Malaysia-bound AirAsia X plane ends up in Mel­bourne

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A MALAYSIA bound AirAsia X plane which took off from Syd­ney ended up in Mel­bourne in­stead after the pi­lot en­tered the air­craft’s wrong lon­gi­tu­di­nal po­si­tion, safety of­fi­cials re­vealed yes­ter­day.

The Air­bus A330-300 left Syd­ney en route to Kuala Lumpur on March 10 last year but air traf­fic con­trollers went on alert after it be­gan fly­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.

They ra­dioed the crew but at­tempts to fix the prob­lem only led to “fur­ther degra­da­tion of the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, as well as to the air­craft’s flight guid­ance and flight con­trol sys­tems”, the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau (ATSB) said fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The pi­lot, who had been fly­ing A330s for 18 months, de­cided to re­turn to Syd­ney but bad weather forced him to fly man­u­ally to Mel­bourne, where he landed safely.

“The ATSB found that when set­ting up the air­craft’s flight man­age­ment and guid­ance sys­tem, the cap­tain in­ad­ver­tently en­tered the wrong lon­gi­tu­di­nal po­si­tion of the air­craft,” it said.

“This af­fected the on­board nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems. How­ever, de­spite a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties to iden­tify and cor­rect the er­ror, it was not no­ticed un­til after the air­craft be­came air­borne and started track­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.”

The ATSB also found that the plane was not fit­ted with an up­graded flight man­age­ment sys­tem that would have pre­vented the data en­try er­ror.

“The flight crew at­tempted to trou­bleshoot and rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion while un­der heavy work­load,” the ATSB said.

“Com­bined with lim­ited guid­ance from the avail­able check­lists, this re­sulted in fur­ther er­rors by the flight crew in the di­ag­no­sis and ac­tion­ing of flight deck switches.”

The low-cost Malaysian car­rier has since shared the in­ci­dent with all its pi­lots and de­vel­oped a new train­ing man­ual for its flight crews.

The Malaysian group suf­fered its first fa­tal in­ci­dent in De­cem­ber 2014, when AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed in stormy weather off In­done­sia with 162 peo­ple on board.

That fol­lowed two Malaysia Air­lines in­ci­dents in the same year which left more than 500 peo­ple dead, rais­ing con­cerns among some trav­ellers about the safety of the coun­try’s car­ri­ers. –

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