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SINGAPORE, December 31. /TASS/. Aviation experts believe that finding the fuselage of the missing AirAsia plane will not be a difficult task for divers as the jet probably broke up when it hit the water rather than in the air, The New Straits Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Neil Hansford, a former pilot and chairman of consultancy firm Strategic Aviation Solutions, said this suggestion can be confirmed by the fact that the wreckage is fairly contained.
Malaysian pilots believe that the aircraft was traveling at a slow speed of 648 kilometers per hour, while to it needed the speed of some 833 kilometers per hour to avoid the storm clouds.
A former pilot of Australia’s air company Quantas, who has experience of flying in the region, said the discovery of debris close to the area where plane disappeared from radars points to an “aerodynamic stall,” possibly due to bad weather.
A source close to the probe told The Star newspaper that investigators will focus on the crew’s request to change the altitude.
"Why did he [the pilot] request to climb at that stage? Should he have climbed earlier? Other aircraft were flying at a higher altitude in that area. How did the two pilots react to the weather? We are asking those questions", he said.
The plane had requested to ascend to a higher altitude of 11,500 meters and to turn left to avoid bad weather. However local aviation authorities allowed it to only turn left and continue the flight at the altitude of 9,700 meters (32,000 feet) as there was another plane in the vicinity.
Shortly after, the contact was lost near the Borneo Island over the Java Sea.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes warned against speculating about the cause of the crash saying that he has “full confidence” in the crew, and the pilot had an experience of 20,000 hours of flight time.
An AirAsia airplane with 155 passengers and 7 crew members onboard disappeared from radars last Sunday some 40 minutes after departure from Indonesia for Singapore.