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Old 31st Mar 2006, 07:10
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Arewenearlythereyet, I agree. In the days before 9/11 when we had flight deck visits and were asked, 'where are we?' it took some looking at a ground map to find out exactly where we were.
For what it's worth, if you haven't flown to Derry you wouldn't know how easy it is to make the same mistake and five miles in a jet is no distance whatsoever.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 07:36
  #102 (permalink)  
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First off, let me just say that I do feel sorry for the crew, they won't live this down in a hurry, however.....

1. If they were unfamiliar with the field, would they not have briefed in the crew room before the flight, and noted the disused airfield on 5 mile final.
2. If they were familiar, then there really in no excuse!
3.Coming from Liverpool. they would have been cleared to COLRE at 3500' and told to decend on the glide. Once they called viz they should have noticecd that if they had been on the glide, they would have been far to high to land at Ballykelly (1500' too high 5x300'!!), they should also have seen Derry straight in front of them, with all that water on the approach.
4. On a viz approach you are asked to call 4D, before clearance to land is given. So they would have to be checking their DME, thereby giving them another opportunity to realise they was something no right.

Anyway you look at it, its a huge mistake. What was the PNF doing? If he was too busy to notice, then the Captains cockpit management sucks.

I'm going into Derry today, so I let you know if they got it out of Ballykelly.

Hope Murphy isn't with me today!!!
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:12
  #103 (permalink)  
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I'm going into Derry today, so I let you know if they got it out of Ballykelly.
They have - ferried to LPL as far as I know.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:28
  #104 (permalink)  
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Looks like I had better qualify myself first - I fly efis boeings.

My nav display shows a runway symbol for the destination, which doesn't disappear on a G/A. Doesn't zicodian sort of have a point? - Not that the co-ordinates themselves should have been checked, but that 'landing' on a completely blank piece of nav screen, with a 'EGAE' symbol several miles behind them, should have rung a few alarm bells?

Or is the Airbus different?

Last edited by Joe le Taxi; 31st Mar 2006 at 08:39.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:33
  #105 (permalink)  
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This was a huge mistake...............but just that.

There should be no question of the crew losing their jobs. This was not gross misconduct, theft or fraud or any of the other instant dismissal type offences going, this was just a big mistake.

Hopefully, a chat with the crew to identify exactly what happened and how, some re-training/re-educating if necessary, put in place procedures that will hpefully limit or nullify it ever happening again, and carry on.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:39
  #106 (permalink)  
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If they were unfamiliar with the field, would they not have briefed in the crew room before the flight, and noted the disused airfield on 5 mile final.
Nice one Jock, and probably close to one of the main reasons behind these Murphies.

In LCC world you get 45 mins from report to pushback.

It don't matter where the aircraft is relative to crewroom, how long the queue at security. Things, mostly small are glossed over, and briefings are not what they were.

Solution, CAA demand 60 minute reporting for all airlines operating from UK bases.

But that won't happen, will it? 45 min report= longer working days = more fatique = open invite to Mr. Murphy, who is not admitted very often, but occassionally slips under the guard of knackered, rushed pilots.


You really do not have any idea how we operate, and while I'm more polite than arewenearly.....please leave it to us, and we'll leave the cunning stunts to you
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:43
  #107 (permalink)  
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...My thinking exactly!!!

Jockflyer Quote:
3.Coming from Liverpool. they would have been cleared to COLRE at 3500' and told to decend on the glide. Once they called viz they should have noticecd that if they had been on the glide, they would have been far to high to land at Ballykelly (1500' too high 5x300'!!), they should also have seen Derry straight in front of them, with all that water on the approach.

Correct me if I'm wrong but picture is basically;
Wx - VMC,
ILS - Was operational at the beginning of the approach

Well what's the procedure for losing an ILS on approach (fully established) in VMC? "Go missed" immediately or continue the approach (maintaing rate of decent) until "field in sight" or "DH"
It is clear that if he/she executed a GA he/she would have gone to a fix and entered a hold but the commander's decision in all this is that he/she elected to go visual.
So what was he/she doing entering a tight circuit miles (5) from the threshold of the intended field?
I do not want to even speculate who's at fault but if pushed came to shove "Pilot error me thinks"

Sorry boys/girls s**t happens
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 08:56
  #108 (permalink)  
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20 min turnrounds and life on the run while at work take their toll.
Exhaustion bordering consistently on the edge of fatigue blurs the mind which seriously diminishes ones ability to deal with unplanned events. Also it becomes very hard to recognise that your own decision making ability has become impaired. Events can take a course of their own which an otherwise fresh mind would easily be able to call a halt to. Flying 5 long 10 or 12 hr days on the trot at a hectic pace is not conducive to a clear mind.
An FO I recently flew with told me a very similar story about his recent flight into a large French airfield. For various reasons they ended up on a visual approach in hazy conditions and only when the picture looked wrong on short finals did they go-around, having realised they were lining up at the wrong airfield. This in an A320 (with "GPS co-ordinates" of course, and we all know how helpful they are. That'd be on the data page, line select... I've got the time to do that......and then cross reference that with the Jepp plate, now where did I put that...oh yes and just how many miles a minute are we doing....)
I wonder just how used the crew were to the life of fast turnarounds and having very little time for anything at all. If it was a case of it being day 5 for the crew then little wonder. There but for the grace of God..........
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 09:05
  #109 (permalink)  
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Apologies for sticking my nose in as a non-pilot, but would the fact that presumably the Eirjet pilots don't normally operate to such tight turnrounds as Ryanair be a factor on the fatigue issue? Presumably Ryanair pilots are used to the pace of their turnrounds, and how best to deal with it, but I imagine if you are used to 45 minute turnruonds then 25 minutes must come as a bit of a shock.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 09:44
  #110 (permalink)  
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CP, you're welcome. I'm not sure that fatigue is an evident factor here. Fatigue is usually considered a result of long-term stress and cumulative tiredness, tiredness being is a short term symptom. The Ryanair pilots these guys replaced were likely candidates for fatigue, but I know nothing about Eirjet's working levels.

To a crew unused to a short turnaround the effort may produce stress (and errors) which may indirectly induce tiredness, but I don't think shorter turnarounds are inherently more tiring than longer ones.

The staff answer is if you don't have time to do the job you're given, just take longer! But whatever you do, do it properly.

We seem to have no info if these guys were familiar with Derry or not, we are assuming they weren't, but that is only an assumption.

Personally if I get a go-around at a strange airport (and often at a familiar one) I'll ask for radar vectors back to an approach (be it visual or instrument). A vis circuit takes more concentration and if you haven't briefed it, studied the plates for it and identified the hazards (as, evidently, was the case here) so why then expose yourself for the sake of saving a couple of minutes? Could the rush-rush syndrome so common in our industry have played a part here? I wouldn't be at all surprised. Anything even slightly out of the ordinary is a cue to slow down, as far as I am concerned!

And that would include being asked to do a turnaround in less time than I thought it could be safely achieved by me and my crew.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 10:22
  #111 (permalink)  
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A BUNGLING pilot who landed his passenger jet at the wrong airport has been grounded. He has been told he will not be allowed back into the cockpit until a full inquiry is carried out. ... A County Dublin man who has 30 years service with top European airlines, he joined Eirjet nearly 18 months ago. Although the Civil Aviation and Irish Aviation Authorities will decide his fate, the company was understood to be standing by him.


A mock-up of a Ryanair advert circulating on the web today offers "One way flights from Liverpool to Ballykelly" for 0.79p. Ryanair saw the funny side, simultaneously taking a sideswipe at Eirjet who were operating the Liverpool to City of Derry flight. Said a spokesman: "Ryanair is happy to announce that we are offering 20m of saving for passengers on all of our 314 European routes, but for Ballykelly, please contact Eirjet."

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Old 31st Mar 2006, 10:31
  #112 (permalink)  
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I said this in response to what 'Faire d'income' said: "an error of 5 miles doesn't even register as a failure on the FMGC". I found it hard to believe that an A320 guidance computer could not register 5nm off.
It would register the error but it would not highlight it as a failure. ( The difference being you would have to go looking for it as against an attention grabbing warning ). During a tight circuit with high ground at an unfamiliar airfield it would not be practical to be 'heads down' checking co-ordinates against a map.

Q: Most operators have a 2 approaches and then divert policy. This is usually specific to low vis ops but I have heard of office pilots reporting a skipper for making a third approach in good weather. The point ( and the question ) is can this policy put enormous pressure on the crew to get in on the second approach and hence create the problem it is trying to avoid?
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 10:49
  #113 (permalink)  
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although my minibus knowledge is fading to fond memory now, I recall that if TOGA is not applied during a go-around, the FMC dumps the approach details. Hence airbus recommend always using TOGA even momentarliy before placing the throttles back in the climb gate. This would pretty much leave you without any meaningful reference on the map display too. The report should make interesting reading for us all.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 10:59
  #114 (permalink)  
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I agree entirely with Areweenearlythereyet -I'm afraid your posts reek of someone who is way out their depth.

You speak of "checking the co-ordinates" of the aerodrome you are about to land at????????????

What a load of utter tosh.I can just see me getting my map out while making an approach.

Please stick to aerobatics, you are just winding up pilots who do it for a living for the sake of getting in your holier-than-thou tuppence worth.
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 11:22
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it's quite unbelievable how BOTH pilots ignored the ICAO identifier they were approaching on the Navigation Displays.
Go back to FS please.....
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 11:29
  #116 (permalink)  
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Hello again,

>"Just because you hold a basic licence doesn't give you the right to pontificate your opinions on here."
Even with a basic CPL you should land at the correct airport and on that front, I believe my opinions are just as valid as anyone's.

>"I believe that pilots should know where they are at all times. I have not flown large passenger jets, but I would expect that the first officer could check the GPS-derived coordinates before actually landing. Obviously, something fundamental like this needs to be done, even if it is simply a visual reference outside as a final confirmation that the airport observed is, in fact, the correct airport. It appears that the some of the most basic of navigational techniques, dead reckoning, was lost in this event."

>"Well, that just about sums up your lack of appreciation of the difference between flying a modern jet aircraft and whatever it is that you fly for your aerobatics. I won't even begin to go into the differences but your shoot yourself in the foot with the opener "I have not flown large passenger jets" and then go on to tell us what you would expect the F/O to be doing."

I normally fly E-300s at the moment. I have also flown the C-41 (along with about 15 other different, smaller craft). I was merely making a suggestion on what could be done to prevent this in the future. Surely you'll agree that something fundamental went wrong? As such, I believe that a fundamental solution to the problem is required. No matter what you fly you should always know where you are. Maybe my suggestion is an amature one for a large jet aircraft; with your experience, would you suggest something that could be changed that could prevent this kind of event from occuring? Would I be wrong in saying that 5nm is a large error in position for an airliner setting up for landing?
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 11:33
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I can fully understand why joe public wonders what is going on and then smirks at stories like this.

I am an Ex Military flyer. I would not dream of flying into an unfamiliar airfield without ensuring I had fully briefed myself and checked charts etc. That is basic airmanship and professionalism.

Basic DR navigation and map reading is among the fundamentals of navigation skills.

It is quite incredible (in my mind) that the pilot could have mistaken a disused run down airfield for a shiny civil one.

On the other side of the coin, were the ATCOs not looking out of the windows??? Alarm bells should have been ringing with a big gap on finals where there should have been an A/C!!

At the end of the day - mistakes do happen - talk of people losing their job is just ridiculous... maybe a little bit of re-training in airfield recognition though!!
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 11:42
  #118 (permalink)  

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Sympathy from the Troops

I must say it is nice to see that very little uninformed bashing is taking place, rather that experienced pilots know how very possible it is to screw up like this. We have all been close to this situation - usually one pilot notices in time.

Don't mention FEs either - I once had a hard job convincing my Capt and my FE that it wasn't the original Amman airport they insisted was ahead of us - but the one under construction, As we overflew it we saw the equipment all over...

Having said that, I was once ready to lob into the "wrong" Norfolk airfield, and my FO put me straight.

It takes a little tiredness and distraction...

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Old 31st Mar 2006, 12:52
  #119 (permalink)  
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I am generally disappointed bu all the second guessing here.How many times have you seen a collegue go down for something that has been flown from the chief pilots desk after a nice lunch- in the cold light of day.mistakes were made (obvious), but out of respect lets put our fingers in our pockets until the investigation in over.Comments from the like of 'imminent boner '( the name say it all!!) are not helpful, but guess hes just a giggling little w~~k~r.
Fly safe guys
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Old 31st Mar 2006, 13:24
  #120 (permalink)  
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Quite right wheelbarrow.

It was a navigation error, a bloody embarrassing one given that it ended up splashed all over the media, but no one died and nothing got bent. Doesn't really deserve the endless speculation or criticism it is getting here.

My limited experiences of going IFR to VFR (in a much slower Seneca - not Flight Sim) does not allow me to criticise - it can be very confusing with just one runway in sight.
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