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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, February 19, 2018

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AirAsia captain was trying to repair faulty system before airliner crashed

Co-pilot apparently lost control

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JAKARTA, Indonesia - The captain of the AirAsia jet that crashed into the sea in December was out of his seat trying to fix a faulty system when his co-pilot apparently lost control, according to investigators.

Details emerging of the final moments of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 will likely focus on maintenance, procedures and training, though Indonesian investigators have not ruled out any cause and stress it is too early to draw firm conclusions.

The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore on December 28th, killing all 162 people on board.

Sources involved in the investigation said earlier this week that officials were examining maintenance records of one of the automated systems, the Flight Augmentation Computer (FAC), and the way the pilots reacted to any outage.

According to preliminary findings, it has been reported that the captain of the plane was trying to reset the FAC system and had gotten up from his seat to pull a circuit-breaker to cut its power.

During this time, his less experienced co-pilot was flying the plane and shortly afterwards it entered a steep ascent and stalled, by the time the captain returned to his seat, it was too late for him to regain control.

The National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) of Indonesia has said it is too early to say what role either human factors or equipment may have played in the crash.

Experts say shutting down the FAC would not directly alter the trajectory of the aircraft but would remove flight envelope protection, which prevents a pilot from taking a plane beyond its safety limits.

After the circuit breaker was pulled, the plane would have had to have been flown manually.

Indonesia has issued some of the factual circumstances surrounding the crash, but has not released its preliminary accident report.

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