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Thu, Dec 20, 2012

Pilot Error Cited In Indonesian Superjet Accident

PIC Reportedly Ignored Terrain Warning Alarm Before Impact

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has released a report citing pilot error in an accident involving a Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight in that country. The plane, with 45 people on board, impacted Mount Salak on May 9 south of Jakarta. There were no survivors.

In the report, the committee said that data retrieved from the plane's Voice Data Recorder indicates that the pilot was "chatting" with a potential buyer just before impact. The Associated Press reports that the investigation revealed that 38 seconds before impact, the TAWS on the airplane warned the pilot to "Pull up, terrain ahead," and later gave a "terrain ahead" warning six times prior tho the accident. The crew had reportedly turned the systems off assuming it was experiencing a database issue, and were not aware that they were flying into mountainous terrain, according to Commission Chairman Tatang Kurniadi.

The pilot reportedly had logged 10,000 hours in the Superjet and its prototypes. Shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on the demonstration flight, the co-pilot requested an altitude change from 10,000 to 6,000 feet for the half-hour flight. Kurniadi told reporters at a briefing that "the purpose of decreasing the altitude was to make it not too high for the landing process at Halim airport." The accident occurred six minutes later.

Radar services in Jakarta do not have the capability to inform air crews of minimum safe altitudes in the area where the plane impacted the mountain, Kurniadi said, which contributed to the accident.

(Sukhoi Superjet 100 image from file)

FMI: www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2748.htm

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