View Full Version : Near mountain-miss ???

23rd May 2002, 23:07
Anybody have access to the SMCP article yesterday about Sunday's near miss with a mountain on approach to HKG while somebody (JAL ?) was playing dodge the lightening storms ???

Was it really that close or just a full page of typical printed 'scarealism' ??


Shore Guy
24th May 2002, 00:51
JAL pilot overshoots flight path causing air scare in H.K.

HONG KONG, May 23 (Kyodo) - A Japan Airlines (JAL) passenger plane overshot its flight path on Sunday night and swooped dangerously close to the territory's highest mountains, the government and local newspapers said Thursday.

Flight 753 was carrying 216 passengers from Fukuoka to Hong Kong when it veered within two nautical miles, or 3.7 kilometers, of the mountain, Tai Mo Shan, at an altitude of 1,180 meters, 188 meters higher than the mountain.

The incident occurred during stormy weather conditions when the DC-10 missed the flight path that allows it to hook into the instrument landing system of Hong Kong International Airport

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said an air traffic controller had immediately warned the pilot that the plane had deviated from the flight path and there was a danger of not being able to clear the terrain.

The plane then returned to its proper path and continued its descent for a normal approach to the runway, the department said in a statement.

The CAD was satisfied that the aircraft remained within the safe approach path and therefore maintained a safe distance from obstacles, the department said.

The department added that JAL said its pilot was fully aware of his position and considered the deviation to be within the acceptable limit.

However, the South China Morning Post reported that another pilot flying nearby described the incident as the closest near-miss he had seen.

''I don't know what the pilot was doing but it was cloudy and the mountain was shrouded in fog so he wouldn't have seen it,'' the unnamed pilot was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

''The air traffic controller was screaming at him to climb up. The JAL pilots sounded very shaken up and apologized to the controller,'' the pilot added.

Alpha Leader
24th May 2002, 01:41

I'm sorry I threw out yesterday's SCMP, but you Shore Guy has posted the gist.

The background was that the JL crew asked for permission to fly around a thunderstorm over eastern Kowloon and then join the ILS path, but being virtually perpendicular to that glide path, they overshot and headed towards Tai Mo Shan.

The disturbing aspect is that the observations of pilot flying nearby re altitude and proximity to the mountain diverge so dramatically from the details released by ATC.

ATC have tried to question the accuracy of data supplied by the pilot in the other a/c (I think he mentioned observing the JL plane only 70m above Tai Mo Shan and less than 2 NM away) by saying his onboard equipment was unreliable in this instance, as it does not update fast enough. BS?

Orca strait
24th May 2002, 01:59
I like the unknown pilot part. Whatever happened to confirming your sources? Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story...

I'll go with the JAL crew and the ATC tapes on this one.


24th May 2002, 03:00
Must have been a real roller-coaster with all that "veering" and "swooping"!

(And still managed to get back on the ILS and land - huh)

Alpha Leader
24th May 2002, 03:04
Orca straight:

The point is that there is no public statement from the JAL crew - only from ATC and the crew of "a plane flying nearby".

24th May 2002, 03:24
If JAL is like most airlines, if the crew make public statements...they would certainly find themselves in deep doggie do-do.... (as GHW Bush used to say)

24th May 2002, 06:18
Sensational [email protected] reporting as usual when it comes to aviation.

"I don't know what the pilot was doing but it was cloudy and the mountain was shrouded in fog so he wouldn't have seen it", the unnamed pilot was quoted by the newspaper as saying

I think he mentioned the JL plane only 70m above Tai Mo Shan and less than 2nm away

Wow, unnamed pilot must have been Superman with his xray vision turned on!

24th May 2002, 11:29
The hill was also behind the JAL by the time it was down at the SCMP altitude and inside ILS ostacle clearance area with correct vertical clearance.

The full scmp aritcle also had a diagram (wrong approach drawn) but with a reasonable horizontal distance from de hill shown as 3.7 km.

Not a tidy approach but nothing to warrant the scmp treatment.

Quite accurate for the scmp and up to their usual technical standard.


24th May 2002, 15:51

I thought that as well but then realised he was using the TCAS display on the ND so he could "see" where the JAL was relative to his display (and the majenta track/ILS) and how high he was relative to his own altitude.

25th May 2002, 01:06
OK,but then he says " his onboard equipment was unreliable in this instance, as it does not update fast enough"??? The whole deal sounds like some British tabloid report of a straight forward missed approach;" Pilot saves 250 people from disaster by aborting landing from100 feet!":(

Alpha Leader
25th May 2002, 01:25
Hot Dog:

It is the ATC who - through the SCMP - claimed that the observing pilot's onboard equipment did not update fast enough.

Please read earlier postings in their entirety - in your own words, you've been around in this forum long enough to understand complex issues.

25th May 2002, 01:55
I've heard (unverified) that scmp declined to view the ATC tapes and went to print anyway. It seems that the scmp view of their readers is that they prefer a story rather than the truth, seems more than a little insulting.

We should remember that while TCAS is accurate for vertical and horizontal distances - it is not nearly as accurate for bearings. In this particular case I suggest that the uncertainty could be in the order of 1/2 a mile or wirst case 1 nm. To that we should add additional uncertainty for eye-witness memory and remember that the other crew were doing their own work rather than devoted to monitoring the progress of the jal. ATC deal with the objective truth of radar and RTF tapes that very closly approximate the events (even radars have accuracy limits). Take your choice go with fiction or accept the facts.

I don't buy the scmp anymore because my experience is that their technical compentence on aviation issues is close to nil. To me that suggests that their technical competence in any area could be the same. If I want fiction I go and buy a novel.

I can't see that the unknown piolt has done anything for aviation other than to cause needless concern for passengers and the professionals involved.


25th May 2002, 02:22
Alpha Leader, it isn't the length of tenure in this forum that makes me understand complex [aviation] issues but rather my professional experience of 45 years in aviation and 20,000 hours in my logbook. Tonem has summed up my feelings perfectly in every respect. By the way, you have never answered my question of some time ago. Was it the Luftwaffe?

Alpha Leader
25th May 2002, 03:32
Hot Dog:

It was the Flugwaffe, a little further south.


25th May 2002, 05:12
Ach so, ein Schweizer. Alles klar.;)

Alpha Leader
25th May 2002, 07:05
Genau so!;)

25th May 2002, 14:15
I suspect it is our unfortunate colleague who has lead this story.

An over-excited pilot overhears an anxious ATC exchange with an aircraft going north of the LOC due wx. He uses his TCAS and ND to generate a near disaster in his own mind. Then leaks the story to the press because he is so proud of his scenario generation skills.

Stupid press take the story and run with it. Said media don't stop to check the details. Or moderate the sensationalist tone after finding out the CAD and ATC aren't all sweaty and feverish about the 'incident'.

Stupid, over-excited pilot, Too quick to find fault with others.


Raster Scanning
26th May 2002, 12:58
Surely a near miss is a hit.

26th May 2002, 13:38
HIALS: Who do you think that colleague is then? It got to be someone that has good connections to the press, right? Perhaps a Fleet Manager or someone higher up?