The AirAsia plane that plummeted into the Java Sea last month was being controlled by the co-pilot when it crashed, according to investigators.
The plane’s black box recorded data that indicated that the officer of French decent, Remi Plesel, was in charge of flying the plane, not Iryanto who was the captain, when the plane crashed last month.
The chief investigator Siswosuwarno told reporters that “The second-in-command, popularly known as the co-pilot, who usually sits to the right of the cockpit – at the time, he was flying the plane.”
The Captain who typically is the one responsible for flying the plane, was supervising when the incident occurred. Iryanto was an experience airman, more experienced than the co-pilot, and had been a fighter pilot in his previous occupation. He had previously logged 20,357 flight time hours and over 6,000 of those were with AirAsia. Plesel, the co-pilot only had 2,275 of documented flight hours.
According to Mardjono, the plane was in great condition at take-off and if the plane continued to fly at the proper altitude, everything should have remained as such. Mardjono also noted “The plane was flying before the incident within the limits of weight and balance envelope. Flight crew had valid licenses and medical certificates.”
The analysis indicated that the plan had climbed at a fast rate before the crash. It had gone up 5,400 feet from its original altitude of 32,000 feet, according to the Daily Mail. It very quickly dove back down to 32,000 feet before falling low for about three minutes and that is when the black boxes were no longer able to record what happened from there.
Investigators in Indonesia noted that there as a cluster of large clouds in the region when the plane crashed, but refused to say if the pilots had flown into them or not. These types of clouds tend to cause aircraft turbulence according to expert sources.