24 Mar 2015

Mysterious crash of one of the world’s safest aircraft

The Airbus A320 aircraft involved in today’s crash is seen as one of the world’s most reliable and safe aircraft. A number have been involved in fatal incidents since they entered service in the late 1980s – most recently Air Asia flight 8501 which crashed into the Java sea killing all 162 people on board.

However, this accident record is seen by aviation experts more as a result of the number of A320s in service rather than any problem with the planes themselves. According to Airbus an A320 takes off and lands every 2.5 seconds. However after 24 years, the aircraft involved in today’s crash was at the end of its typical life.

A statement by manufacturers Airbus gave details of the plane which crashed. It said the plane had been delivered to Lufthansa in 1991 and had accumulated approximately 58,300 flight hours in some 46,700 flights.

Based on the limited information on today’s crash, aviation experts are describing it as bizarre.  The pilot was experienced. The plane began a steady, but not overly rapid descent before crashing. No request for a change of route was made – which is required by air traffic control.

Yet in the eight minutes it took to descend, there was plenty of time to make a distress call if the crew had been aware of a problem. None was made.

The recovery of the flight voice and data recorders will be expected within hours. Given a crash of one of the safest aircraft in the world, in some of the safest airspace in the world, investigators will want answers as soon as possible.

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