SilkAir Flight 185: Controversial Crash


Date 19 December 1997.
Site Muri river, near Palembang, Indonesia.
Passengers/Crew 97/7
Fatalities (Pax/Crew/Ground) 97/7/0
Aircraft type Boeing 737-36N (Tail number: 9V-TRF)
Route Jakarta, Indonesia to Changi, Singapore.


On 19th December 1997, SilkAir Flight 185, a Boeing 737 aircraft, was flying from Jakarta, Indonesia to Singapore when abeam Palembang, Indonesia, the flight suddenly plunged from FL350 into the Musi River.
All 104 people on board were killed.

There was immense controversy as to what caused the crash; the Indonesian investigating team, NTSC were unable to determine the cause of the crash due to inconclusive evidence. The NTSB, utilising computer modeling of the flight path, on the other hand concluded that the crash was the result of the captain committing suicide by manipulating the flight controls to cause the downward spiral of the aircraft. The Superior Court in Los Angeles, however, decided that the crash was caused by a prominent issue inherent in other 737 crashes, a defective servo valve inside the Power Control Unit (PCU) which controls the rudder, causing a rudder hard-over and subsequent uncontrollable crash.


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Part 5 of 5

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Want to know more?

Wikipedia – SilkAir Flight 185
This page in Wikipedia offers more detailed information about the occurrence.
Aircraft Accident Report– SilkAir Flight 185
This page provides a comprehensive analysis on the accident, inclusive of the causal factors and recommendations to prevent this from occurring again.

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