30 December 2014: Flight QZ8501 crashed in Java Sea, no survivors yet, 30 causalities confirmed; Officials
4 January 2015: SAR operations continue for the 7th day, 46 bodies recovered; more wreckage found; black boxes not yet found
5 January 2015: Total of 37 bodies found; of which 13 have been identified
5 January 2015: BASARNAS says Indonesia AirAsia not authorized to operate flight route taken by QZ8501 on Sundays; carrier had approval from Singapore authorities
6 January 2015: 16 bodies have been identified; 2 more bodies recovered bringing total count to 39. Black boxes (CVR, and FDR) not yet found despite international search effort with specialized equipment
7 January 2015: 2 more bodies have been recovered bringing the total number to 41, 24 have been identified and passed to families
7 January 2015: The tail section of PX-AXC has been visually located, black boxes believed to reside within. Recovery of tail section has not yet been initiated as darkness fell soon after
- 8 January 2015: 2 more bodies were recovered bringing the total number to 43, only 1 additional body was identified today. Search area concentrated around where tail debris was found; however SAR efforts suspended by 1100 GMT+8 due to poor weather and low visibility. Recovery of tail section did not proceed mainly due to poor weather and strong under currents
- 9 January 2015: 5 bodies recovered, bringing official count to 48. 2 more bodies identified, bringing total identified bodies to 27
- 9 January 2015: Search area for today has not changed, weather conditions slight more favorable before noon, worsened towards evening. Tail section still yet to be recovered, black boxes not yet located
- 9 January 2015: Indonesian Transport Ministry says 6 Indonesian airliners flouted total of 61 route schedules; Indonesia AirAsia included. Disciplinary action will be taken against 11 officers from the ministry who were directly involved in AirAsia's unscheduled route
- 10 January: No additional bodies recovered, total remains at 48. 1 more body identified, totaling 28. Bad weather continues to be hindrance
- 10 January: Partial tail section of PX-AXC brought to surface by SAR team using inflatables. 2 black boxes not recovered. Search (~500m radius) for the 2 black boxes continues, with area approximating where initial "pings" were first detected
- 12 January: No additional bodies recovered, total body count at 48. 34 bodies have been identified as of day's end, while 14 are still being identified
- 12 January: Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was recovered in the morning at 0811 GMT+8; found under wing wreckage approximately 30m underwater
- 12 January: SAR Chief says search for bodies and human remains still top priority; teams also searching for Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), the other of the airplane's Black Boxes
13 January: No additional bodies recovered, total body count at 48. 36 bodies have been identified (2 more from the 12th), while 12 are still being identified
13 January: Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was recovered in the morning, approximately 20m from where the Fight Data Recorder (FDR) was recovered
13 January: BASARNAS says both FDR and CVR will be flown to Jakarta where they will be examined and analyzed by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee
14 January: 2 additional bodies were recovered, total body count at 50. 38 bodies have been identified (2 more from the 13th), while 10 are still being identified. The 2 newly recovered bodies are en route to the designated hospital for identification
14 January: BASARNAS confirms that fuselage has been located together with most of the airplane's right wing. They were found within the second focused primary area by an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) of the Singapore Navy
14 January: BASARNAS says recovery of newly found wreckage of fuselage and right wing to commence tomorrow
15 January: No additional bodies were recovered, total body count at 50. 39 bodies have been identified (1 more from the 14th), while 9 are still being identified. The 2 newly recovered bodies on the 14th are still en route to the designated hospital waiting for identification
15 January: Singapore Navy officially ends SAR operations a day after discovering the main wreckage of the airplane's fuselage and right wing. The Singapore fleet will now head home; Singapore is not participating in recovery operations
15 January: Wreckage of fuselage and right wing was not recovered today primarily due to turbulent waters and bad weather. Recovery operations will recommence tomorrow
16 January: 1 additional body was recovered, total body count at 51. 40 bodies have been recovered 91 more from the 15th), while 8 are still being identified. The 2 bodies recovered on the 14th are still en route to the designated hospital for identification; the newly recovered body is also en route to the same hospital for identification
16 January: Wreckage of fuselage and right wing was again not recovered today due to turbulent waters and bad weather. Recovery operations will recommence tomorrow, hopefully with results
Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 (QZ8501/AWQ8501) was a scheduled international passenger flight, operated by AirAsia Group affiliate Indonesia AirAsia, from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. On 28 December 2014, the aircraft operating the route, an Airbus A320-216, crashed in bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and 7 crew on board. Debris from the plane and human remains were found two days after the crash in the Karimata Strait. Recovery is in progress.
The accident is the second-deadliest on Indonesian territory, behind Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 in 1997, and the second-deadliest involving an A320, behind TAM Airlines Flight 3054 in 2007. It was also AirAsia Group's first fatal accident since its founding in 1996.
Day 20 (16 January 2015)
Day 19 (15 January 2015)
Day 18 (14 January 2015)
Day 17 (13 January 2015)
Day 16 Gallery (12 January 2015)
Day 13 Gallery (9 January 2015)
Day 12 Gallery (8 January 2015)
Day 11 Gallery (7 January 2015)
Day 10 Gallery (6 January 2015)
Day 9 Gallery (5 January 2015)
Day 8 Gallery (4 January 2015)
Day 7 Gallery (3 January 2015)
Day 6 Gallery (2 January 2015)
Day 5 Gallery (1 January 2015)
Day 4 Gallery (31 December 2014)
Day 3 Gallery (30 December 2014)
Day 2 Gallery (29 December 2014)
Day 1 Gallery (28 December 2014)
In what has to be the most heart wrenching year in modern civil aviation history, another civilian airplane has vanished without a trace over an area spanning between Indonesia and Borneo. As of 30 December 2014, it is assumed at all 162 people on board Flight QZ8501 were lost after officials confirmed that the airplane has crashed in the Java Sea. The confirmation was made at approximately 1740 GMT+8 by Indonesia officials.
Earlier this year in March, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China lost radio contact with Malaysian ATC while flying over the South China Sea towards Vietnam. Almost 9 months after its mysterious disappearance, the Boeing 777-200ER airplane that serviced MH370 is still not found, nor have parts that belonged to the aircraft been found despite extensive international search efforts across millions of square miles over the Indian Ocean. The conclusion of MH370 is still open ended, but consensus is that it has crashed in open waters West of Australia. MH370 was carrying 239 passengers in total, the world has never heard from them since.
The flight in question is QZ8501 operated by an affiliate of AirAsia, AirAsia Indonesia whose parent company is PT Fersindo Nusaperkasa. The firm was founded in December 2004 under the brand "Awair". As we go to print, the airplane is still missing after 48 hours since it broke contact with Jakarta ATC. No distress signal was given.
QZ8501 was a regional flight servicing the common flight route from Surabaya in east Java, to Singapore. Below are some of the details we have compiled about the flight and airplane:
- Flight QZ8501 was carrying 155 passengers & 7 crew member (passenger manifest)
- 144 adults; 17 children and 1 infant
- Indonesia: 155
- South Korea: 3
- France; Malaysia; Singapore; UK: 1 each
- There were 23 people who had purchased tickets for the 28 December 2014 Flight QZ8501 but failed to board; they have been expressing shock to various news media
- QZ8501 departed Juanda International Airport (runway 10), Indonesia (0635 GMT+8) and was scheduled to arrive at Singapore's Changi Airport (0830 GMT+8)
- ETD: 0620 GMT+8 (15 minute delay)
- ETA: 0830 GMT+8 (never arrived)
- Left Air Force around 1995 to join Adam Air, then Merpati Nusantara Airlines, and Sriwijaya Air
- Began career in Indonesian Air Force flying F-5 Phantoms & F-16s; graduated from aviation school in 1983
- 20,537 flight hours, 6,100 with AirAsia Indonesia on Airbus A320
- Indonesian National
- First Officer: Rémi Emmanuel Plesel
- French National
- 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia
- Flight crew
- 4 Flight Attendants
- Wanti Setiawati
- Oscar Desano
- Wismoyo Ari Prambudi
- Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi
- 1 Engineer-on-board
- Saiful Rakhmad
- Saiful Rakhmad
- 4 Flight Attendants
The WSJ has more on how the Captain's family is coping with the loss of their father:
Angela Anggi Ranastianis, 25, recalled the day the plane her father was piloting went missing: “We heard the news from TV at around 10 a.m., my mom collapsed instantly,” she told The Wall Street Journal on Friday. The loss has been the second blow the family has suffered in the span of two weeks, coming after Capt. Iriyanto’s younger brother succumbed to illness.
At home, Capt. Iriyanto was known as a warm character by his closest relatives and neighbors. He was also an active community member. “He is in charge for the mosque maintenance, if there’s anything need a repairing, he is the man,” his neighbor Bagianto Djojonegoro, 64, said.
Ms. Ranastianis said she and her dad were big fans of motorbikes. They have four at home, including a Ninja Kawasaki and a Honda Gold Wing, which was parked by a gazebo in front of the family’s two-story house. She said they usually toured around the city on weekends.
- Aircraft details
- Airbus A320-216
- Delivered to AirAsia Indonesia on 15 October 2008
- First flight on 25 September 2008
- 23,000 flight hours over 13,600 flights (short haul flights implied)
- Last maintenance was on 16 November 2014
- Maximum passenger load of 180 with latest seat configuration
- Serial number 3648
- Registration code PK-AXC
- Known flight path
- After takeoff from Runway 10 of Surabaya Juanda Airport, airplane turned left tracking 329° over Java Sea
- Ascended to Flight Level 320 (FL320) of altitude 32,000 ft at 0654 GMT+8 (19 minutes after takeoff)
- After FL320 was attained, airplane turned left to 319°
- 10 minutes later, airplane turned left slightly to 310°
- At 0712 GMT+8, QZ8501 contacted Jakarta ATC informing deviation to the left of their planned route along airway M-635 to avoid clouds
- QZ8501 also requested a climb to FL380 of altitude 38,000 ft; ATC declined request citing busy traffic on airspace above FL320
- According to the Indonesian Ministry of Transport QZ8501 was still on radar at 0716 GMT+8
- At 0717 GMT+8, only the ADS-B signal was visible with QZ8501 disappearing at 0718 GMT+8
- AirAsia claimed last contact was made at 0724 GMT+8; later proven incorrect
- Flight QZ8501 declared missing by authorities at 0755 GMT+8
- Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency begins SAR operations at 1122 GMT+8, with Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority joining efforts at 1130 GMT+8
- At 1141 GMT+8, AirAsia made public facts about the incident through social media
- Weather conditions were not optimal for flight. A meteorological analysis revealed that the aircraft was traversing a storm cluster during the minutes prior to its disappearance
- Graphic below indicates QZ8501 was at the outskirts of a storm cluster when contact was lost
- QZ8501 was flying into an area of substantially cooler air temperatures and of lower pressures
- Past experiences have proven such conditions have the potential to harbor strong and sudden downdrafts which can quickly disable a airplane even at cruising altitude
- Downdrafts are strong vertical columns of air traveling downwards in great quantities; cold air being denser, falls while hot air being less dense, rises
- In storm clusters, the center of the cluster usually sees an area of higher pressure or warmer air; the outer regions of such clusters usually brings about cooler air. Convection currents are what enable these vertical drafts to sustain themselves within storm clusters
- Cargo wise, there was nothing that the relevant authorities had found suspicious. We have included the load and trim data, as well as the flight dispatch form for our readers' reference
- Indicates that there was 8,296kg of fuel in the airplane's 3 tanks prior to takeoff
- An estimated 5,121kg was for the actual flight with the residual as standard margin
- This implies that QZ8501 could not have remained airborne for longer than 211 minutes (3 hours 31 minutes) based on rough calculations
- The airplane would have ran out of fuel by 1006 GMT+8, around 3 hours 10 minutes after last contact with Jakarta ATC
Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations
The god fellas contributing to Wikipedia have done an impeccable job at summarizing the otherwise messy affair of the still on going SAR operations which at last check consisted of at least 90 marine vessels (official vessels, not counting those voluntary mariners sailing the Java Sea for subsistence) and probably just as many aircraft souring the shorelines and waters of the dark Java Sea. SAR operations are now operating on a two-pronged approach: 1) Finding the remains of all 162 people on board flight QZ8501; 2) Locating critical pieces of debris and the 2 black boxes (Flight Data Recorder; Cockpit Voice Recorder).
The search area on 28 December itself was unconstrained by parameters; there was no official search area and efforts only lasted around 7 hours from mid-day local time to 1930 in the evening. Turbulent weather, and rough seas had hampered SAR operations on the very first day. Usually, in the immediacy of such emergencies, teams are scrambled without neatly planned directives. However, having covered the events of Flight MH370, we feel that the response to Flight QZ8501 was swifter and remarkable more organized that that of the former. The following graphics courtesy of the WSJ illustrates the search areas on the second and third day (29 and 30 December 2014). However, as stated in the previous section, initial discovery of debris was just slightly South-East of the last known location of the aircraft. Logically, 2 day's worth of drift couldn't have taken the floating debris far from the impact zone.
Following Tuesday's (30 December 2014) confirmation of Flight QZ8501's crash in the Java Sea, SAR operations were prioritized to comb the surrounding areas for bodies and any possible remains of casualties. In most cases, because the composition of human body is less dense than sea water, bodies usually float for the first few days; after which they start to decompose and breakaway. There is also the high possibility that some organic remains will be eaten by predators roaming in the waters. Search efforts farther from the existing debris field have been called off and resources have been concentrated in the epicenter of the crash. Since New Year's Day (1 January 2015), ships equipped with side-scanning sonor
AirAsia Was A Tad Too Late In Upgrading Fleet With Satellite Tracking System
The WSJ has again highlighted to the public on the importance of real-time tracking of commercial flights via updated technology, rather than relying on analog equipment and methods to determine vital flight statistics of commercial aircraft.
It is now known from industry insiders that AirAsia has indeed been upgrading its fleet with Inmarsat's satellite tracking technology which sends pockets of data via satellite in 2-minute intervals, which in turn transmits flight data to ground-based receivers for respective channel routing. As a primer, Inmarsat was the English company that provided breakthroughs in official investigations into Malaysia Airline's still missing MH370. Analysts feel that in hindsight, absent Inmarsat's valuable augmentations to the direction of MH370's investigative approach, officials would not be searching deep under the Indian Ocean, West of Australia.
Secondary & Primary Radar
MH370's radio transponders are believed to have been forcefully disabled manually or by an unknown fault, rendering the airplane invisible to ground-based secondary radar systems which rely on planes' transponders to respond to interrogations. Secondary radar is therefore also called active radar because it requires airplanes to respond via through their transponders.
Primary radar, or what is known as military radar, doesn't require the response from airplanes' transponders to locate them; they are also called passive radar because of its operating principal. The downside of primary radar is that it is impossible with this operating principal to determine an airplane's altitude; only speed and coordinates can be calculated but with margins of error. Military radar isn't used for civilian aviation but proved to be invaluable during the former stages of investigation into MH370's mystery. Even after ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast) transponders were disabled on MH370, primary radar stations located on the coastlines of Malaysia were able to approximate the airplane's location until it flew out of range. It was all guesswork after that, that is of course until Inmarset stepped into the breech.
Persons familiar with avionics will understand that ADS-B is a form of mutual communications system at involves the integral use of satellites. The key difference between Inmarset's network and ADS-B is that the latter requires ground stations as its first point of receipt while that of Inmarset has direct communications with geo-stationary satellites in orbit.
Secondary radar polling and ADS-B remains the most pervasive form of real-time tracking for commercial flights, and one can already see the issue that lies within. Once airplanes get out of range of ground stations, ADS-B and secondary radar stops functioning in form because flight information doesn't get transmitted, even though it is being measured.
Common flight corridors across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that cover vast expanse of water essential puts airplanes that transverse across these paths in a vacuum, unless they have been equipped with direct-satellite terminals. With systems akin to what Inmarset offers, which Flight MH370 was equipped with, it is possible to very accurately determine not only the location but the vital flight stats via "Satellite Telex", in which flight information gets transmitted to ground based receivers almost spontaneously (with some latency of course); this happens regardless of an airplane's location because the series of satellites that are in orbit practically covers the entire surface of the Earth.
The maritime industry relies almost solely on "Satellite Telex" for navigation in vast open waters. Primary radar is also used but as a contingency for collision avoidance. In the wake of Flight MH370's tragedy, various aviation and transportation bodies have been picking up slack by making it mandatory for carriers to implement these vital changes as part of an industry-wide overhaul that has been long overdue. Unfortunately for AirAsia Indonesia, it came a little too late.
Update (1430 GMT+8): Debris Spotted On Aerial Recon
The BBC has broke news that aerial SAR (Search And Rescue) teams have spotted debris floating on waters within the search area. Pictures below.
Search Area Now Covers 13 Zone Over Land & Sea: BBC Reports (30 December 2014, 1430 GMT+8)
Share Prices Of AirAsia X Bhd Spike After Debris News Broke; Gains Reversed
AirAsia X Bhd and AirAsia Bhd both trade on the KLSE (Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange). They were both down south of 8% on Monday's trading session on a knee jerk reaction (pre-open) to Sunday's devastating news. Although we will find time to do further analysis on AirAsia Indonesia's liabilities arising form this catastrophe, the price action these past 2 days seem to be indicative of a penchant presence of hope. Earlier on Tuesday (at around 1510 GMT+8), news broke that aerial SAR teams have spotted and pictured what seemed to be debris floating on waters of the Java Sea (see above sections). This sparked buying in stocks of AirAsia X Bhd but those of its parent were blase. As seen below, those momentary gains were quickly reversed. Until material evidence is publicized, it is all guesswork and speculation. Markets seem to be erring on the safe side for now.
An 8% decline in market capitalization doesn't reflect the severity of Flight QZ8501's crisis, in our humble opinion.
Indonesian Officials "Sure" Debris Was From Flight QZ8501
A little over an hour and a half after AFP reported that aerial SAR teams spotted and photographed what seemed to be floating debris in the designated search area spanning the Java Sea, Indonesian Officials have announced to news outlets that they are "95% sure" said debris was from the fateful Flight QZ8501, implying that the Airbus A320-216 had crash landed in the Java Sea after it lost contact with ATC on Sunday morning local time. Bloomberg has more of the news, straight from the horse's mouth:
As always, we wait for the actual press release from the local aviation authorities to confirm without any probability of doubt that Flight QZ8501 has indeed crash landed.
6 Bodies Found & 3 Recovered; Ongoing Developments
The BBC has much more details, a lot of them not on firm ground as the air is filled with froth after Indonesian officials essentially "confirmed" the crash of Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea. It seems that after nearly 59 hours after Flight QZ8501 lost radio contact with Jakarta ATC, revelations are starting to billow out the chocked chimney, lots of soot and tears everywhere. The task on the ground now is obviously to search for survivors and locate the main site of the crash or impact. Analysis will come later, the main goal now is to spell out in clear font, the facts of this fateful incident. This has very quickly turned into an international effort with even distant countries offering a hand. Meanwhile, we hope for the best but prepare for the worst outcome.