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Ethiopian...two in a row...!?

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Ethiopian...two in a row...!?

Old 5th Apr 2021, 23:28
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Question Ethiopian...two in a row...!?

Nothing personnal against the airline wich i fully respect...but it seems a lil bit weird...

Incident: Ethiopian B738 at Ndola on Apr 4th 2021, approached airport under construction and went around from 50 feet AGL


Incident: Ethiopian B738 at Ndola on Apr 4th 2021, landed at airport under construction
JanetFlight is offline  
Old 5th Apr 2021, 23:42
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According to Simple Flying (https://simpleflying.com/ethiopian-cargo-wrong-airport/), "that plane operated a flight from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa to the previously named ‘Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport’ in Ndola, which has recently been renamed ‘Ndola International’. Instead, the Boeing 737-800 landed at the yet-to-be-finished Copperbelt International Airport, which has recently been renamed Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe."

So maybe ET Flight Ops briefed both the crews to fly to ‘Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport’, not realising that in a feat of absolute genius the name had been switched to the new unfinished airport, and off they flew to the wrong place.
The fact that two flights made the same 'mistake' makes this quite likely in my mind.
The flight crews were both "simply following orders" and had moments when they realised they were going to the wrong place.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 23:51
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I have had expeience of training some Ethiopian crews and was universally impressed with their standards and competence.

It sounds like there was a fundamental error somewhere along the line for two crews to make a similar mistake in quick succession.

I personally know a crew flying for a well known British Airline who positioned a B747-400 to Cardiff from LHR having accidentally made a visual approach and go-around at St.Athan first!
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 02:07
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I would assume both of the renamed airports still had unique ICAO identifiers -the same ones that are the only ones avionics suites will accept (in my personal experience)- and that it would require crew intervention at some level to modify that to a travel agents identifier, that may be not only not unique, but as easily portable as the name of the airport.

Hence the wrong airport.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 03:27
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Like M.Mouse I also have had the experience of training some Ethiopian crews and was extremely impressed with their standards and competence. They put many US and European crews to shame.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 04:15
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Where I work the flight plan is downloaded direct to the FMC via ACARS and checked against the route sent to my iPad.
Flight Dispatch might be the real problem ?
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 09:38
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Possibly Nav Data corruption in the FMS, alas an early update to the new airport?

However, what really dazzles me is the immediate re-takeoff of the freighter aircraft. I mean, you can it up at times, happens to everyone, but then at least give it some time and rethink and analyse instead of basically undertaking the second illegal operation at a closed airport within a couple of minutes. That's just outright stupid.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 10:14
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Reading AvH it seems the ICAO code was moved to the new airport, so no obvious FMS issues.
Seems more likely that dispatch may have not been notified the opening was delayed?!

Still no excuse for the other issues though.

MLE is another easy 'fixation' on new runway.... but its only 100m apart.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 11:25
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Hmmm.....no ATC radar coverage? Visual approaches? And certainly a take-off from the uncompleted field without performance calculations, and presumable no flight plan?

Whatever the reputation of Ethiopian Airlines, these incidents pose serious questions.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 11:54
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George Glass

Wonderful children of the magenta -> just follow the holy download.
Flying still happens in the real world and there is no freeze button out there.
No wonder the manufacturer and airline CEOs are pushing for the 0 pilot operation, they prove useless to rectify programming and managing errors anyway, Ethiopian or not.
Brave new world.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 12:17
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The "children of the magenta" quip is getting really old now. How many of those using that phrase also use Sat Nav in their cars for example?

Unless we all go back to open cockpit piston aircraft, technology is here to stay, and tomorrow's pilots will be those who know how to operate the technology.

We don't know what happened here, but it does seem that the data base in Operations had not been updated? I am sure the pilots would have checked the FMGS route and waypoints, against the PLOG, as we all do.
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Old 6th Apr 2021, 20:31
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Actually this was a reader comment claiming the ICAO code was moved. However, this information is wrong.

Both FLSK (FL Simon Kapwepwe) and FLND refer to the very same airport, identify the same coordinates and same procedures.

The airport was named Ndola International until 2011 and had ICAO Code FLND.

In 2011 it was renamed to Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and changed the ICAO Code to FLSK.

According to Zambia Airport Services FLSK is used until today. However, after referring to FLSK since 2011 the CAA used FLND again in a NOTAM summary released in Jan 2020 (15 months ago). Hence that confusion about the ICAO identifier.

But again, as both identifiers show the same coordinates and procedures, no confusion of the airport.

The new Copperbelt Airport has not yet been documented at all and has no ICAO code.
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 03:20
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Itís been done before. Two runways, same direction, almost in line. A 747 and a C-17 come immediately to mind.
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 08:48
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Originally Posted by RadioSaigon View Post
I would assume both of the renamed airports still had unique ICAO identifiers
I wouldn't be so sure - associating an ICAO identifier with the as-yet-unopened new airport would be very unusual and, in this case, jumping the gun. So, while the intent may well be to re-allocate FLSK to the new Simon Kapwepwe Airport once it opens, at present it still relates to the existing airport.

It's possible, though unlikely, that the provider Ethiopian uses for FMS data may have implemented that change prematurely.

The previous code for the current airport - FLND - hasn't been a current ICAO code (per Doc 7910) for the last 10 years or so, notwithstanding what Wikipedia thinks.

Last edited by DaveReidUK; 7th Apr 2021 at 16:18. Reason: dyslexia
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 12:15
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How long has ET been operating to Ndola, and have these crews flown there before?
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 13:20
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I see FR24 till shows FLND as NLA old airport so it must still be current some where......
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 16:23
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Old 7th Apr 2021, 23:13
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I would presume there was an EGPWS on short finals in both cases due to no valid runway ahead. It's happened me approaching new runways where the aircraft database was not yet updated (correct airport though!).
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