21 Jan 2015

AirAsia flight 'climbed too fast'

8:13 am on 21 January 2015

The AirAsia flight that crashed in the Java Sea last month, killing 162 people, climbed too fast before stalling, Indonesia's transport minister said.

tail of AirAsia plane

Photo: AFP

Ignasius Jonan told a parliamentary hearing in Jakarta that flight QZ8501 ascended at a speed of 6,000 feet per minute.

He said no passenger or fighter jet would attempt to climb so fast, the BBC reported.

"The average speed of a commercial aircraft is probably between 1,000 and 2,000 feet per minute because the aircraft is not designed to soar so fast."

There were no survivors when the Airbus A320 crashed on 28 December en route from Indonesia to Singapore.

Shortly before it vanished, nearly halfway into the two-hour flight, its pilot contacted air traffic control to request permission to climb to 38,000ft from 32,000ft to avoid big storm clouds - a common occurrence in the area.

But heavy air traffic in the area meant he was not given permission to do so straight away.

When air traffic control tried to contact the plane again, there was no answer. The plane disappeared from radar screens shortly afterwards. It did not issue a distress signal.

Last week, the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were found.

The fuselage of the plane, believed to hold most of the bodies, has also been located, and search teams are working out how to retrieve it.

Fewer than one-third of the bodies have been retrieved.

- BBC