Although Indonesian authorities have refused to release their interim report into the 28 December AirAsia disaster the key inclusions other than the black box transcripts and data now appear to have been outlined.
The most comprehensive wrap at this stage is from Bloomberg, which makes one very important claim that the Airbus A320 appeared to be in ‘good condition’, implying that the cause of the crash may have been how it was flown rather than a technical fault or an issue with the performance of the jet under the stress of being caught in a strong storm cell.
Airline professionals are entitled to feel puzzled by the mish mash of named officials who have spoken as to the contents of the report, and unnamed sources who claim to be familiar with it.
There are now competing claims as to whether everything on the A320 had been properly maintained or not, as well as the challenges of keeping control of the jet in unexpected turbulence, and the capacity of the crew to deal with the situation after a sudden increase in altitude and an apparent stall leading to a crash.
These conflicting contributions to the media stories are also devoid of any information as to the flight experience of the different voices in real life flying on Airbus equipment. It’s about as useful listening to a Boeing pilot talk about an Airbus he or she has quite possibly never flown, as it is listening to Airbus trained pilots in relation to some notorious Boeing 737 crashes involving Kenya Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
It isn’t known if the Indonesian investigation had time to include read outs of the flight data recorder information in any appendices to the interim report. Put beside the words of the pilots and aural warnings captured by the cockpit voice recorder, such data would allow operators of A320s world wide to form their own views as to what caused this tragic loss of control.
If it yet exists, Indonesia should have published such information, which would have in turn given the curious media many opportunities to ask their particular flights standards contacts what conclusions they would draw from the data.