Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Phuket Air Disaster says more and less about Indonesia

The Phuket Air Disaster says more and less about Indonesia
By Tadakuma Iwai
Oct 11, 2007, 04:31

One-Two-Gone Budget Aircraft
It seems only just after the flames of ill fated 1-2 Go Airlines flight number OG269 from Bangkok to Phuket had been extinguished, that the blame and muck throwing started. Reports about the weather conditions spurred the airline involved to saying wind shear or even a down draft was likely responsible. Then came news from various aviation groups the airline had really old planes of questionable maintenance pedigree and had fired many or all of its western pilots in favour of lower cost Indonesian pilots. The airline responded that its planes were still considered safe and that Indonesian pilots had been chosen because of their experience with the aircraft. Not to be besmirched, the Indonesians started making accusations about the air control systems on the ground at Phuket claiming that half the wind shear detectors were not operating.

Actually after 4 days of bad weather and two other aircraft landing safely at Phuket International Airport just ahead of him reporting strong wind sheer, 1-2 Go Airlines OG269 pilot Arif Mulyadi must have heard and been prepared for this. Subsequently the ill fated aircraft attempted to make the landing but the pilot appears to have tried to abort and pull up beyond the point of commitment / no return. The testimonial evidence is the aircraft started to climb but at too low an altitude, too close to the ground; so as the airplane nose went up the tail section came down and hit the runway. It would seem that the aircraft was not fitted with automatic landing systems and the pilot might not have trusted his instruments or ability; maybe he was unable to see the runway in the driving rain under a sky of dense black clouds.

As it happens it would appear the wind shear detectors were operational but being solar powered and having been subjected to 4 days of black clouds, half of them no longer had sufficient charge to function and / or report their data. Experts point to the previous two aircraft reporting severe wind shear and the recent historical weather conditions as making anything the detectors had to report mute anyway, as everyone flying aircraft in and out of Phuket were well aware of the fact that severe side winds existed. Indonesia’s unwanted and uncalled for although typical blame others culture comments were clearly Freudian given the wholesale areas of system failure within their own ATC systems, as highlighted by last years Adam Air flight disappearance which brought reluctant Indonesian confirmation their radar tracking systems in that airspace had not worked for over 12 months. When it was pointed out that Thailand’s ATC was a modern, well equipped and strictly regulated operation Jakarta, sensing a shot to their own foot was imminent, let that one go.

Because Jakarta’s inferior complex would not go away leaving them feeling slighted and when their equally childish knee jerk need to blame someone else kicked in again, Indonesian sources then started berating the air traffic controllers in Phuket, saying the pilot had requested permission to abort and had been given it. But whether anyone can say the ATC members hold greater or rather more accurate aircraft to ground data than the approaching aircraft and / or hold sway over the pilot as to whether to abort or not, clearly puts that argument or rather buck passing in considerable doubt. The final line of defense as they see they needed it in Jakarta by way of conjecture over the possibility of aircraft failure, given the plane had an unknown service history some say, seems to have abated in favour of human error.

It appears likely a combination of a lesser equipped aircraft (a 23 year old MD 82 aircraft) and ultimately pilot error were to blame, but can anyone really point a finger solely the pilot? Well, it seems they are, but only time and hopefully honesty will tell the truth about the ill fated flight in which 90 people including the pilot died. Arif Mulyadi we understand did not die immediately, but in hospital and therefore we are sure in a great deal of pain. Apparently the airline through their parent operating arm Orient Thai airlines along with other budget carriers in Asia have received warnings about their safety procedures in recent months, so the lack of cabin service is not the only thing cut price travelers need to take into account when they book their cheap seats. Of course, this event on top of Indonesia’s own airline safety circus with Indonesian carriers apparently going up and down in the nation’s safety league having less to do with fact and more with fiction, or should we say “friction”, does nothing to commend any form of air travel connected with Indonesia. When Indonesian air safety officials went to the EU to submit data to avert an impending European Union ban in their airspace (of Indonesian aircraft), the Indonesians reportedly could not even specify the number of aircraft each carrier had, so little credibility could be given to the claims that each aircraft had been inspected.

AV-10 Bronco as used by the TNI to murder East Timorese civilians
What most people missed about the whole nasty Phuket accident though is historical data on the Phuket air crash pilot, and it is perhaps detail we should all remember when considering flying on Indonesian aircraft and / or with Indonesian pilots. They say never to speak ill of the dead, but Arif Mulyadi was an ex-TNI (Indonesian military) pilot who had almost certainly murdered a large number of civilians in East Timor. You see after graduating college in 1974, Lieutenant Colonel Mulyadi was stationed in the former Portuguese colony in 1977 and flew AV-10 Bronco jets specifically supplied by the USA for the purpose of bombing vast amounts of bush and cropland to quell the insurgency that remained for 2 years after the cowardly subversive Indonesian invasion, in which TNI soldiers even stooped so low as to dress as East Timorese Fretlin soldiers; on that point, we hope honest news of the inquiry into the Balibo murders will come soon. Of course as the world knows the TNI murdered innocent civilians en mass as well, so Arif Mulyadi in his nice shiny new AV-10 Bronco must have known what he was doing when he dropped his payloads of hate. We wonder if his cowardly acts over East Timor indelibly painted his spine yellow and was the fundamental reason for the Phuket air crash he presided over; lack of character and conviction (backbone).

In all telling and typical form, it was also revealed by the family of the dead pilot that he had only retired from the murderous TNI Air Force two years ago but that he had been a commercial pilot long before he retired, working for Star Air, Sempati and others. Typical form in that the Indonesian TNI get involved in other businesses to make money, because only 30% of their budget comes from Jakarta; the rest they have to earn. So Arif Mulyadi it seems went from one airline to another and finally ended up with One Two Go. Does a person wish Arif rest in peace or rot in hell? The answer is up to the individual and of course the notion of doing wrong in East Timor was surely muted by the fact the USA for their own nasty selfish gain was so closely supporting Jakarta in their murderous efforts. Perhaps we should not therefore consider boycotting Indonesian airlines or rather flights with Indonesian pilots at the helm alone, but also American aircraft as well. However with Britain and Australia also ultimately complicit in supporting the murderous regime in Jakarta, where does it all end?

Our suggestion is for foreigners with conscience to support East Timor, not Indonesia when it comes to holidays, goods and investments. Yes, we are aware that East Timor is not a calm paradise right now, but would point out the reason for this; Indonesia’s clear bloody interference with certain armed militias to this very day. Remember this when you consider spending money with or in Indonesia; that Jakarta still murders in East Timor despite acknowledging their independence internationally. Please remember the thousands, perhaps millions of people across Indonesia who have been murdered or have suffered enormously at the hands of the hate state based in Jakarta and vote with your dollars. Remember, when you fly Indonesian, stay in a hotel in Indonesia, buy Indonesian, you are probably buying from a murderer.

This article ends with the conclusion that the Phuket air crash only sullied further the already gutter reputation of Indonesia’s air industry and rightly so. Of course the Indonesians now are doing what is suggested to them in order to get European routes and their certification pride back, but understand a few months of training and the inevitable resulting triumphant PR will not change the facts; Indonesia has one of the most dangerous aviation industries and airspaces in the world. If you are at all nervous about flying or have any form of conscience, Indonesia is one country you should avoid for a very long time.

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