Missing Plane's Pilot Requested Course Change Before Disappearance
In his last communication to air traffic control, the pilot of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 made a request to take the plane above threatening clouds, the Associated Press reports. By the time his request was granted, the plane had disappeared.
State-owned navigation operator AirNav Indonesia revealed today that the plane's pilot, Captain Iriyanto, made two requests to change course. First, the BBC reports, he requested permission to turn left to avoid a storm. Permission was immediately granted.
Then, he asked to take the plane from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet. According to the AP, air traffic controllers could not immediately grant permission because six other planes were already occupying the airspace at that altitude.
After "two to three minutes" in which they coordinated with their counterparts in Singapore, Indonesian air traffic controllers told the pilot to take the plane to 34,000 feet.
"When we informed the pilot of the approval at 06:14, we received no reply," Wisnu Darjono, AirNav safety director said. The plane was officially declared missing at 7:55.
[Photo Credit: AP Images]