{Philippines|Dalam negri|Dalam negeri||Negara sendiri} plane crash that {wiped out|murdered|slain|mortally wounded|put to sleep} 62 partly caused by {almost|practically|virtually|just about|close to} decade-long equipment failure

Investigators found that the failure to repair a malfunctioning automatic throttle for almost a decade led to a 2021 Indonesian plane crash that killed 62 people.

According to Indonesian aviation investigators, the failure to repair a malfunctioning throttle for nearly a decade, pilots’ dependence on the aircraft’s automation system and insufficient training led to the fatal crash of a Boeing 737-500 last January that claimed the lives of 62 people.

In their final report, the National Transportation Safety Committee investigators stated that the Sriwijaya Air plane’s maintenance record indicated that the problem with the auto throttle had been reported 65 times by pilots since 2013. However, the problem was not solved when the plane plunged into Java Sea on Jan. 9, 2021.

Nurcahyo, the lead investigator, stated at a press conference that the pilots last communication with air traffic control occurred approximately 4 minutes after takeoff. They responded to an instruction to climb to 13,000 feet. Utomo stated that the plane reached an altitude at 10,900 feet, and then started to decline.


He stated that the plane needed less engine thrust to reach its target altitude. However, the automatic throttle could not reduce right engine power due to friction in the mechanical system.

The automatic throttle tried to compensate by decreasing the power of the left engine, reducing its output to as low 34%. According to the report, the right engine’s power was at its climb setting (or about 92%), resulting in a sharply uneven thrust.

According to the report, although the pilot tried to lift the plane, he “was unable” to do so and the jet rolled to its left.

Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Committee, holds an aircraft model at a Jakarta press conference on November 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

The flight data recorder confirmed that the automatic throttle was disengaged when the plane touched down a minute later. A few seconds later, the recorder stopped recording.

Pilots can use the automatic throttle to adjust the speed, which reduces their workload and wear on engines. According to the report, movements of the automatic throttle can be linked to 13 other parts of the plane.

A preliminary report by Indonesian authorities was released last year and detailed many of the issues that led to the crash. Thursday’s final report provided additional details about the pilots’ responses to these problems.


Utomo stated that inadequate training contributed to the pilot’s inability to prevent or recover from the condition.

According to the report, pilots may have relied too heavily on the automation system of the plane, causing inadequate monitoring in the cockpit. This led to flight deviations not being immediately noticed.

Utomo claimed that the voice data recorder could only record one channel of audio, while the other channel was meant to record all voices in cockpit. However, investigators were unable to fully analyze the coordination between the pilots due to a mysterious buzzing sound.

According to the report, attempts to fix the problem with the automatic throttle had failed repeatedly over the years.

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To review flight data recorder information, investigators collaborated with General Electric and Boeing. The investigation was also supported by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (Federal Aviation Administration) team.

Due to flight cuts caused by the coronavirus epidemic, the plane was out of service for nearly nine months. The airline stated that the plane was subject to inspections by regulators and before it resumed commercial flights in December 2020.

This disaster raised concerns about safety in Indonesia’s air industry. It grew rapidly after Suharto’s fall in late 1990s. In 2007, the United States prohibited Indonesian airlines operating in the country. However, it lifted that ban in 2016 due to improvements in international aviation standards. Similar bans were lifted by the European Union in 2018.

Sriwijaya Air is an Indonesian domestic airline that was founded in 2003. However, a pilot who was trying to land on the runway due to a hydraulic problem caused the plane to crash onto the runway.

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane operated by Lion Air in Indonesia crashed into a mountain, killing 189 people. The crash involved an automated flight control system, but the SriwijayaAir jet didn’t have one.

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