Monday, 18 June, 2012 | 19:03 WIB
Control Tower Played a Role in Sukhoi Tragedy, finds Tempo Investigation
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The cause of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash on Mount Salak is beginning to become clear. The air traffic controller allegedly did not guide the pilot, who was unfamiliar with the terrain.
Tempo magazine’s main story on the Sukhoi crash published on Monday, June 18, reported the last conversation between the Sukhoi pilot Aleksandr and “N”, an air traffic controller at the East Terminal of Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Cengkareng, Banten.
“Tower 36801 good afternoon, establish Radial 200 degrees VOR 10,000 feet…” said the pilot at 14:24. The air traffic controller, N, answered, “RA36801 radar contact, maintain 10,000 feet and proceed.” Complying with procedures, pilot Aleksandr repeated the instruction: “Maintain level at 10,000 feet 36801.”
The new jet was heading to Pelabuhan Ratu and the pilots were flying on instrument, meaning they were relying on navigational instruments in the cockpit and guidance from the air traffic controller.
Two minutes after flying at 10,000 feet, the pilot contacted the tower: “Tower, 36801 request to descend 6,000 feet.” Officer N replied, “36801 say again request.” Aleksandr repeated his request to descend the aircraft to 1,828 meter above sea level. N replied, “Okay, 6,000 copied.” The pilot repeated, “Descend to 6,000 feet 36801.”
On the radio at 14:28, Aleksandr contacted the tower for another request, “Tower, 36801 request turn right orbit present position.” Without asking the reason for the change in bearings N approved the request, “RA 36801 approve orbit to the right 6,000.”
The request to turn the aircraft right was the last contact made by the pilot. Almost five minutes after the communication the aircraft hit a cliff. According to a Russian investigator, the black box recording revealed that the pilot had shouted something just moments before the accident.
National Transportation Safety Board director Tatang Kurniadi did not deny the claim when asked for confirmation about the communication between the pilot and his guide. “These conversations are normative. It does not lead to any clues. We have the full [version],” said Tatang on Tuesday.
Tatang said that all communication data, radar recording and the black box had been handed over to his office. “All officers who were on duty have also been questioned.”
A Russian investigator who has knowledge of the initial analysis result of the black box said that Yablontsev was about to conduct a maneuver after his request to descend was approved by the Cengkareng tower. “He wanted to fly between two mountain peaks,” said the investigator. Mt. Salak has three peaks with deep valleys.
An air traffic controller in Cengkareng concluded that the tower officer also contributed to the accident. “The guide should have not approved the pilot’s request to turn right because the monitor radar showed there was a mountain there,” said the officer.
BAGJA HIDAYAT | WAHYU MURYADI | PRAMONO