Indonesia: AirAsia Plane Climbed Like Fighter Jet

It was rising 6K feet per minute, which passenger jets aren't built to do
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2015 4:42 PM CST
Indonesia: AirAsia Plane Climbed Like Fighter Jet
Wreckage from AirAsia Flight 8501 is unloaded at a port in Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Initial speculation about what doomed an AirAsia jet appears to have been on the mark: It climbed way too fast and stalled, reports the BBC. Indonesia's transportation minister told parliament today that Flight 8501 was climbing at 6,000 feet per minute before the engines died, which he quickly put into perspective: "It is not normal to climb like that—it's very rare for commercial planes, which normally climb just 1,000 to 2,000 feet per minute," said Ignasius Jonan. "It can only be done by a fighter jet."

While the plane's black boxes have been recovered, another official says that only about half of the cockpit voice recorder has been downloaded and transcribed, making it too early to say definitively why the pilots did what they did, reports AP. The best guess, however, is that they were trying to avoid a storm. In the last transmission, their request to change course because of weather was denied. (A similar aerodynamic stall happened in the 2009 crash of an Air France jet.)

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