Wednesday, 8 October 2008

How safe is AirAsia Airbus?

Similar incident happened and it occurred at the same day as my
daughter's flight but on board was her classmate.

Initially I suspected a turbulance as reported in newspapers but the
damage is severe. I had experienced a 10s 10,000 feet drop in elevation
but there was no serious casualty. I also heard colleagues recalling
similar incidence with no major casualty.

Although AirAsia operates A320 instead of A330, their avionics and
control systems should be similar. The glitch may have affected both planes.

CANBERRA, Australia -- A Qantas Airways Ltd. plane involved in a midair
incident over the Indian Ocean experienced an irregularity in its
onboard computer equipment that left the plane flying "of its own
accord," an aviation safety official said Wednesday.

Qantas, Australia's largest carrier, said about 75 passengers and crew
sustained injuries Tuesday ranging from abrasions to fractures on board
the Airbus A330-300 flight to Perth, Australia, from Singapore.

Julian Walsh, director of aviation safety at the Australian Transport
Safety Bureau, said an on-board electronic centralized aircraft
monitoring system indicated there was "some irregularity with the
elevator control system."

The aircraft departed from its normal flight at 37,000 feet, climbed 300
feet, "then as the crew were responding, the aircraft pitched down quite
suddenly and rapidly," he said.

"Certainly, there was a period of time when the aircraft performed of
its own accord," Mr. Walsh said.

The aircraft, built in 2003 and operated by Qantas since then, made an
emergency landing at a remote airfield at Learmonth, an Australian
defense force air base, near Exmouth, in Western Australia state.

Qantas said that of the 303 passengers and 10 crew on board the flight,
14 sustained injuries serious enough to require medical evacuation, and
about 30 other passengers and crew received treatment at Perth hospitals.

A spokesman at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, said: "The
investigation is ongoing. We are supporting the investigation. It's
premature to speculate." The airline also said it would undertake its
own inquiry into the cause of the incident.

Separately, Qantas said Wednesday it will reduce its international fuel
surcharges by as much as 10% and cut domestic fares by as much as 3% in
response to recent falls in oil and jet fuel prices.
Sabah is heaven. Beautiful shark-free beaches and mountains next to
civilisation with no natural and man-made disasters except Malaysia.
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