Both of AirAsia flight QZ8501’s flight recorders have been recovered, and Indonesian officials are using them to reconstruct the aircraft’s final moments. Though some details of the flight have been released, the full preliminary crash report will not be made available to the public.
Officials have confirmed some information about the nature of the crash. The AirAsia Airbus A320, which went missing Dec. 28, is reported to have been climbing at an extreme speeds, up to 6,000 feet per minute. This is much faster than an A320 “could and should do on its own,” says CNN’s aviation analyst, Mary Schiavo. Indonesia’s Transportation Minister, Ignasius Jonan explains:
The plane ascended suddenly, with a speed that was above the normal speed limit, and then it went up… Afterward, it stalled.
Schiavo suggests that because the flight was crossing rough weather, an updraft may have led to strange readings from the aircraft’s instruments. Pilots may have been confused about what their actual rate of climb was. Recovering from the resulting stall would have been nearly impossible.
Weather has been a suspect since the very first days after the incident. Here is a CNN video uploaded a day after the AirAsia flight went missing.
Investigators are confident that the crash was mainly caused by foul weather. On Monday, Jan. 19, officials said that there was nothing on the aircraft’s voice recorder to indicate a terrorist attack. Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator with Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, told Reuters that,
We didn’t hear any sounds of gunfire or explosions. For the time being, based on that, we can eliminate the possibility of terrorism.
The preliminary report, Reuters notes, is expected to follow the International Civil Aviation Organization’s guidelines and be released 30 days after the crash. NTSC officials are saying that this report will only be made available to the governments involved with the investigation. The public will not have access to their findings. A final report, which is to be filed within a year, is going to made public.