To me this is an extremely interesting case.
Indonesian jetliner's disappearance baffles aviation
Posted 1/5/2007 8:25 AM ET
MAKASSAR, Indonesia (AP) — The pilot of a missing Indonesian jetliner had twice altered his flight path due to bad weather before
the plane disappeared from radar, an official said Friday, as U.S. experts arrived to probe the apparent crash.
The Adam Air Boeing 737 carrying 102
people, including an American man and his two daughters, did not issue a mayday,
and there has been no emergency location signal to guide thousands of rescuers
fanning out across Sulawesi island's dense jungles and choppy waters.
With no sign of wreckage, they extended their sea search south toward the resort island
of Bali, in the belief that five days of strong currents may have washed debris or bodies hundreds of miles away, said aviation expert Dudi Sudibyo.
It remained unclear Friday what may have caused Flight KI-574 to
"Whatever happened to the plane, it was likely rapid and catastrophic," said U.S.-based airline pilot and aviation commentator Patrick Smith, pointing to a possible massive structural failure due to metal fatigue, or an explosion.
Pilots do not always issue a mayday during an emergency, Smith said.
In many accidents, he said, "there are no distress calls simply because the cockpit crew is too busy dealing with the situation rather than
calling around for help."
The plane left Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday for Manado city on Sulawesi, but altered its flight path westward halfway
into the two-hour flight after being warned of rough weather near the Sulawesi city of Makassar, said Eddy Suyanto, head of the search and rescue mission.
But when it ran into 80 mph winds over the Makassar Strait it changed course again, bringing the plane eastward toward land and then disappearing from the radar and losing contact over the Sulawesi coastal town of
Majene, roughly halfway through the flight.
It is not clear why there have been no transmissions from the plane's emergency locator.
Smith speculated that it may not have been operational or that, if the plane crashed at sea, it could have sunk into an underwater trench from which its signals cannot be picked up.
The plane's in-flight recorder or "black box" also transmits a signal, but it is low-powered and intended only help to locate the device within
a relatively small area.
A U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board team arrived in Indonesia on Friday to prepare for a possible crash investigation.
The three Americans on the plane were 54-year-old Scott Jackson and his daughters Lindsey, 18, and Stephanie, 21, of Bend, Oregon.
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