Investigators, who have been probing into what sent an AirAsia flight plunging into the Java Sea last year, revealed that, a mid-air miscommunication between the pilot and the co-pilot over a technical snag caused the incident that killed all 162 people on board.
According to Guardian reports, the Airbus A320-200 was en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on 28 December when it lost contact with air traffic control around 42 minutes after takeoff.
Bodies of the passengers and the wreckage of the airplane were recovered from the Java Sea later, off Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo island.
According to reports, investigators found that the pilot was dealing with a repeated technical problem with the Rudder Travel Limiter (RTL), leaving the co-pilot to take control of the plane. Electrical interruption to the RTL happened three times in the space of 13 minutes, eventually causing the autopilot to disengage, investigation’s finding revealed.
The report added that with the loss of autopilot, the co-pilot was left with the option to fly the plane manually and at that point a miscommunication emerged between him and the pilot.
As per recording from the two black boxes and a cockpit recording, the pilot instructed the co-pilot to ‘pull down’, sending the plane soaring up to 38,000 feet.
“The pilot said, ‘Pull down, pull down.’ But when you pull down [the gear controls] the plane goes up. To make the plane go down you need to push, so this order was confusing,” said accident investigator Nurcahyo Utomo.