Indonesia Releases Preliminary Data on Sukhoi Accident

 - August 13, 2012, 4:35 PM

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) on August 1 released the preliminary details of what it knows about the flight of the Sukhoi Superjet that crashed near Jakarta on May 9, 2012, during a flight demonstration. The jet struck a cliff on Mount Salak at 6,100 feet, killing all 45 people on board.

The report said the pilots filed an IFR flight plan toward the mountainous region but planned for an altitude of 10,000 feet, well above the highest peak in the area. Just a few minutes after the Jakarta Departure controller confirmed the flight’s climb to its 10,000-foot requested altitude, the pilot requested a descent to 6,000 feet as well as permission to make right orbiting turns. The Indonesian charts showed the Minimum Safe Altitude in the area as 6,900 feet.

“According to the controller on duty’s statement, the radar display indicated that the aircraft was over WI(R)-4 Atang Sanjaya Training Area when asking for the orbit,” clear of the mountains, so the controller approved the request, according to the report. Some 20 minutes later, the controller noticed the Sukhoi had disappeared from radar and made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the aircraft.

The weather-reporting station closest to the accident site–Darmaga, Bogor–showed calm winds, visibility of about 2.5 miles and an overcast layer at 600 feet. The captain was an experienced Russian pilot with more than 10,000 flight hours in his logbook. He had worked for Sukhoi for nearly 10 years. The first officer had been employed by the company since January 2010 and the navigator since April 2006.

The report says the CVR contained 124 minutes of good quality recording, including 30 minutes of the accident flight starting from pilot preparation.

The CVR data is being transcribed and translated by NTSC and Sukhoi experts and will be included in the final report. Release date for that final report is not yet known.