company to ignore passengers safety for the sake of their business model.

    Passengers must not be gullible to jump on cheap fare. There is no such thing as cheap fare. There will always be hidden charges some where. So please be aware of cheap fare because safety issues may be compromised.

    Reply
  20. IT.Scheiss

    AirAsia seems to be encountering lots of problems lately.

    Why?

    Straits Times of Singapore reports

    “Bandung-bound AirAsia flight from Surabaya fails to take off”

    “Another incident involving an AirAsia Indonesia flight leaving Surabaya happened on Saturday night where the jet’s engine failed to get the aeroplane to take off.

    The plane that was due to leave Surabaya at 9pm for Bandung had been taxiing for two to three metres at Juanda International Airport when the engine suddenly died, online reports said sourcing Indonesia’s Metro TV.

    120 passengers were told to get down from the aircraft for repair works, reported Channel NewsAsia.

    New Straits Times reported that a passenger, Mr Yusuf Fitriadi, said he had heard a loud sound before the jet’s engines died.

    “We were shocked and panicking. I was terrified. The plane eventually retreated to the original position. We were ordered to disembark immediately,” said Mr Yusuf in the New Straits Times report.

    The Straits Times reported that a man wearing a pilots’ uniform told “passengers waiting at the terminal that the starter monitor had malfunctioned”.

    Channel NewsAsia reported that Mr Yusf had said “despite attending to the problem and announcing that the flight will continue, almost 90 per cent of passengers decided not to board for fear that the same problem may recur mid-air”.

    Online reports also said that the airline refunded airfares to passengers who chose not to continue their journey.”

    http://news.asiaone.com/news/travel/bandung-bound-airasia-flight-surabaya-fails-take

    Reply
    1. ismail

      No wonder the con artist is not appearing for conference ever since it was exposed that AA was flying without permit on that faithful Sunday. A thorough investigations must be carried for the sake of the families of the 160 passengers and air after as far as AA is concerned.

      Reply
  21. IT.Scheiss

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) had approved the Indonesia Air Asia’s Sunday flights from Surabaya to Singapore and Singapore to Surabaya, the Straits Times reports.

    “Indonesia AirAsia had applied to operate a daily flight between Surabaya and Singapore, arriving at Changi Airport at 8.30am and departing for Surabaya at 2.10pm.”

    “The application was made for the period from October 26 to March 28.”

    “CAAS said on Saturday: “These daily flights were approved as there were available air traffic rights under the bilateral air services agreement and the slots at Changi Airport were available.”

    http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/airasia-flight-qz8501-caas-says-approval-surabaya-singapore-flight-w

    It is curious why PT Indonesia AirAsia, legally a majority Indonesian owned airline company registered in Indonesia, relies on approval for that set of flights from the Singapore civil aviation authority and the strength of a bilateral agreement between the two countries.

    Also, even if the CAAS had approved that set of flights, don’t the Indonesian civil aviation authorities and Surabaya airport have to accept it as well, based upon their own landings and take offs slots, parking bay slots and so forth?

    The thought had crossed my mind too that if the flight on that fateful day did not have official approval, it would give insurance the opportunity to refuse to pay, just like they could refuse to pay for a car which had an accident the day after its road tax had expired, even if the driver’s driving license and the car’s insurance were still valid.

    This also makes a stronger case should the families of the pasengers who perished to sue the airline.

    Reply
  22. Warrior 231

    Good points IT and all plausible causes for litigation. Read your informed take on Bloomberg and fully agree with the points made therein. Only wish to add that there are other possible avenues for the victims’ relatives, particularly if it is established that the tragedy was due to aircraft maintenance related issues, inadequate pilot training, gross negligence of safe flight protocols, instrumentation issues etcetera. The missing pings from the ULB is one troubling indicator of probable malfunction while the icing over theory is eerily similar to the pitot issues that bedeviled Air France 447 circa 2009. Engine icing is another probability.

    But leaving aside all plausible speculative scenarios, I would like to add that aside from the relapse to fighter pilot mode you mentioned at Bloomberg, there is another possible explanation. As Captain Lim Khoy Hung, mentions in his article, pilots try to avoid problems by looking for “gaps” in the storm, probably the pilot reckoned a “gap” somewhere at 32 k, found it to be never there and the rest is history…..

    Hope the black box is recovered intact to tell us the real story.

    Reply
    1. IT.Scheiss

      Thanks for your kind compliments Warrior 231 and congratulations too for your very well researched and informative comemnts with links.

      Yes, the other issues you mentioned would provide an even stronger case for the passengers’ families, provided it can be established.

      However, in my comments, I have tried to stick to what is already known and the issue about approval on the Indonesia side is something which can be used by the insurance company to refuse to pay for the loss of aircraft and crew.

      I have tried to search Google for Captain Lim’s article and was unsuccessful and this link you provided in your first post above now leads to a page which says – “*POOF* This page has been taken off”

      http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty/from-the-magazine/highlights/pilotsperspective/weathering-obstacles

      Hmmm! Now why did the Air Asia mag take the above article off?

      Anyway, what would then explain reports of radar tracking that the plane went into a steep climb which was too much for the plane to cope with, if the pilot who already was at 32,000 feet merely turned to fly towards a gap in the storm but found none?

      On another note, one thing which struck me about the commentors on Bloomberg is the antipathy of most to any rules and regulations which seek to enable better management of flight movements and protect the interests of passengers.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-03/airasia-route-suspension-shifts-focus-to-indonesia-agency.html

      Most of the commentors to the article related to our discussion view such regulations with suspicion, as seeking to “inhibit innovation”, “stifle competition” and so forth.

      Yes, I agree that some regulators misuse their authority for such purposes but there are also those genuine regulations which seek to enable better, more orderly and safer operation of flights.

      Many of the comemntors to that Bloomberg article are like teenagagers who are rebels without a cause, railing against all authority, however sensible.

      They are amongst the worst products of the Neo-Liberal ideology of unfettered free markets, near zero regulation and the naive belief that the market will correct all ills.

      Well the world is suffering from such neo-liberal economic ideology today.

      The commentors also show such contempt and condescension for Asian regulators, especially the Indonesian regualators, not to say that our regulators are always right or are angels but credit should be due where it is due.

      Well, if they want to do away with airline and air traffic regulation, they should first demand the dissolution of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority and then they can have a FFA (Free For All).

      Well I have the greatest contempt and disregard for such neo-liberals and libertarians (right wing anarchists) for whom FFA is everything.

      Anyway, let them live in their delusions as the United States of America sinks deeper into the cesspit of neo-liberal arrogance, ignorance and stupidity.

      Reply
  23. IT.Scheiss

    The Malaysian Insider published this story today.

    “Latest AirAsia flight incident ‘not stalled engine’, says Tony Fernandes”

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/latest-airasia-flight-incident-not-stalled-engine-says-tony-fernandes

    Now let us examine this statement by Air Asia

    “Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ7633 was taxiing in preparation for takeoff at the Surabaya airport – where last week’s doomed flight also took off – when a power unit used to start the plane shut down, an airline official said.”

    An auxiliary power unit (APU) is a small jet engine usually mounted in the aircraft’s tail which powers the electrical generator to keep all electricity powered systems on the aircraft running, whilst the aircraft is on the ground with the main engines turned off. The APU also provides the electrical power for the starter of the main engines to get them running and generating electrical power themselves, after which the APU is no longer required, though sometimes the APU is left running to provide back-up power during the flight.

    You can read more about APUs on Wikipedia over here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxiliary_power_unit

    And from Pratt & Whitney over here

    “Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) are gas turbine engines used primarily during aircraft ground operation to provide electricity, compressed air, and/or shaft power for main engine start, air conditioning, electric power and other aircraft systems. APUs can also provide backup electric power during in-flight operation. ”

    http://www.pw.utc.com/Auxiliary_Power_Units

    Here is a You Tube video about a rather old APU on a Boeing 727 aircraft.

    Notice the meticulous step by step procedures required when starting up and shutting down an APU

    Here is a more exciting video of the startup of an APU on a Boeing 747.

    And on a Boeing 737

    Here is a You Tube video of an APU failure on a Delta Airlines plane during push back from the parking bay but before the main engines were started.

    Since the APU is a small gas turbine engine powered by the same jet fuel as the main engines, it is potentially dangerous if it catches fire or explodes and since it is usually mounted in the aircraft’s tail, an APU fire could spread and consume tioe rest of the aircraft’s fuselage where the passengers are.

    So ask Tony what happened when the APU on that Air Asia flight failed with such a bang and why did it happen?

    Why was it necessary for the APU to be kept running, whilst the main engines were running?

    Reply
    1. Warrior 231

      Hi IT
      Thanks for the compliments. I will respond to the gap thingy when time permits later today. Right now am at work but being in the engineering field, though not aviation related, I was struck by your latest comments.

      AA being dismissive about APU malfunction is troubling as APU fires can have terrible consequences. Here is one that took place at Heathrow last year

      PDF]SERIOUS INCIDENT Aircraft Type and Registration: Boeing 747 …
      http://www.aaib.gov.uk/…/Boeing%20747-436...
      Aircraft Accident Report Form submitted by the pilot and … be released; the oil ignited and caused a fire in the APU bay.https://www.google.com.my/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=eDiqVJXULon58QXYj4HACw&url

      http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources/Boeing%2520747-436,%2520G-BNLV%252005-14.pdf&ved=0CCQQFjAEOAo&usg=AFQjCNF86BoM9LqkA-UI6nh9CKyhFagmZA&sig2=oNH64g3UB-5UdehhpYzRwQ

      Notice the pilot mentioning starter motor, the very same thing quoted in yesterday’s report.

      Here is more detailed, very technicalese stuff about APU from the FAA

      Technical Report on Propulsion System and APU-Related Aircraft …
      https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/…/CAAM2_…
      Power Unit (APU) Related Aircraft Safety … 103. Appendix 7: Relationship Between Flammable Fluid Leaks and Fires.

      Sorry but am hampered by time constraints but briefly it touches extensively on APU related issues with different levels of consequence. That will do now…sorry got to run.

      Reply
  24. IT.Scheiss

    Dear Warrior 231,

    I understand your pressures of work.

    Somehow all the links except the last by the FAA which you provided yield “not found” results.

    I am an engineer (electronic communicaions) but turned to journalism 20 years ago. When I was a teenager, I was crazy about planes, so all that comes in useful in right now.

    The APUs do not start or peter out with a bang in the videos I provided and neither should passengers notice if it peters out after the main engines as reported.

    I notice our local media has turned away from this issue to focus on ongoing SAR efforts, which is good in a way but why downplay this questions.

    BTW. Wee has posted something new where he mentions legal and insurance implications.

    Reply
  25. Warrior 231

    Sorry for the broken links and own up to messing them up as I was posting in a hurry.

    1. You may access the Heathrow incident here:

    http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Boeing%20747-4H6,%209M-MPL%2004-14.pdf

    The Boeing in question might be almost 20 years old back then but the circumstances sound eerily similar to this:

    “Yusuf Fitriadi told the Indonesian news channel that a man dressed as a pilot informed the disembarked passengers waiting at the Juanda International Airport in Indonesia’s second-largest city that the starter monitor(should it read “motor????) had malfunctioned.”

    http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/airasia-plane-engine-fails-on-surabaya-runway-causes-massive-scare

    2. and the FAA report here:

    https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/design_approvals/engine_prop/media/CAAM2_Report.pdf

    Good to know that you are an engineer :D and am sure happy to take back the technicalese thingy which I wrote unawares and definitely not intentionally ‘condescending’ in any way whatsoever.

    As for the “gap” thingy, apart from the fighter flight mode as suggested, I reckon iced pitot tubes could have plausibly contributed via flawed airspeed readings or updrafts within the storm cell could equally be responsible:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_upset

    AC 00-24B – THUNDERSTORMS Department of Transportation
    Federal Aviation Administration

    also offers valuable insights.

    But as I say, we will never know for sure until they retrieve the BBs.With regard to the flight’s legality/illegality, I think the insurers are on very solid grounds regarding compensation payout, as you succinctly put it.

    As for the neo-liberal stuff, my sentiments exactly :D

    Warrior 231

    Reply
    1. IT.Scheiss

      Thanks.

      I had managed to access the same report by doing a Google search on the title you provided and yes, it looks similar tothe kind of problem that Air Asia plane encountered but hopefully we will find out what actually happened to the APU on that plane.

      However, whatever happened, it could have been serious and the question is why it happened.and whether it has anything to do with Air Asia moving its corporate HQ to Indonesia in 2012, like where does AirAsia have its aircraft maintained today and by whom?

      Reply

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