Official: AirAsia QZ8501 Jet Climbed Steeply and Stalled

Airbus A320 climbed at 6,000 feet per minute.

AirAsia Airbus A320-200

AirAsia Airbus A320-200

** AirAsia Airbus A320-200 (PK-AXC), the aircraft
involved in the crash, in April 2014. Credit: Oka
Sudiatmika (Wikimedia Commons)/CC-BY-SA 3.0**

An analysis of radar data from the AirAsia Airbus A320 that crashed near Indonesia late last month points to a steep climb and aerodynamic stall that caused the jetliner to go out of control and plummet into the Java Sea, a government official said.

Indonesian Transportation Secretary Ignasius Jonan said at a government hearing that the A320 climbed at more than 6,000 feet per minute. Citing radar data, he said the airplane, during its last minutes aloft, "went up faster than normal ... then it stalled."

The A320-200 was flying in the vicinity of large storms when the crash occurred. In their last contact with ATC, the pilots of AirAsia Flight 8501 asked to climb from FL 320 to FL 380, but were denied permission because of conflicting air traffic. Four minutes later the airplane disappeared from radar. No distress signal was received before the crash, which killed all 162 aboard.

A preliminary report with details of conversations between the pilots from the cockpit voice recorders and aircraft state details from the flight data recorders is set for release next week, officials said.

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