Aerobatics Team Withdrawn From Malaysian Exhibition After Crash


MARCH 17, 2015

Jakarta. The Indonesian Air Force has withdrawn its aerobatics team from a five-day international aerospace exhibition in Malaysia after two of its airplanes collided mid-air during rehearsal on Sunday, an official said on Tuesday.

"We decided to cool down first because [the incident] would disturb our pilots' ... concentration,” Air Force spokesman Commodore Hadi Tjahjono told reporters.

Two Woongbi KT-1B single-engine propeller aircraft from the Air Force’s Jupiter aerobatics team crashed while rehearsing for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition, which started on Tuesday. The crash occurred when the two planes attempted to pass each other after they broke away from a six airplane formation.

One aircraft crashed within the grounds of Langkawi International Airport, while the other crashed near a residential area, setting two houses on fire. The four pilots — identified as First Marshall Yadi Indrayadi, Lt. Col. Arif Hartono, Maj. Harjo and Maj. Romas — were able to eject in time and survived the accident.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) said it was suspected that a hard gust of wind was to blame for the collision

Hadi said the Jupiter team landed at Halim Perdanakusuma air base in East Jakarta on Monday night and that the group would later continue the journey to the Jupiter home base in Yogyakarta.

“They are all in good condition,” Hadi said about the team.

The Air Force has previously said it would investigate the accident and check the pilots’ physical and mental health.

“We have yet to receive the results from the investigators. They’re still working on it,” Hadi said.

Separately, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak mentioned the accident at the opening of the LIMA exhibition on Tuesday.

“I’m glad that nobody had serious injuries,” Najib said, as quoted by news portal Detik on Tuesday.

“Thank you for your participation. I hope the incident will not discourage the team to partake in the next exhibition,” he added.

The Jupiter team, which is known around the world for its aerobatic performances, was invited by the Malaysian government to join the aerospace exhibition.