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Malaysia Airlines plane starts flying in the wrong direction

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Malaysia Airlines plane starts flying in the wrong direction

Old 28th Dec 2015, 07:34
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Erm...

One may expect an especial degree of sensitivity on the part of Malaysia Airlines pilots to their aircraft being on an unexpected heading to the Southern Ocean.

With the greatest possible respect, of course.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 08:18
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Surely a look at the compass, at the very least, must have told the crew something was not quiet right. Or have the basics gone completely out the window?

Notice I wrote the word basics. Anyone remember, what I mean? I think we are "so advanced" now to worry about them...not. Hmm.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 08:57
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Chuck, your final comment seems to sum up most Chief Pilots ! Wish chaps like you were in the chair in my day !
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 14:58
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Angry Wrong way

A casual friend of mine tells a story on himself that when he was in the US Navy flying the P3's they took off from Wake Island with the next destination being Japan. Right after takeoff he took up a easterly heading, until one of his squadron mates asked where in the hell are you going? Since he was going to the Far East it was only logical that the initial heading be in an easterly direction. Makes sense to me.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 16:08
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It happens in the best regulated environments. Departed Manchester one day, bound for a Greek island. Over southern England we were given a routeing totally different from the one on the flight plan. It seems Ops had sent one to us and a different one to ATC. A re-programme of the FMC, and a fuel check, and we were good to go, following the plan ATC had. No big deal, but then we were blessed with a benign route, with lots of alternates if it turned out our calculations were wrong.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 17:27
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RH:
Quote:
Anyone remember the Mount Erebus crash ?

My thought exactly.
Mine, too. Someone changed the waypoint coordinates in that tragedy.

We had a recent event, similar in a way. The passenger knew where he was supposed to go. The person he told knew where he wanted to go. We were given another destination in print. Suddenly, on final approach, it was all the fault of the crew. Thankfully we had sufficient fuel to go to the other destination. No big deal in our case, but there's nothing like telling the people actually doing the job what the real plan is supposed to be.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 19:58
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Along those lines I think a large SE US carrier had a couple on incidents back in the 90's where the crew on the wrong airplane and flew it to some other destination than where the pax had purchased their tickets for. Happened more than once as I recall.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 23:20
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A casual friend of mine tells a story on himself that when he was in the US Navy flying the P3's they took off from Wake Island with the next destination being Japan. Right after takeoff he took up a easterly heading, until one of his squadron mates asked where in the hell are you going?
Probably just looking for a place that would cash his perdiem checks in dollars instead of yen.

Along those lines I think a large SE US carrier had a couple on incidents back in the 90's where the crew on the wrong airplane and flew it to some other destination than where the pax had purchased their tickets for. Happened more than once as I recall.
Wasn't the Deltoids if it was the '90's. But, in 1980 they landed at MacDill Air Force Base instead of Tampa and Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami. And in 1987 they landed in Frankfort instead of Lexington, Kentucky.

A subsequent influx of Pan Am pilots in the early '90's raised the standards of navigation skills tremendously.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 01:36
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It's happened to me a few times over the years. When I'm accepting traffic in a non standard situation, e.g. on a radar heading from another sector due conflicting traffic I'll click to see where your flightplan says you want to go once clear. If I get the "say that waypoint again" in response it gets my guard up that something might be wrong (ie one of us is dog tired or we are looking at different flightplans).

ATC eff it up too. Remember the Northwest bound for Frankfurt years ago that was routed and vectored into Brussels? The crew didn't notice until they realised the runways in BRU were different colours to FRA.

Last edited by Una Due Tfc; 29th Dec 2015 at 01:52.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 06:56
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Malaysia jet didn't fly wrong way for 8 mins | Plane Talking


Posted from Pprune.org App for Android
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 07:37
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Back in the days of the Litton 9 waypoint INS, (where the crew had to insert subsequent WPTS manually as earlier WPTS were passed), I was told by someone who should know that (let's leave the company name out of it; sufficient to say "A South East Asian national carrier's") DC10 enroute SFO to Anchorage turned back to SFO after passing WPT 9 - because WPT 1 (and 2, and 3, and 4... all the way to 9) were still in the INS because the captain, who fancied his chances with a young flight attendant, went down the back not long after takeoff and stayed a little longer than anticipated - without briefing the FO to insert the subsequent WPTS.

When he got back to the flight deck and realised the aircraft was heading back to WPT 1 - south east and not north west, there was insufficient fuel to turn back for Anchorage. What ATC's reaction to this was not included in the story. The captain, a local, kept his job.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 08:39
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An unsubstantiated story from B742 days: a/c inbound UK from east after a long night flight from further east. No company routes, each WPT' inserted manually. Somewhere over the teutonic continent the a/c started to make a substantial turn around. Captain woke up and noticed the sun in the wrong place. Alerted F/O to the apparent anomaly. The 1st reaction was, "I know what I must have done, E instead of W for the next WPT or added a 1 to the E longitude." F/O dived into the 'box' to correct the error. Captain said, calmly, as he disconnected the A/P and pointed the a/c in roughly the correct direction, "let's get going towards home, and then you can mess about with the box of tricks." KISS.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 12:27
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Air Bubba you're just about wrong on every point you have posted, but no harm no foul since I don't think you understood my posting to begin with.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 15:12
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Air Bubba you're just about wrong on every point you have posted, but no harm no foul since I don't think you understood my posting to begin with.
And, let me guess, you happen to be too busy right now to give any examples of how I am just about wrong on every point...

the captain, who fancied his chances with a young flight attendant, went down the back not long after takeoff and stayed a little longer than anticipated - without briefing the FO to insert the subsequent WPTS.
I saw a demo of how not to impress a flight attendant with an overwater navigation system years ago. I was an FE on the B-727 deadheading on my own airline to an overseas assignment on a brand new shiny widebody with the latest in FMS glass cockpit navigation.

The captain was back dozing in his first class rest seat and I was wide awake and bored in the dark at 30 West. I hadn't had any champagne and wanted to see this new fangled computer stuff so I went up to the cockpit and said hello.

The two FO's were busy showing a young flight attendant all the bells and whistles and lights of the modern flight deck.

They wanted to spell her name on the nav displays with a manually entered off track waypoint but 'Katrina' had too many letters. One of the FO's figured that they could do it with two waypoints, one 'KATRI' placed next to another named 'NA'.

In a scene I've witnessed (and participated in) several times in the years since, both pilots went heads down furiously typing on the FMS boxes trying to get the waypoints to line up nicely on the screen. At some point one guy line selected one of the waypoints and the other executed it and the plane started a 90 degree turn in the general direction of KEF, or should I say, KATRI.

Instead of going to heading select to stay on the NAT track, the FO's continued the tandem typing and eventually the plane wallowed back to the proper course.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 16:02
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Well actually you're correct as I'm should be working on a project but let me familiarize you with some facts.


No operator had a greater loss rate on the 707 than Pan Am. There was a reason for that.


After the summer of 1987 at Delta they pulled their heads out of their arses and started doing things by the book and slowly but surely they got their act together, before Pan Am arrived on the scene. The Pan Am pilots were very good but they did not assume management positions for the most part that let them make changes. As far as I could tell Pan Am and Delta used pretty much identical procedures. It was transparent... for the most part.


I have worked for both airlines in the past so I have more than a casual interest in this subject.


I'm sure you will have something to add to this and I appreciate your point of view so don't go off on me with stuff that you might not have as much knowledge about as I do.


Was wondering if you were once a FTL pilot?

Last edited by Spooky 2; 29th Dec 2015 at 17:37.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 16:03
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Instead of going to heading select to stay on the NAT track, the FO's continued the tandem typing and eventually the plane wallowed back to the proper course.

Gawd help us if Microsoft Flight simulator ever makes it to the flight deck. You know; that's the one where the control columns are replaced with a key pad and you control the a/c via the up/down/left/right arrow keys. +/- is for thrust control. > = climb: < = descend. You can type in the speed you want, the HDG/TK, the FL. Takeoff is automatic based on speed attained and landing is automatic based on GPS & ground aids.
In fact it all looks so easy for tomorrows geeks & nerds that pilots are now redundant.
I'm still trying to find out which keys are for brakes, engine start/stop. Ah?
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 19:07
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I'm sure you will have something to add to this and I appreciate your point of view so don't go off on me with stuff that you might not have as much knowledge about as I do.
I can see that you probably have a lot more knowledge than me on most subjects.

After the summer of 1987 at Delta they pulled their heads out of their arses and started doing things by the book and slowly but surely they got their act together, before Pan Am arrived on the scene.
I was joking about the 783 Pan Am pilots raising standards but the feds were indeed all over Delta after a slew of screw-ups in 1987:

Delta Probe to Focus on Four Suspected Human Errors

July 16, 1987|ERIC MALNIC | Times Staff Writer

A federal investigation of Delta Airlines initially will focus on four safety-related incidents that apparently involved human error, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Frank Leyden said Wednesday.

The FAA is conducting a systemwide investigation of the carrier after at least a dozen mishaps in recent weeks involving Delta jetliners.

The latest incidents occurred Wednesday, when a Delta flight bound for Salt Lake City returned to Los Angeles International Airport shortly after takeoff because a galley door was improperly closed and another bound for Mexico returned to LAX after it experienced a control panel malfunction, the FAA said. No injuries were reported.

Dick Jones, a spokesman for Delta in Atlanta, said that the airline will cooperate in every way it can with the investigation.

"We are every bit as concerned about safety factors as the people at the FAA," Jones said. "We will enthusiastically participate in their review of Delta's procedures."

Leyden said investigators will examine Delta's long-range navigation procedures and training, crew training for routine and abnormal procedures, and pilot training.

The first four incidents targeted for scrutiny include the sudden plunge of a Delta Boeing 767 to within 600 feet of the ocean off Los Angeles when the pilot accidentally cut off fuel to both engines on June 30; the landing of a Delta Boeing 737 at the wrong airport in Kentucky on July 6; a narrow miss and a close pass of a Delta Lockheed L-1011 with other jetliners off Newfoundland on July 8; and another Delta 767 landing on the wrong runway in Boston last Sunday.

"The data collection phase has already begun and is expected to take three to six weeks," Leyden said. "Preliminary results should be available within 90 days. . . . The FAA will initiate immediate action to correct any deficiencies found."
Delta Probe to Focus on Four Suspected Human Errors - latimes

As far as I could tell Pan Am and Delta used pretty much identical procedures.
Pertinent to this long range navigation thread, Delta was forced to adopt Pan Am overwater procedures after the infamous 1987 L-1011 gross navigation error and coverup attempt. You'll remember that the Lockheed almost hit the Continental B-747. You might also remember that the L-1011 then followed the contrail of Clipper Skipper Skip Coolidge in his A310 to radio nav and landfall:

Disturbed by new evidence that bad piloting nearly caused a collision of two jumbo jet airliners over the Atlantic in July, the United States and Canada yesterday announced urgent recommendations for upgrading intercontinental navigation procedures.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the Delta Air Lines crew members whose 60-mile error led to the incident ''did not plot their present or predicted positions'' on a special chart when crossing checkpoints. The Delta plane did not carry such charts, which are recommended but not required by Government rules. Nor did the crew members otherwise verify that they were following the assigned track, the board said.

The board said the two American planes, both westbound from England to the United States and carrying a total of almost 600 people, had flown within about 30 feet of each other. Previous estimates of the distance between the planes was ''100 feet or less.'' The Canadian Aviation Safety Board said only that the distance was somewhere from 30 to 100 feet.

In the July 8 incident, which occurred around midday in clear weather about halfway across the ocean, the three-engine Delta L-1011 and a four-engine Continental Airlines Boeing 747 were assigned to parallel east-to-west tracks 60 miles apart at the same altitude, 31,000 feet. Near Collision Over Atlantic

But the Delta plane gradually strayed south toward the Continental plane's track and, at a slight angle, passed just beneath the 747 to the horror of people on board who, at the last moment, saw what happened.

The consensus among safety experts is that the crew of the Delta plane inserted incorrect data into the inertial navigation system, which automatically guides a plane from waypoint to waypoint, and neglected to check the plane's position.

One way to check would have been to draw the projected flight path on a special navigation chart and, as each waypoint was reached, make sure that the position shown in the computerized navigation system coincided with the position prescribed on the chart.

But the Delta plane lacked the special chart, and checking it is only one of several typical checking procedures that can be used on such flights. Another involves referring to a written flight plan made out before the flight, which is a listing of geographical latitude and longitude coordinates for each successive waypoint on the trip.

Talk of Keeping Incident Quiet

After the near miss, in a radio conversation involving the crews of the two planes and of two other airliners in the area, repeated suggestions were made that the incident not be reported to the authorities. But the Continental pilot firmly refused to go along. The gist of what he said at one point, according to an industry source, was, ''I have passengers pounding on the door, and crying, and they saw the whole thing out the windows.''

Ultimately the three other craft helped guide the Delta jumbo back to its proper track. But the dominant view of Government and industry specialists is that the deviation from course should have been reported immediately to traffic controllers.

The United States safety board addressed this issue in yesterday's action, saying that ''because the incident was not reported in a timely manner, the responsible air traffic control facility was unaware of the gross navigation error'' and therefore could not guide the Delta plane ''to a safe position on a track free of conflicting traffic.''

When the Delta jet returned to its track, the board said, ''it was unaware of the location of other aircraft on the track, and, as a result, it could have created an additional hazard to other aircraft.''

Sharp Criticism of Delta

The sharp criticism of Delta by both the American and Canadian agencies further damaged the image of an airline that, despite an exemplary reputation over the years, has been reeling from the effects of at least four recent dangerous incidents caused by crew mistakes.

In addition to the near miss over the ocean, they included an inadvertent shutdown of both engines that brought a Boeing 767 to just 600 feet over the Pacific, a landing at the wrong airport and another landing on the wrong runway.

The F.A.A. then began a special investigation of Delta, with initial emphasis on pilot training and procedures. Agency officials said yesterday that the inquiry was near completion.

The Delta pilots involved in the near miss have been suspended from flying, a spokesman for the carrier, Bill Berry, said yesterday. But the company declined to say how long the suspension was to last.
STIFF RULES ASKED IN THE NAVIGATING OF OCEAN FLIGHTS - NYTimes.com
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 20:28
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......... and of course we can't forget the BOAC Hermes that crashed in the Sahara in 1952 ..... even a passenger noticed that the sun was on the wrong side of the aeroplane.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 23:02
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G-ALDN "the Hermes in the desert" had a combination of the " holes in a Swiss cheese" to make it easier to produce the errors.

TRUE courses were to be steered. This required whoever was Navigating that sector to adjust the Magnetic Variation Setting Control to the Local Magnetic Variation = which started at 3 Degrees W , increasing to 6 Degrees W or more during the flight

The V.S.C. was calibrated in TENS of degrees.... With a X10 printed above the calibration. The flight would have started misleading. right from the departure.

IF Tripoli had had VOR installed and operating at that date then the fact that the Hermes was tracking. in the wrong direction might have been apparent. The ADF would have pointed back over the tail.... Whatever direction the a/c was heading, N S E or W.

There were no NDBs available, reliably, on that route.

As a Britavia Hermes F/O I had been trained by B.O.A.C . in the use of the Hughes Periscopic sextant which demanded NOW "improved star recognition" THANKS to this accident.

( Perhaps F/Os did most of the "Chart Table Navigation". Britavia did not employ " Straight Navigators".)

PS The " passenger who noticed..." may have been a steward who had had some N/O training in the R..A.F. Or so we were told.

The VSC had been disconnected and the "X10" painted over. We flew Co (C) instead.

LT

Last edited by Linktrained; 29th Dec 2015 at 23:20. Reason: ps
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 23:38
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The CAL/DAL incident over the NAT was prior to the water shed events of 1987. Recall that they has also lost a L1011 in DFW.

Delta never adopted any Pan Am International procedures period. UAL on the other hand benefited from a former Pan Am guy who did assume a management position and wrote many manuals that were looked upon very favorably. Can't recall his name now but he was very effective.

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