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#49033 - 05 Apr 07 12:54 Airline Corruption to Blame
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
There is a new English-language biz magazine floating around town called THE GLOBE. The Indonesian group running it was initially setting it up with FORBES to be a FORBES INDONESIA, but that fell through and Forbes pulled out. Nonetheless, THE GLOBE is up and running and I think it's quite good. Typically, it's a bit heavy on the personal profiles and pics of ugly execs (this month's cover story is on everyone's favorite kinky lizard -- Snooty Bozo, and they call him the 'pro-biz' governor), but if one wades past all that muck there are some great articles/editorials by some of the most respected business minds -- locals and non-locals -- in this country.

They don't have a website -- what else is new -- so I'll give a brief recap from one of the better editorials. It was penned by the American business consultant Jim Van Zorge.

The title of his piece is:

He first runs through the list of local "experts" who jumped to early conclusions on the cause of the Garuda crash in Jogja.. The first to get blamed were possible saboteurs, once that was ruled out. A fella by the name of Dudi Sudibyo, an editor of a air transport mag, surmised (as was mentioned on GRSB) it was likely Boeing's fault (must have been those foreigners) and they'd cover it up when decoding the black boxes.

Increasingly, even before the Garuda crash, we heard officials talk of getting rid of planes older than 10 years old. As Jim says, "This proposal is, unfortunately, just another veiled attempt to shift the blame away from those responsible... According to foreign aviation experts, there is no connection between the age of an aircraft and its safety. What does matter is good maintenance.... Unfortunately, the majority of Indonesian [airlines] are known to have an extremely weak culture of maintenance."

"So what explains [their] lack of proper maintenance? The answer is, quite simply, greed and corruption...
In off-the-record discussions with industry insiders, we were told that it is common practice for airlines to pay government officials money to pass planes for flight without a proper inspection. One insider admitted that government inspectors are often on the airlines' payroll, and inspectors will do their 'check' on the aircraft from their desk for 'a special fee'...

If the industry is to become safer, a good place to start would be to crack down on corruption inside the Ministry of Transportation. Errant director generals should not just be fired, they should be fully investigated and put behind bars... "

He goes on to question why Adam Air is still flying, and gives stats on the number of under-qualified pilots and the general human resource problem and concludes with this:

" must wonder whether or not this government is serious about protecting the lives of its citizens."
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

#49176 - 07 Apr 07 14:44 Re: Airline Corruption to Blame [Re: riccardo]
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
This SMH "exclusive" makes it really look like the pilots just royally blew it -- what in the heck could they have been thinking??!! It almost sounds like a suicide deal similar to that Silk Air plane a few years ago....


Death plane hit at twice usual speed

Mark Forbes Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
April 7, 2007


A GARUDA Boeing 737 was travelling at 410kmh, nearly double normal landing speed, when it slammed into Yogyakarta Airport's runway last month, bouncing, bursting into flames and killing 21 people, the crash investigators' report says.

The confidential report, which Indonesian authorities are trying to suppress, points towards pilot error as the cause of the crash. Aviation experts confirmed speed and flap warnings would have been sounding in the cockpit and the pilot should have aborted the landing and "gone around".

The preliminary report of Indonesia's Transport Safety Committee also reveals that:

- Yogyakarta's runway does not meet international safety standards. Its safety run-off is only a quarter the recommended length.

- The pilots reported a fault in the reverse thrust of one of the engines shortly before take-off.

- Cockpit data recordings revealed no mechanical problems before the landing.

- The weather was calm, contradicting the pilot's claims of a massive down draught.

- There is no evidence of the pilots arguing in the cockpit before the crash.

- Fire engines and rescue vehicles were unable to reach the crash site quickly and were not properly equipped.

The Indonesian Transport Minister, Hatta Radjasa, has tried to block the release of the "preliminary factual aircraft accident report", insisting that Australian authorities should threaten the families of the five Australian victims with up to two years' jail if they disseminate it.

The Herald has obtained a full copy of the document from sources in Jakarta. It contains all the technical details of the crash, but makes no final analysis.

It is clear that, having ruled out mechanical faults, investigators are focusing on pilot error and possible charges against Captain Marwoto Komar and his co-pilot, Gagam Rohman.

Psychiatrists have been brought into the investigation to analyse why Captain Komar ignored equipment warnings and continued the landing.

The report also raises the prospect that the inadequate safety run-off at Yogyakarta Airport and the failure of emergency services to respond quickly could have contributed to the crash and the number of fatalities.

Under international safety specifications, the safety run-off at the end of the runway should be 240 metres with a minimum distance of 90 metres. Yogyakarta's safety area is only 60 metres.

After bouncing more than a third of the way along the runway, the Boeing 737 did not have the space to stop. It overran the safety area, ploughed through grass and across the airport fence and a road before sliding to a halt in a paddy field 210 metres away.

The 737's right wing was torn off as it crossed the road, severing fuel lines that ignited a fire. With front exits destroyed by the impact, most of the 21 who died were trapped near the front of the plane and perished in an "intense, fuel-fed, post impact fire". There were 119 passengers and crew who survived.

The report says that the airport rescue and fire fighting service was "unable to gain immediate access to the accident site" because it was outside the airport perimeter and there was no road access.

"The equipment used for the application of water/foam was not suitable to reach the wreckage," the report states.

According to cockpit recordings and radio transmissions, the conditions were calm and clear for landing, the report says.

With the plane approaching at much faster than normal speed, its wing flaps were not set in landing position, investigators found. They were extended only five degrees, when normally they would be set at 30. It is understood investigators found no indication of flap malfunction, but at more than 400 kmh it is considered unsafe to fully deploy the flaps, because they could jam or be ripped off.

An aviation consultant, Gerry Soejatman, told the Herald the plane was coming in "way too fast". Recorded warnings of "low gear, low flaps" would have been broadcast in the cockpit, he said. Normal procedure would be to abort the landing.

Investigators are examining why the pilot appeared to be incapacitated and ignored the warnings. Although there was no argument between the pilots on the cockpit voice recorder, it is understood the co-pilot suggested a "go-around" seconds before the crash, by which time it was too late.

The report states that the plane's flight data recorder demonstrates it "was making the landing approach at a faster than normal speed and the flaps were not configured for landing. The FDR data, and evidence at the accident site, has not indicated any mechanical deficiency with the aircraft."

It also reveals that before departure in Jakarta, the pilot contacted ground engineers and informed them that the left engine thrust reverser fault light on the cockpit instrument panel had illuminated. "The engineers reset the thrust reverser in the engine accessories unit and the fault light extinguished," the report states. The plane was then classified airworthy.

In their initial recommendations, investigators called for the upgrading of Yogyakarta's runway to meet international standards and a review of the equipment and procedures of airport rescue and firefighting services.

The report states that the "investigation is continuing and will include further examination and analysis of the aircraft and the flight and voice recorders. Evidence from the wreckage and the recorders will be examined and analysed, along with flight operations and aircraft records, and this detailed analysis is expected to take months."
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.


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