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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 26th Dec 2015, 19:23
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Malaysia Airlines plane starts flying in the wrong direction

"An investigation has been launched after a Malaysia Airlines plane took off from Auckland Airport on Christmas Day and surprised the pilot with the direction it started flying.

Just eight minutes into the direct flight to Kuala Lumpur, MH132's pilot queried why his Airbus A330 was heading so far south.

He wondered why the plane was heading towards Melbourne and not taking a more direct flight path to the Malaysian capital.

It is understood passengers on board the flight, which left at 2.23am Christmas Day, were not alerted to the mix-up."

Malaysia Airlines plane starts flying in the wrong direction - National - NZ Herald News

pilot wondered where the plane was going?!
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 19:51
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pilot wondered where the plane was going?!
Methinks it was probably going where (directly or indirectly) the pilot told it to go
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 20:00
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Don't Malaysian pilots check their flight plans - as prepared by either the airline itself or a contracted agency - before boarding the aircraft, or do they just load numbers into the computer and go along for a mystery ride ?

The route may indeed not be a direct line from A to B for a variety of reasons, taking into account wind, weather, airspace restrictions etc. etc. but the time to question is before accepting it, when the amount of fuel calculated has to be checked, as well ?

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 21:44
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"Now what's it doing?" said Alice, eight minutes later.
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 23:12
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Very strange, makes it sound like the fplan was loaded without anyone checking it or reviewing it with the crew then being surprised when it wasn't the routing they were used too.

Surely they would have reviewed the plan before getting onboard the aircraft let alone airborne.

Pilots really are there own worst enemies some times.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 01:11
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Looks like MH132 was filed out of the NZAA FIR over PEBLU N759 to SASRO to enter the YBBB FIR. Once they hit SASRO it appears that the filed routing was nearly direct to the Sepang aerodrome.

Here's the filed routing (in that familiar non-human readable format that some cultures seem to crave):

PEBLU N759 SASRO M080F340 M636 PLUGA M081F360 M636 TESAT H44 KAT A576 KALUG M081F380 A576 AS A587 ONOXA N0470F400 G326 BLI M635 SURGA M081F400 M635 TPG A464 SJ G579 LAPOL N0470F400 G579 VJB A457 GUPTA
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/...235Z/NZAA/WMKK

It looks like the more normal initial routing for this flight would be PAPTI A464 RIGMI.

Did some 'ham radio operator' hear the exchange with ATC and call the media? Please don't tell the news folks that those NAT Track airways were moved again today.

In recent years we've been told that the flight planning computer software considers all the variables and picks the best route for the flight and that we shouldn't second guess it as mere pilots. I've sure had a prayer meeting before with the dispatcher on Satcom asking why we're flying two hundred miles in the wrong direction before turning back around for the crossing. She didn't know but said she was required to file a form with flight ops if I refused the computer generated routing. Didn't want that to happen so I signed the flight plan, took off and ATC gave us direct to the first oceanic point.

Was the wrong flight plan in the FMS? Or did the MH crew just ask why they were going so far west before turning toward KUL today? Weather, military or Santa ops possibly?

Here's some fairly good media discussion on what seems to me to be a non-event:

Airways ground staff said typically an airline will decide the route for a certain flight.

This route would be communicated to Airways, and then get passed on to air traffic controllers. Air traffic would then direct the flight's take off and landing, and a route would be programmed into the plane to provide turning points and direction for the pilot.

A spokeswoman for Airways said the glitch could be explained by a miscommunication of plans.

"The flight path the airline filed us was going to Kuala Lumpur, but following a slightly different flight plan that the pilot had on board."

"Quite quickly after taking off the pilot realised that the direction that we were sending him in was different."

The plane was headed towards Melbourne, rather than taking a more direct route to the Malaysian capital.

After talking to the bemused pilot, Airways uploaded their flight route to the airborne plane.

The pilot adjusted to the surprise, continuing across the Tasman Sea before heading north-west to the destination.

The spokeswoman said the new route was in fact an established flight plan to Kuala Lumpur - but not the one the pilot had planned to follow.

"Airlines often choose different flight plans depending on weather and other variables."

The spokeswoman said Airways would be looking into the incident.

She said passengers on board the flight were at no point in any danger, as the flight was still under radar control.
Nice picture of the A330 cockpit in the article :

Malaysia Airlines' Christmas route surprises pilot leaving Auckland | Stuff.co.nz
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 08:03
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If the pilot on the December 25th flight was "surprised", I'd hate to think what the reaction of the pilot was on the 16th Dec

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/...235Z/NZAA/WMKK

Last edited by ex-EGLL; 27th Dec 2015 at 13:56.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 08:40
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Common guys, it has happened before. Very gung-ho dispatchers fired off a new operational flight plan due to new meteorological data for upper winds, but forgot to refile the ATC flight plan. Crew loaded in the OFP route in the fmgc.

On obtaining clearance, the only got " cleared XYZ on xxxxx departure, oceanic transition, squawk 1122 " which they flew dutifully. It was only after flying the SID, only after they were cleared direct to the FIR boundary/Oceanic transition that the crew realised the discrepancy and queried their onward clearance!

Sometimes it is only a matter of a few knots of headwind/tailwind but the idiot boxes churn out different routes saving about 100-200 kg of fuel.

Much ado about nothing. Some mischievous blokes hitting hard on some third world airline down on its luck! It makes hot splashy news and all the bully boys patting themselves on the back. Low blow below the belt when rivals are already down on the mat!
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 08:55
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Say WHAT?

Last I heard, minor - or even MAJOR changes from original flight plans were common. Some are to accommodate traffic; some are intended to avoid weather issues and perhaps other possible issues. That much is all in a day's work for any bro or sis pilots, whether local flyers or the 12+ hour crowd. It happens and it is even ~~normal.
The part that I do NOT understand is why no one, ATC, Company Dispatch or some other entity bothered to inform the flight crew. I've read the notes, read (and questioned) the major media accounts - they are never to be trusted... I still have to wonder either, 1) what I have missed, or 2) WTF happened. Sorry kids, but I do not understand what happened here. I'm inclined to congratulate the MH crew for asking, but I/we really do not yet have enough information to know. This DOES require some detailed inquiry...
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 18:40
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Wonder if the MH captain was influenced in his questioning of the initial route by the fact that an ANZ B787 going to Singapore took off just before him and went on the "northerly" route heading for overhead Brisbane?

The MAS flew over the top of Singapore just as the ANZ landed there. Flight times on the two different routes ex Auckland were therefore comparable. ANZ went overhead Brisbane and Darwin; MAS went overhead Sydney and Alice Springs.

Information from FR24 replay.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 20:48
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A wee bit of route confusion and this makes Front Page on prune? Rumour or news??? It wouldn't even make interesting gossip in most crew rooms.

God, what is this place coming to?

Moderators, puhleese!
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 20:54
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Anyone remember the Mount Erebus crash ?
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 21:02
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Originally Posted by Wageslave
A wee bit of route confusion and this makes Front Page on prune? Rumour or news??? It wouldn't even make interesting gossip in most crew rooms.

God, what is this place coming to?

Moderators, puhleese!
It seems to have sparked an official internal inquiry by Airways. From the press article

Although there were no apparent safety concerns with the confusion, Airways yesterday confirmed it was investigating.

"We have an internal safety team who will investigate it," a spokeswoman said.

"The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting."

Airways will "work closely" with the much-maligned carrier to find out how the confusion came about, the spokeswoman said.
And this now from Aviation Herald seems to throw a bit more light and notes that MH are now holding an investigation

Incident: Malaysia A333 over Tasman Sea on Dec 25th 2015, crew, dispatch and ATC out of sync

A Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300, registration 9M-MTG performing flight MH-132 from Auckland (New Zealand) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), was climbing out of Auckland on a southwesterly heading consistent with a flight track towards Sydney,NS (Australia), when the crew queried with air traffic control why they were heading that far south. Air Traffic Control cross checked and reported that they had received a flight plan to Kuala Lumpur taking the aircraft across the Tasman Sea on a southerly routing, enter Australia near Sydney and carry on towards Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft continued across the Tasman Sea, entered Australia just south of Sydney and landed safely in Kuala Lumpur on schedule.

The airline confirmed that the aircraft tracked to Kuala Lumpur on a slightly different route that the crew did not expect. The route was selected due to winds at cruise level. An internal safety investigation has been opened however.

On Dec 27th 2015 the airline added that the flight was given the latest flight plan by the airline's dispatch, however, air traffic control inadvertently received an earlier flight plan. "Both routes were following an approved flight path and the aircraft had enough fuel for both routes. The safety of both passengers and crew were never compromised at any time. Malaysia Airlines is currently conducting its investigation in the flight plan submission."
Far better to investigate and plug a potential hole in the swiss cheese don't you think? Need to know why did the confusion arise in the first place.

Last edited by Suzeman; 27th Dec 2015 at 22:11.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 21:19
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In the early 1980's. a PWA B737 departed Yellowknife NWT (CYZF) to Norman Wells NWT (CYVQ). Unfortunately, Churchill MB (CYYQ) was programmed into the flight director. CYYQ is nearly in the opposite direction to the intended flight. The error went unchecked for quite a while until human intervention prevented a near disaster. Keep in mind that vast area of Canada was not under ATC radar surveillance.

Nevil Shute's novel "Pastoral" contains some drama when a WW.II bomber departs on a heading of 320 instead of 302.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 21:31
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ATC having one FPL and the crew flying according to another was nothing all that uncommon at my unit. It got sorted and we moved on.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 00:13
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A wee bit of route confusion and this makes Front Page on prune?
Never have worked out how to post on the Back Page of PPRuNe!!
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 01:16
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RH:
Anyone remember the Mount Erebus crash ?
My thought exactly.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 01:52
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evansb:

Nevil Shute's novel "Pastoral" contains some drama when a WW.II bomber departs on a heading of 320 instead of 302.
Those WWII IMC disasters recall the TWA CFIT with Carol Lombard.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 02:44
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Grrr MH 370 Solved...

The mystery is solved ... MH 370 was obviously just a little computer-generated, un-briefed "double reverse great circle" shortcut, which the crew blindly followed, while preoccupied with an endless loop of power-cycling the comms!
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 03:37
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And this now from Aviation Herald seems to throw a bit more light and notes that MH are now holding an investigation

Incident: Malaysia A333 over Tasman Sea on Dec 25th 2015, crew, dispatch and ATC out of sync

Quote:
A Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300, registration 9M-MTG performing flight MH-132 from Auckland (New Zealand) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), was climbing out of Auckland on a southwesterly heading consistent with a flight track towards Sydney,NS (Australia), when the crew queried with air traffic control why they were heading that far south. Air Traffic Control cross checked and reported that they had received a flight plan to Kuala Lumpur taking the aircraft across the Tasman Sea on a southerly routing, enter Australia near Sydney and carry on towards Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft continued across the Tasman Sea, entered Australia just south of Sydney and landed safely in Kuala Lumpur on schedule.

The airline confirmed that the aircraft tracked to Kuala Lumpur on a slightly different route that the crew did not expect. The route was selected due to winds at cruise level. An internal safety investigation has been opened however.

On Dec 27th 2015 the airline added that the flight was given the latest flight plan by the airline's dispatch, however, air traffic control inadvertently received an earlier flight plan. "Both routes were following an approved flight path and the aircraft had enough fuel for both routes. The safety of both passengers and crew were never compromised at any time. Malaysia Airlines is currently conducting its investigation in the flight plan submission."
Gleneagles, I bow to your wisdom and sagely reply. You got it right on. A sign of a true aviator who knows the ins and outs of the profession.

To those ever so keen to find fault, jump to conclusions and pillory others just to feel good about themselves...it is sad indeed that you have really devolved!
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