A Boeing jet carrying 62 individuals lost contact with air traffic controllers Saturday in Indonesia after quickly shedding altitude, with particles believed to be from the airplane noticed within the Java Sea.
Sriwijaya Air flight 182, operated with a Boeing 737-500, took off from Jakarta at about 1:56 p.m. native time and misplaced contact with the management tower at 2:40 p.m., mentioned Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati.
The incident comes a day after the one-year anniversary of the taking pictures down of a Ukraine International Airlines flight in Iran with 176 individuals aboard, one in every of two main airline crashes in 2020. And it comes simply over two years after a Boeing 737 Max crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.
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This is what we all know:
What’s Sriwijaya Air?
Sriwijaya Air, based mostly in Jakarta, Indonesia, began flying in 2003 and usually carries practically 1 million passengers a month, in response to the airline’s web site. It’s a low cost service with low fares and charges, a la Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier in the US.
The airline largely flies routes inside Indonesia however has restricted worldwide service to Malaysia and China, in response to the aviation knowledge agency Cirium. Saturday’s flight from Jakarta was sure for the island of Borneo, which is about an hour away by air.
The airline is the fifth largest airline in Indonesia based mostly on flights, accounting for 10% of Indonesia flights final yr, in response to Cirium. Lion Air is Indonesia’s largest service.
Sriwijaya Air is scheduled to fly 4,300 flights this month, in contrast with 26,000 flights for Lion Air, Cirium says. Compared, Southwest Airways, the biggest home service within the U.S., has 62,000 flights scheduled in January.
Was the airplane a Boeing 737 Max?
Saturday’s flight, Sriwijaya Flight 182, was on a Boeing 737-500.
It was a part of the airplane producer’s 737 “traditional” lineup, which ended manufacturing in December 1999, in response to Boeing.
Southwest Airways, which solely flies Boeing jets, was the launch buyer for the 737-500, ordering 20 of the jets in 1987 and receiving its first supply in 1990. Southwest retired its final 737-500 in 2016.
The airplane concerned within the incident was delivered to Sriwijaya in 2012, in response to PlaneSpotters.net.
The airplane was 26 years previous and was beforehand within the fleet of Continental Airways and, later, merger accomplice United Airways, in response to the web site.
Boeing has had a bruising couple of years following two crashes of the Boeing 737 Max, which killed 376 individuals. The airplane was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration and different aviation regulatory authorities in March 2019 and solely not too long ago certified to fly once more.
This week, Boeing settled criminal charges introduced by the U.S. Division of Justice for defrauding the FAA.
“Boeing’s staff selected the trail of revenue over candor by concealing materials data from the FAA in regards to the operation of its 737 Max airplane and fascinating in an effort to cowl up their deception,” the DOJ mentioned.
Boeing can pay greater than $2.5 billion, together with a penalty of $243.6 million, compensation funds to 737 Max airline prospects of $1.77 billion and a $500 million fund for the sufferer’s beneficiaries.
The airplane within the Sriwijaya crash doesn’t have the software program that was on the middle of the Max crashes. Boeing added software program to the airplane’s flight laptop that may work within the background so the Max would really feel to pilots like earlier variations of the 737. It was known as the Maneuvering Traits Augmentation System, or MCAS, and it proved to have critical flaws. In each the crashes, pilots wrestled to maintain their plane aloft as MCAS repeatedly pushed the nostril down. They have been unable to disengage the system, which ultimately despatched them into dives from which they might not get better.
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The airplane was 26 years previous. Is not that historical?
Anthony Brickhouse, an aviation accident investigator and affiliate professor of aerospace security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College in Daytona Seashore, Florida, mentioned the very first thing he questioned when he heard in regards to the lacking jet was whether or not it was a 737 Max.
With that issue out of the equation, he mentioned investigators will deal with three broad areas as they fight to determine what occurred to Sriwijaya Flight 182: the human ingredient, the airplane and the setting on the day of the flight, most notably climate.
The Boeing 737-500’s age might be on the desk however nobody will assume it is guilty.
“Simply because a airplane is 26 years previous would not robotically imply that it is unsafe,” Brickhouse mentioned.
He mentioned vacationers in the US take into account a 26-year-old airplane previous as a result of airways are continually refreshing their fleets. Florida-based Spirit Airways, for instance, continually brags that its common plane age is 5.6 years.
However a airplane’s age is not the very best measure of its life span, the variety of takeoffs and landings and flight hours are extra necessary, Brickhouse mentioned.
“The age of the airplane would not essentially inform us rather a lot,” Brickhouse mentioned. “It is rather a lot deeper than that.”
One other issue that might be into consideration on this case: Indonesia’s comparatively poor file on aviation security.
“Over the previous 15 years or so that they’ve undoubtedly had some main security challenges with totally different airways,” Brickhouse mentioned.
Contributing: Chris Woodyard, The Related Press