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Peculiarities In the Sukhoi Superjet Crash
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:A number of abnormalities were found in last
week's crash of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 on Mount Salak, Bogor, West Java. Below are these:
1. Emergency Locator Transmitter/ELT
ELT which was designed to be activated on hard impact did not function when the plane struck the mountain.
The Sukhoi's ELT, which uses different frequency, was neither listed with local ELT operators such as the national SAR agency. The Sukhoi's ELT uses 121.5,203 Mhz, whereas radio receivers in Indonesia use 121.5,406 Mhz. It also functions only in lowlands, not on mountains. Usually aircraft are fitted with Two ELTs, one in front and the other in the tail. ELT in the tail functions when the plane hits water. However, the Sukhoi has only combined one ELT which also activates life vests if the plane is submerged in water.
2. Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System/EGPWS
This equipment alerts pilots if the plane accidentally goes too close to the ground with the warnings "TOO LOW TERRAIN" or "TOO LOW GEAR" or "TOO LOW FLAPS". The crashed Sukhoi's pilot should have been alerted after he descended to 6.000 feet among the mountains. The black box should have recorded GPWS warnings.
3. Terrain Map
The Terrain map is usually recorded in the plane's database and appears in the navigation display which gives a visual of the land in both vertical and horizontal forms. The terrain database needs to be continuously updated. If the plane is flying in a new area with mountainous terrain, pilot is required to update his database. If he fails to do so, the pilot can be charged with negligence.
4. Weather Radar
Multifunctional Transport Satellites (MTSAT) data revealed that the weather on the Salak Mountain at the time was bad, with the mountain 100 percent covered by clouds and rains. After the pilot asked to descend to 6.000 feet, the plane should have turned left, not right towards Halim. The pilot could have seen the gathering clouds and avoided them by navigating below 10.000 feet with minimum visibility distance of 5 km.
5. Flight plan
The Sukhoi's both flights were scheduled for Halim-Pelabuhan Ratu route, which was considered safe.
The ATC (air traffic control) allowed the pilot to descend to 6.000 feet, but after it made a 360 decree turn, the plane exited from Atang Sanjaya area and lost contact with ATC. In the aviation regulation, the pilot has to ask ATC's permission if he intends to make a detour from the flight plan.
6. Substitute Plane
The Sukhoi used in the joy flight was suspected to be a substitute aircraft. The doomed aircraft bears a serial number 97004, while it should be 97005 as the one used in Pakistan. Trimarga claimed that the plane had been registered with the Transport Ministry early May, but the Ministry's spokesperson Bambang S. Ervan stated otherwise, meaning that the aircraft had not been inspected and tested for airworthiness in line with the law no. 1 of 2009.
7. Black Box
The black box found was incomplete for crash cause investigation. The black box usually consists of flight data recorder (FDC) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Officials found only the CVR without the FDR.
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