2014-12-28 Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 crashed into Java Sea, Indonesia

2014-12-28 Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 crashed into Java Sea, Indonesia

2014-12-28 Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 crashed into Java Sea, Indonesia

On 2015-12-01 the Indonesian National Transporttation Safety Board (NTSC) published the Final Investigation Report.

The report does not give a definite cause for the crash but cites multiple factors and contributing factors to the course of the accident.

Download Investigation Report (NTSC/KNKT): FINAL ACCIDENT REPORT PK-AXC

Contributing Factors:

  • The cracking of a solder joint of both channel A and B resulted in loss of electrical continuity and led to RTLU (Jacdec: Rudder Travel Limiter Unit) failure.
  • The existing maintenance data analysis led to unresolved repetitive faults occurring with shorter intervals. The same fault occurred 4 times during the flight.
  • The flight crew action to the first 3 faults in accordance with the ECAM (Jacdec: Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring) messages. Following the fourth fault, the FDR recorded different signatures that were similar to the FAC (Jacdec: Flight Augmentation Computer) CB‟s being reset resulting in electrical interruption to the FAC‟s.
  • The electrical interruption to the FAC caused the autopilot to disengage and the flight control logic to change from Normal Law to Alternate Law, the ruddder deflecting 2° to the left resulting the aircraft rolling up to 54° angle of bank.
  • Subsequent flight crew action leading to inability to control the aircraft in the Alternate Law resulted in the aircraft departing from the normal flight envelope and entering prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the flight crew to recover.


Some images taken from the Final Investigation Report:












UPDATE 2015-01-15
Flight QZ 8501 went missing whilst flying en-route from Surabaya to Singapore at flight level 320 (32.000) towards waypoint RAFIS (see map) and was later found to have crashed into sea. 

It is understood that the A320 encountered severe weather while flying northbound over Java Sea, approximately halfway between the island of Pulau Belitung and the southwestern tip of Kalimantan. No distress signal was received from the flight.

The aircraft was a CFM56 equipped A320-216 that last underwent maintenance on Nov 16th 2014.

Flight QZ 8501 took off at Surabaya at 05:35L to routine 3 hour flight to Singapore and was in contact with Jakarta Center when radar and radio contact was lost at 06:24L. Last known position was 03° 22.16 South and 109° 41.12 East.

The pilot-in-command has got a total flying record of 20.537 hours, 6.100 of them flying for AirAsia on the Airbus A320 model, the airline said on their website.

According to Indonesian Ministry of Transport the pilots requested heading change to the west of their airway M635 (poss. because of weather) and to climb to 38.000 feet before radio contact and transponder signal were lost.

The sea depth in that area is between 50 and 130 meters, thus in reach of salvage divers.

On Tue.30th of December, floating wreckage was spotted from search aircraft believed to belong to be a part of a evacuation slide of the missing flight. (see photos on right side)
Coordinates of debrisfield: 03° 52,5 S | 110° 30,53 E
A number of bodies, a suitcase and personal belongings also were found afloat and were salvaged by indonesian navy vessels. There were no signs of any survivors.

As of Jan 1st 2015, no emergency locator transmitter (ELT) or blackbox signal was received yet.

As of Jan 2nd 2015, two passenger window panels together with smaller honeycomb structure of interior parts has been recovered from the sea surface.

As of Jan 5th no further progress was made to detect the main wreckage on the seabed. Dimesions of the largest one were 18 x 5 x 2 meters. No confirmation whatsoever has been received that it is indeed the wreckage of the A320. As of today 39 bodies have been recovered.

On Jan 7th – 11 days after flight QZ8501 went missing – the national search and rescue Agency BASARNAS reported that divers and an remote controlled underwater vehicle they have found the tail section of the aircraft.
A number of photos showed parts of the aft fuselage including the registration and part of the tail.(see images to the right )

On Jan 9th a total of 44 bodies were recovered. Divers and SAR ships are still trying to locate the black boxes. According to local experts it is likely they are to find seperately from the earlier detected tail wreckage. Unconfirmed reports indicate that locator signals have been received believed to be of black box origin.

On Jan 11th the flight data recorder (FDR) was located about 30 meters below the surface at position 3° 6225S  109°  7144E and was recovered and handed over to the national investigation authority NTSC. It was also announced that the 2nd black box device – the cockpit voice recorder – has been located about 20 meters away. 

On Jan 13th the 2nd „black box“ device, the Cockpit Voice Recorder  was found and recovered and taken to the investigating body NTSC in Jakarta. 

On Jan14th a Singapore Navy vessel found the largest portion of aircraft wreckage so far. The dimenisons of the mid-fuselage section are 30 x 10 meters found in a depth of about 35 meters. Parts of the inner right wing were still attached. This wreckage field is located about 3 kilometers away from the tail section, found in the week before. 


Date: 2014-12-28 Time: 06:22
Location: over Java Sea
Country: Indonesia
Google Maps: (LINK)
Flight phase: ENR – Cruise, Descent, Holding
Damage to a/c: hull loss

Flight no.: QZ 8501
From: WARR/SUB: Surabaya Juanda To: WSSS/SIN: Singapore Changi
Type: Passenger
Operator: Indonesia AirAsia
Leased from: Unknown

Type: Airbus A320
Registration: PK-AXC
First Flight: 2008-09-25
Age a/c: 6,3 years
Constr. No.: 3648



Map of search and rescue operations.  Source: twitter


2nd map of search and rescue operations.  Source: Straitstimes



Aircraft involved

Occupants & Casualties

Crew Pax Other Total
Occupants 7 155 0 162
Fatalities 7 155 0 162
Injuries 0 0 0 0

JACDEC 20-year Statistics :

  • 2nd safety occurence for the operator
  • 27th hull loss of type (A320)
  • 77th hull loss occurence in Indonesia
  • 1st safety occurence for aircraft in question

Get a JACDEC Safety Report

SAFETY REPORT - Indonesia AirAsia

Image & Information Sources

List of worst A320 crashes (Source: JACDEC Database)
 2007-07-17 TAM Airlines Sao Paulo, Brazil 187 + 12
2000-08-23 Gulf Air off Muharraq, Bahrain 143
2006-05-03 Armavia Sochi Airport area, Russia 113
1990-02-14 Indian Airlines Bangalore Airport, India  97
1992-01-20 Air Inter near Strasbourg, France  87
List of worst air accidents in Indonesia (Source: JACDEC Database)
1997-09-16 Garuda Airbus A300 234
2005-09-05 Mandala Airlines Boeing 737-200 100 + 49
1974-04-22 Pan Am Boeing 707-320 107
1997-12-19 Silkair Boeing 737-300 104
2007-01-01 Adam Air Boeing 737-400 102


AP = Airport / AL = Airlines / Avn = Aviation / AW = Airways / C/N: Construction Number / DSP = Domestic Scheduled Passenger / DNP = Domestic Non-Scheduled Passenger / DSC = Domestic Scheduled Cargo / DNC= Domestic Non-Scheduled Cargo / GND = On the ground / parked, stored / FMN= Flying Mission, Air Work / FRY = Ferry-, Positioning Flight / IMC = Intrument Meteorological (flying) Conditions / ISP = International Scheduled Passenger / ISC=International Scheduled Cargo / INP = International Non-Scheduled Passenger / INC =International Non-Scheduled Cargo/ OPS = Flight Operation(s) / NRV = Non-revenue, Private Flight / TRN =Training Flight /  TST = Test & Certification Flight / VMC = Visual Meteorological (flying) Conditions