There is no paint thick enough to cover up Garuda’s culpability for the disgraceful crash landing at Yogyakarta.
But while painting the tail logo off the wreckage is offensive enough, the reported excuses from the pilots of a strong down draught and possible flap problems point directly to the failure of flight standards in Indonesian air transport.

Airlines and international air safety authorities have known about wind shear and severe up draughts and down draughts on approach to airports in great detail since they caused two major US disasters in 1982 and 1985.

Wind shear avoidance and recovery procedures are a mandatory part of recurrent flight standards world wide. It is inexcusable that an airline could fail to ensure that its pilots were not only competent, but “current” through simulator exercises in the necessary responses.
Hundreds of jets will routinely deal with severe gusts on approach or departure from airports around the world every day. And Garuda’s pilots should be “current” in their proficiency in dealing with mechanical malfunctions like incomplete flap extension, if in fact this was also a factor.
As an IATA carrier Garuda has no excuses for failing its sworn obligations to aviation safety.

And it is always the airline’s fault, not the pilot’s. Airlines are legally responsible for the competency, and actions, of their pilots. It is the airline that kills you, not the pilot it failed to sack for failing a proficiency test, or failed to retrain to the required standard.

Indonesia’s fatalistic, hands-off disregard for flight standards and safety regulation and enforcement is in stark contrast to the soaring standards of most of its neighbours. Neither its government nor national carrier Garuda should be allowed to evade their responsibilities in these areas.

Peter Fray

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