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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One year on: IFALPA's representative to ICAO, pilot and lawyer on ongoing prosecution of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot

Almost exactly one year ago, on March 7, Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 crashed during landing at Adisucipto International Airport, near Yogyakarta, after a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight. 21 people - 16 Indonesians and five Australians - were killed when the Boeing 737-400 overshot the runway, crossed a road, struck an embankment and burst into flames in a rice paddy. Overall, the plane had traveled 252m beyond the extreme end of the runway.

The final report, released in October, blamed pilot error for the disaster. The report stated that the aircraft had aproached at a speed far esceeding that at which the wing flaps could properly operate, and attempted to execute a landing at 408 kph (254 mph), which is 160 kph (100 mph) above the safe speed. It also found that captain Marwoto Komar had ignored fifteen activations of the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) informing Mr Komar that the aircraft was flying at a speed beyond that at which it could safely land, but he failed to abort.

The local authorities have controversialy decided to prosecute Mr Komar. He is believed to be the first pilot to be prosecuted over an airliner accident in Indonesian history.

The issues thrown up by this ongoing case have now been exclusively commented on for Wikinews by Paul McCarthy. Mr McCarthy is the London-based International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA)'s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He is both a pilot - as are all of IFALPA's roughly 100,000 members - and a lawyer, and is an acknowledged expert on issues concerning the criminal liability of pilots.

>>> Click here to read the full exclusive interview

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