The Indonesian Air Force has begun an investigation into the crash of a military jet during an aerobatic show. The crash killed both the pilots onboard.
An Indonesian Air Force jet crashed while performing an aerobatic maneuver at an air show in Yogyakarta on Sunday. The crash killed both the pilots, but spared the lives of the spectators. The South Korean-made T-50 Golden Eagle jet crashed near the air force’s flight academy base near the Adi Sutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, confirmed Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Agus Supriatna, reported Jakarta Globe. The trainer jet was part of the air force’s Gebyar Dirgantara Yogyakarta air show.
The country has initiated an investigation into the crash. The light attack military jet meant specifically for training and performing aerial tricks was performing one of the seemingly dangerous maneuvers, when it suddenly spun out of control plummeted to earth. Upon impact, the Indonesian jet burst into flames. Indonesian Air Force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Dwi Badarmanto added that the fatal crash occurred on the second day of the air show, reported 9 News. This year’s show was special as it was celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Air Force Flight School in Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is a very popular tourist destination city on the main island of Java.
Numerous amateur videos show the jet soaring higher and then suddenly plummeting down as if it has lost all power and maneuverability. The jet is seen heading straight to earth, nose first, but disappears over a small hill. Videos taken from the other side of the hill show plumes of black smoke billowing from the wreckage as the plane bursts into flames, reported Yahoo!. The Indonesian army sent rescue personnel, who confirmed that the pilot and co-pilot — both Indonesians — most likely died instantly.
An investigation team has already reached the site and is in the process of carefully collecting the wreckage. It is mandatory for all military jets to undergo multiple stringent tests to confirm their air-worthiness. Hence the investigators will most likely begin by inspecting the maintenance logs, before beginning the painstaking and often long-drawn process of going through the wreckage to determine what might have gone wrong.
The investigation team will be led by the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff Air Vice Marshall Hadiyan Sumintaatmadja, confirmed Badarmanto who added that the investigation team was flown to the crash site.
The crash is intriguing since the military trainer jet was quite new. The jet was one of 16 of jets delivered in 2013 by Korean Aerospace Industries, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. The jets were meant to upgrade the severely aging fleet of trainer jets which were considered to be several generations older. The Indonesian Air Force had requisitioned for new trainer jets to train its cadets on the finer aspects of modern day aerial combat, as well as evasive techniques, which were simply not possible on the trainers that the Air Force had.
Since these trainer jets were U.S.-South Korean made, Badarmanto categorically mentioned that engineers from South Korea too, will be asked to assist in the investigation, but did not confirm the fate of the rest of the still-functioning jets,
“The team will definitely employ the help of their South Korean counterparts. We cannot confirm whether the other Golden Eagle [jets] can still operate. We are waiting for the leaders’ instructions.”
The air show was immediately halted after the fatal crash. As is the case with most air crash investigations, there is no deadline for how long the investigation will last. Badarmanto did mention that the public will be notified why the plane crashed, but did add that Lt. Col. Marda Sarjono and Flight Capt. Dwi Cahyadi, the two Indonesian pilots who were killed in the crash, were some of the best pilots the Air Force had ever seen. Still, human error hasn’t been ruled out entirely, he said.
[Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images]