Inadequate pilot training and a lack of communication were pointed out as the causes of Merpati Nusantara Airline’s crash in Kaimana waters, West Papua, last year, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said in Jakarta on Monday.
KNKT chairman Tatang Kurniadi said that the co-pilot was trained by instructor from the aircraft manufacturer using syllabus from China while the pilot was trained by Merpati instructor using modified syllabus.
“Inadequacy in the training program may lead to actions that deviated from the standard procedure and regressing to the previous [aircraft] type,” he told the press.
He also said that the pilots were trained less than 250 hours to fly the Xian MA60 twin turboporp aircraft that led them to take inappropriate procedure for approach landing using visual flight rules (VFR) in Kaimana.
The co-pilot took 234 hours and 25 minutes while the pilot took 199 hours and 5 minutes training on that type, he said.
In addition, the condition grew worse as KNKT found that there were limited communications between the crew along the flight.
“This type of interaction indicated that there was a steep trans-cockpit authority gradient; both pilots lost situational awareness,” he added.
The plane, which has a capacity of 50 people, was flying from Domine Eduard Osok airport in Sorong to Utarom airport in Kaimana carrying 21 passengers and six crew members on May 7, 2011. It crashed some 500 meters before reaching the airport.
It crashed and submerged to the Kaimana Sea at around 1:45 p.m after the rate of descent increased significantly.