A Pilot Suicide! Air crash investigation of Silk Air Flight 185
SilkAir Flight 185 was a scheduled passenger flight from Jakarta, Indonesia to Singapore, which crashed on 19 December 1997, into the Musi River, killing all 104 people on board.
The cause of the crash was investigated by two agencies. There was immense controversy about the causes of the crash. The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) stated in its report that it could not determine a cause of the crash due to inconclusive evidence.
The American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) utilized computer modeling to conclude that the crash was the result of deliberate flight control inputs, most likely by the captain.
The jury under the Superior Court in Los Angeles, which was not allowed to hear or consider the NTSB conclusions, 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. The manufacturer of the aircraft’s rudder controls and the families later reached an out-of-court settlement.