Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing jet

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
This should be a must-read. It is almost unbelievable what this crew did.


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Indonesian pilot charged with 'deliberately' crashing jet



YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — The pilot of an Indonesian passenger jet that crashed last year, killing 21 people, was charged Thursday with deliberately causing the disaster when he appeared in court.

Marwoto Komar, a former captain from flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, could face life in prison if convicted of the charge.

He was named a suspect in February over the March 2007 crash of the Boeing 737 with 140 people on board in the central Java city of Yogyakarta.

Prosecutors Mudin Aresto and Jamin Susanto charged Komar with three counts of negligence and one of "deliberately" destroying or damaging an aircraft causing death.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The hearing opened with the charges being read out and was then adjourned until August 4 when the defence will get a chance to reply.

Komar's lawyer Muhammad Assegaf said his client would fight the charges on the grounds that international civil aviation codes rule out criminal liability for pilots in crashes.

"We will at the very least question why the pilot is being criminalized for an accident. This has not yet happened anywhere in Indonesia or in the world," Assegaf said.

"Punishing the pilot would give rise to fears among pilots that one day they could be treated as a criminal over an aircraft accident," he added.

"It's impossible that a pilot could do this deliberately."

An official government report in November found Komar ignored 15 automated cockpit warnings not to land as he brought the plane in at roughly twice the safe speed, causing the jet to bounce and career off the runway and burst into flames in ricefields.

Four Australian government officials and an Australian journalist were among those killed in the crash while following a visit by then Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, who was on a seperate plane.

The Garuda pilot's arrest has angered Indonesian pilots, who have staged protests arguing only aviation experts and not the legal system have the right to determine who was at fault in an accident.

Komar was sacked by Garuda in February and has had his pilot's license suspended.

Indonesia, which relies heavily on air links across the archipelago, has one of Asia's worst air safety records.


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The Flight GA200 originated in Jakarta and was carrying 133 passengers, 19 of whom were foreigners.


At approximately 7 am local time (UTC+7), while attempting to land at Adisucipto International Airport, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the plane overran the end of the runway, went through the perimeter fence and stopped in a nearby rice field after it bounced three times. Passengers in the plane and witnesses on the ground reported the plane approached the runway at a speed greater than normal. According to passengers, the plane shook violently before it crashed. At some point the plane caught fire, and while most passengers were able to escape, a number of passengers perished inside the burning fuselage. This may have been caused by the broken main exit door, which is located at the front left. The fire may have been ignited from the nose landing gear after its wheels were snapped off, which were found later on the runway.


The pilot, Captain Muhammad Marwoto Komar, claimed that there was a sudden downdraft immediately before the flight landed, and that the flaps on the aircraft may have malfunctioned.

The investigation determined that the flight crew’s compliance with procedures was not at a level to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft.

The PIC intended to make an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 09 at Yogyakarta and briefed the copilot accordingly. Yogya Approach cleared the aircraft for a visual approach, with a requirement to proceed to long final and report the runway in sight. Although the crew acknowledged the visual approach clearance, they continued with the ILS approach, but did not inform the controller. The descent and approach were conducted in visual meteorological conditions.

At 23:55:33, when the aircraft was 10.1 miles from the runway, it was 1,427 feet above the initial fix of 2,500 feet published in the approach chart, and the airspeed was 283 knots. The pilot in command descended the aircraft steeply in an attempt to reach the runway, but in doing so, the airspeed increased excessively. Because the aircraft was being flown at speeds that were in excess of the wing flaps operation speed, the copilot elected not to extend the flaps as instructed by the PIC. During the approach, the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) alerts and warnings sounded 15 times and the copilot called for the PIC to go around.

The PIC continued the approach with flaps 5 degrees, and the aircraft attained the glideslope near the runway 09 threshold. Flaps 5 degrees is not a landing flap setting. The aircraft crossed the threshold, 89 feet above the runway, at an airspeed of 232 knots, 98 knots faster than the required landing speed for flaps 40 degrees. The wind was north easterly at 9 knots. The groundspeed was 235 knots. The aircraft touched down at an airspeed of 221 knots, 87 knots faster than landing speed for 40 degrees flap. Shortly after touching down, the copilot called, with high intonation, for the PIC to go around.

The aircraft was flown at an excessive airspeed and steep flight path angle during the approach and landing, resulting in an unstabilized approach. The PIC did not follow company procedures that required him to fly a stabilized approach, and he did not abort the landing and go around when the approach was not stabilized.

His attention was fixated or channelized on landing the aircraft on the runway and he either did not hear, or disregarded the GPWS alerts and warnings and calls from the copilot to go around.

The copilot did not follow company procedures and take control of the aircraft from the PIC when he saw that the pilot in command repeatedly ignored the GPWS alerts and warnings. The Garuda Simulator Pilot – Proficiency Check records showed no evidence of training or proficiency checks in the vital actions and responses to be taken in the event of GPWS or EGPWS alerts and warnings, such as ‘TOO LOW TERRAIN’ and ‘WHOOP, WHOOP, PULL UP’.

The Garuda Basic Operation Manual instructed a copilot to take control of the aircraft from the PIC, and execute a go around, when an unsafe condition exists. The records also showed no evidence that the copilot had been checked or received simulator training in the appropriate vital actions and responses required to retrieve a perceived or real situation that might compromise the safe operation of the aircraft.

The report highlights that deviations from recommended practice and standard operating procedures are a potential hazard, particularly during the approach and landing phase of flight, and increase the risk of approach and landing accidents. It also highlights that crew coordination is less than effective, if crew members do not work together as an integrated team. Support crew members have a duty and responsibility to ensure that the safety of a flight is not compromised by non compliance with standard operating procedures and recommended practices.

On 2 April 2007, Garuda issued a notice to its pilots reinforcing its mandatory policy relating to a pilot monitoring to take control of an aircraft and execute a go around in instances of unstabilized approach, when the pilot flying does not make an appropriate response. The notice assures pilots that the company will not take disciplinary measures for a go around executed under any unsafe or unstabilized approach.

The FDR data shows that the aircraft crossed the threshold, 89 feet above the runway, at an airspeed of 232 knots, 98 knots faster than the required landing speed for flaps 40 degrees. The wind was north easterly at 9 knots. The groundspeed was 235 knots. The aircraft touched down at an airspeed of 221 knots, 87 knots faster than landing speed for 40 degrees flap (134 knots) at the aircraft’s landing weight of 53,366 kilograms. Shortly after touching down, the copilot called, with high intonation, for the PIC to go around.

The aircraft bounced twice, touching down on the main landing gear before the nose landing gear touched the ground. At the third (final) touchdown, the nose landing gear touched down heavily before the main landing gear. The g force was about +2.91 g, and the aircraft’s pitch angle was about -1 degree (nose down).

Main-wheel tire marks and nose-wheel axle and oleo impact and scraping marks were found along the runway. The aircraft initially tracked along the runway centerline, but it left the runway about 10 meters to the right of the runway centerline leaving nose landing gear wreckage along the runway.

Up to the time of the top of descent briefing, the oral communication between the PIC and the copilot, air traffic control approach and tower controllers, and the company radio, were in normal tones and in an orderly manner. Subsequently, during the approach below 10,000 feet and prior to reaching 4,000 feet, the PIC was singing and there was some minor non-essential conversation, which was not in accordance with the Garuda Basic Operations Manual policy for a sterile cockpit below 10,000 feet.

23:51:11 Pressure altitude 10,336 feet, airspeed 252 knots

23:53:11 Pressure altitude 8,448 Feet, airspeed 251.5 knots

23:54:10 Pressure altitude 6,560 feet, airspeed 269 knots. The Approach Controller asked the crew to confirm that they were visual. The copilot responded ‘affirm’. The Approach Controller acknowledged and issued a clearance for GA200 to make a visual approach to runway 09 and track to a long final position and report again to the controller when they had the runway in sight. The copilot read back the clearance and asked if they were cleared to descend to the circuit altitude.

23:54:33 Pressure altitude 5,792 feet, airspeed 279 knots. The controller cleared GA200 to initially descend to 2,500 feet. The copilot acknowledged and read back the clearance limitation 2,500 feet. The controller then informed GA200 that another aircraft would take off in 1 minute for Bali. The copilot responded ‘copied’. 23:55:11 until 23:57: 19, (2 minutes and 8 seconds). The airspeed increased from 288 knots to 293 knots then reduced to 243 knots. The peak airspeed of 293 knots occurred at 4,384 feet pressure altitude, or 3,419 feet above aerodrome elevation. The pilot was trying to correct the descent profile by using level change mode for descent. In accordance with the Garuda Aircraft Operation’s Manual, Part 2.3, Section 2.3.4, Paragraph 5, the maximum control speed when operating in the terminal area below 10,000 feet is 250 knots. The speed brake was not deployed at this time and the crew did not inform the controller, and did not seek approval to exceed 250 knots

23:55:19 Pressure altitude 4,384 feet, airspeed 293 knots. When passing 4,064 feet pressure altitude, the PIC said ‘Aduh anginnya keras’ (Oops strong wind). The comment at that time was interesting considering that the PIC had been aware of the actual tail wind component for at least 8 minutes prior to making the comment. He had apparently not observed the strong wind at the higher altitudes, and in fact the wind had decreased at the lower altitudes.

23:56:31 Pressure altitude 3,520 feet, airspeed 243.5 knots. The copilot established contact with the Yogyakarta Adi Sucipto Airport Tower Controller. The PIC subsequently assessed the situation by calculating the altitude and the remaining distance to the runway, and decided that the flight profile was not as he had expected. Eleven seconds after expressing concern about the wind, the PIC said ‘Target enam koma enam ILS, kagak dapat dong’ (the target is 6 point 6 ILS, we will not reach it). The PIC then attempted to trade off excess airspeed and lose height, but only succeeded in flying a flight path that was erratic in pitch, causing the airspeed and altitude to vary considerably.

The company Operations Manual required the aircraft to be configured for the landing, with the landing gear extended, flaps 15, and the airspeed 150 knots, when approaching the final approach point (FAP), one dot up on the glideslope instrument. When GA200 passed the FAP, the speed was 254 knots (groundspeed 286 knots), and it was in the clean configuration, meaning that the landing gear and flaps were not extended.

23:56:35 Pressure altitude 3,456 feet, airspeed 239.5 knots. Wing flaps 1 degree position set. The Yogyakarta Tower Controller, responded ‘surface wind calm, continue approach runway 09 report final’ and then informed the crew that a military trainer had lined up on the runway. The PIC, realizing the situation [in relation to the target], commenced flap extension to the one degree position. Twenty seconds after expressing concern about not being able to reach the target, the aircraft was 1180 feet above the approach profile for the ILS. Although the crew had been cleared for a visual approach, they executed the ILS approach, but they did not inform Yogya Approach.

23:56:46 The PIC asked for ‘gear down’ with the speed 231 knots and pressure altitude of 3,296 feet or 2,596 feet above aerodrome elevation. The PIC again expressed concern that the vertical flight path was not proceeding normally, when at 23:56:49 he commented ‘Wah nggak beres nih’ (oh there is something not right).

23:56:51 Pressure altitude 3,200 feet, airspeed 227.5 knots. The Yogyakarta Tower Controller informed a departing aircraft that the wind on the ground at Yogyakarta was calm.

23:55:19 until 23:57:19, (2 minutes) The aircraft’s speed reduced by 48 knots and its altitude decreased by 2,688 feet. Between 23:56:49 and 23:57:20 the aircraft was in an unstabilized approach condition with the speed varying between 229 and 244 knots, pitch varying between 3.5 degrees up and 3.8 degrees down, and the rate of descent reached 3,520 feet per minute.

23:56:51 The nose landing gear reached the fully extended position.

23:56:53 Both main landing gear reached the fully extended position.

23:57:14 The PIC called ‘check speed, flaps fifteen’. The copilot did not give the PIC an oral caution when he did not follow the PIC’s order to extend the flaps to the 15 position. He did not inform the PIC that the reason he only selected flap 5 was that the airspeed of 240.5 knots and increasing, exceeded the flap 15 degrees maximum operating speed by 35.5 knots. The oral communication between the pilots changed from the previous tone, when the copilot did not act on the PIC’s orders.

23:57:15 GPWS sounded a number of “SINK RATE” alerts, followed by a number of “TOO LOW TERRAIN” alerts until 23:57:49. The terrain closure rate at 23:57:15 was 3,461 feet per minute when the aircraft was 1,369 feet above the aerodrome elevation, and at 23:57:49 the terrain closure rate was 2,892 feet per minute when the aircraft was 25 feet above the aerodrome elevation.

23:57:17 The copilot called ‘flaps five’.

23:57:19 Pressure altitude 1,728 feet, airspeed 243 knots and the rate of descent was 2,560 feet per minute. The Tower Controller contacted GA200 and said ‘Indonesia 200, wind calm, check gear down and lock clear to land runway 09’.

23:57:21 Pressure altitude 1,632 feet, or 1,017 feet above the aerodrome elevation, airspeed 245 knots.

23:57:22 Pressure altitude 1,568 feet, or 953 feet above the aerodrome elevation, airspeed 245 knots. At this time the aircraft’s approach was not stabilized. The GPWS sounded the “TOO LOW TERRAIN” alert twice. The rate of descent was 2,880 feet per minute.

23:57:23 The copilot selected wing flaps to the five degree position when the aircraft was at 1,536 pressure altitude.

23:57:24 Pressure altitude 1,472 feet, airspeed 248.5 knots and wind direction from 353 degrees at 23:57:21 to 066.1 degrees at 23:57:25, speed 6 to 9 knots. The PIC acknowledged the landing clearance with the Tower Controller by saying, ‘Clear to land Indonesia 200’.

23:57:29 Pressure altitude 1,248 feet, airspeed 251.5 knots. The PIC asked for ‘Check speed, flaps fifteen’. The PIC’s intention to continue the landing was reinforced when he asked the copilot if the landing checklist had been completed. The copilot did not give the confirmation that the landing checklist had been completed. The PIC also asked the copilot a number of times to select the next stage of flaps in the pre-landing sequence; flaps15 degrees. The normal landing flap setting was flaps 30 or flaps 40.

23:57:31 The aircraft’s pressure altitude was 1,184 feet, or 569 feet above the aerodrome elevation. The airspeed was 254 knots and the rate of descend was 1,600 feet per minute. The wind velocity was 136 degrees / 8 knots

23:57:34 The flaps reached the five degrees position when the speed was 248 knots, at 1,088 feet pressure altitude or 473 feet above aerodrome elevation.

23:57:41 GPWS sounded the ‘WHOOP, WHOOP, PULL UP’ warning twice until 23:57:45. At 23:57:45 the terrain closure rate was 1,517 feet per minute, and the aircraft was 153 feet above the aerodrome elevation.

23:57:43 Pressure altitude 832 feet, or 185 feet above the aerodrome elevation, airspeed 240.5 knots. The copilot called ‘Wah Capt, go around Capt’.

23:57:47 Seven seconds before touchdown, the rate of descent was 1,400 feet per minute and decreasing. The aircraft crossed the runway 09 threshold 89 feet above the ground (704 feet pressure altitude), at an airspeed of 234 knots (groundspeed of 236 knots). The aircraft leveled off about ten feet above the runway for 4 seconds before touching down at 23:57:54

23:57:49 GPWS fifteenth alert/warning ceased.

23:57:54 The aircraft touched down 860 meters from the runway 09 threshold at an airspeed of 221 knots (groundspeed 224 knots). The copilot called with high intonation ‘go around’. The vertical acceleration on the first touchdown was +1.86 g; the subsequent touchdown was +2.26 g; and the last touchdown reached a vertical acceleration peak of +2.91 g.

23:57:58 Thrust reversers deployed.

23:58:05 Thrust reversers stowed.

23:58:10 The aircraft left the runway, to the right of the centerline, at the 09 departure end, at 110 knots.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

hmmmmmm. Where would I even start? :banghead:
 

Trip7

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Jail the PIC. Fire the SIC
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Jail the PIC. Fire the SIC
Is it really that easy? As pilots, we can easily see this flight was completely outside the scope of normal operations. If the pilots are allowed to be tried criminally for their actions, what happens when a crew overruns a runway and kills half the customers on board because they did not properly calculate their landing distance requirements? Or omitted them altogether? How as an SIC of that flight could the First Officer have changed the outcome? Should he have wrestled the aircraft away from the Captain? How many times did he say go-around?

Just playing devil's advocate.
 

Trip7

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Is it really that easy? As pilots, we can easily see this flight was completely outside the scope of normal operations. If the pilots are allowed to be tried criminally for their actions, what happens when a crew overruns a runway and kills half the customers on board because they did not properly calculate their landing distance requirements? Or omitted them altogether? How as an SIC of that flight could the First Officer have changed the outcome? Should he have wrestled the aircraft away from the Captain? How many times did he say go-around?

Just playing devil's advocate.

I mean one can look at a situation and use common sense and tell if its deliberate or not. If its borderline then you can be conservative and just fire them both. But this situation was just shear recklessness. 15 warnings, FO said go around at least twice. Crossing the threshold 98 KNOTS ABOVE VREF?!?! With flaps 5 selected? This situation is utterly unbelievable. It has deliberate written all over it...
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

I'm going to have to give that a complete read when there's no Russian Standard vodka tonic ricocheting around my liver.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

I mean one can look at a situation and use common sense and tell if its deliberate or not.
Common sense is not a basis for defense or prosecution in criminal court.

Personally, I believe this Captain should rot in jail for the rest of his life. However, do you see where I'm going with this? We can have a similar discussion as it relates to the America West crewmembers who are currently in jail for attempting to fly under the influence. Where is the dividing line?
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

I mean one can look at a situation and use common sense and tell if its deliberate or not. If its borderline then you can be conservative and just fire them both. But this situation was just shear recklessness. 15 warnings, FO said go around at least twice. Crossing the threshold 98 KNOTS ABOVE VREF?!?! With flaps 5 selected? This situation is utterly unbelievable. It has deliberate written all over it...
Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "deliberate". Was this captain incompetent? Yes. Was this company incompetent? Certainly (the article says the captain wasn't even trained on what to do in the case of a GPWS warning), and there was also an issue with the copilot's training records. Were they grossly negligent? I'd say so. Did these clowns have any business being near an airliner cockpit? Hell no. But did they set out to 'deliberately' crash the airplane as in a death wish? I doubt it. Would it set the wrong precedent to criminally prosecute pilots in the event of an accident? Yes, I think so. It's already done in certain parts of the world in central and South America, so I avoid going down there if at all possible. What other factors were in play here? Fatigue? Recency of experience? Total experience level for captain and FO? Any language barriers? We don't know. Do we give a flight crew "life in prison" for having an accident, even if it was due to carelessness? I think there are better ways to nip the problem of Indonesia's poor safety record in the bud.
 

sdfcvoh

This is my Custom Title
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

That is one of the most disturbing reports of an accident I have ever read. Criminal Negligence comes to mind.
98 kts above Vref and landing +3000ft down the runway? Was he drunk or high? Something doesn't compute.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Maybe it falls in the realm of gross negligence rather than purposely crashing an a/c - although I too agree that he should spend the remainder of his life in prison. You wouldn't criminally charge a crane operator for accidentally running a wrecking ball over the top of a building not set to be demolished. You probably would if he was violently swinging the ball in a manner completely contrary to his training and SOP. It's just like driving fatalities - you don't charge someone with manslaughter for accidentally hitting a pedestrian - but you do when they run a red light and then hit them.
 

troopernflight

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Lord, save me from ever flying with a captain that makes decisions like this one did. He must have been in the advanced stages of a "get-there-itis" infection. I think gross negligence of this magnitude should come with some sort of criminal repercussions. But I would also worry about what kind of precedents that it would set.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Adding more fuel to the fire, what if this accident was not just some rogue Captain, but indicative of the culture of Indonesian airlines?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/18/indonesia.airline/index.html

Look at the last line in the article: "The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lowered its rating of Indonesia's safety record and the European Union banned all Indonesian airliners."
 

Cptnchia

Dissatisfied Customer
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Adding more fuel to the fire, what if this accident was not just some rogue Captain, but indicative of the culture of Indonesian airlines?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/18/indonesia.airline/index.html

Look at the last line in the article: "The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lowered its rating of Indonesia's safety record and the European Union banned all Indonesian airliners."
Unfortunately, having lived and worked in Indonesia, and surviving numerous flights on Garuda, you are closer to the truth than you know.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

No offense to anyone here, but given the stories I've heard of Indian pilots in Florida, I don't think I would fly on an Indian airliner ... not that I'll ever have the option, but I'm just saying.
 

SoCalAprch

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

No offense to anyone here, but given the stories I've heard of Indian pilots in Florida, I don't think I would fly on an Indian airliner ... not that I'll ever have the option, but I'm just saying.
Indonesia isn't India. I instructed Indian students and some aren't the most prepared candidates but just correcting a technicality.
 

Cptnchia

Dissatisfied Customer
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

No offense to anyone here, but given the stories I've heard of Indian pilots in Florida, I don't think I would fly on an Indian airliner ... not that I'll ever have the option, but I'm just saying.
Don't know of any Indian airlines, but they do have some pretty cool casinos. Besides, I know a few Seminoles who are good pilots. Now Apaches, them you gotta watch out for. :sarcasm:
 

Trip7

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Don't know of any Indian airlines, but they do have some pretty cool casinos. Besides, I know a few Seminoles who are good pilots. Now Apaches, them you gotta watch out for. :sarcasm:
Those are native americans. Indians are from India:D:sarcasm:
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Indonesia isn't India. I instructed Indian students and some aren't the most prepared candidates but just correcting a technicality.
Oh no - I know the difference between Indonesia and India :)

I was just commenting on the earlier point regarding generalizations of a country's pilots.
 

Cptnchia

Dissatisfied Customer
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

Those are native americans. Indians are from India:D:sarcasm:
The word "America" is a white male eurocentric construct. (At least that 's what I remember the professor saying.) The correct correct term is "Native Peoples," since they were here before Columbus slashed his white tuckus ashore. (Damn that tree hugging teacher! Of all the worthless crap to remember.) :banghead:
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Re: Indonesian pilot charged with "deliberately" crashing je

At the very least, he was seriously negligent and should never be allowed to touch the controls of an airplane even in Flight Sim.

Criminal prosecution? I don't know about that. But seriously, who the hell does what he does? How did he ever get his ticket if that's the way he flies?
 
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