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Pilot response led to AirAsia crash

The way pilots responded to a technical malfunction resulted in the crash of an AirAsia flight into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board, investigators said Tuesday.

AirAsia Flight 8501 was en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on December 28 last year when it crashed.

It was one in a string of aviation disasters that occurred in Asia in 2014, including the mysterious disappearance of MH370 over the Indian Ocean and the crash of TransAsia Flight 222 on a Taiwanese island.

In the AirAsia disaster, the system that regulates the plane's rudder movement kept malfunctioning because of a cracked solder joint. Aircraft maintenance records found it had malfunctioned 23 times in the year before the crash, and the interval between those incidents became shorter in the three months prior to the crash, Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee said in a report.

"Subsequent flight crew action resulted in inability to control the aircraft ... causing the aircraft to depart from the normal flight envelope and enter a prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the flight crew to recover," the report said.


In other words, "it's a series of technical failures, but it's the pilot response that leads to the plane crashing," CNN's aviation correspondent Richard Quest said.

Created December 1, 2015, Updated May 4, 2021