Airline pilot ‘forced jet into sudden dive’ by mistake: Telegraph

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Airlines, Aviation & Airports (General News), USA
Tags: , , , ,

A sleepy Air Canada pilot who mistakenly believed his jet was about to crash into a US military plane forced a sudden dive that caused 16 injuries among passengers and crew on a transatlantic flight, a report says.

Seven of the injured were treated in the hospital on arrival in Zurich three hours later   Photo: AP

Seven of the injured were treated in the hospital on arrival in Zurich three hours later Photo: AP

The Transportation Safety Board report released on Monday describes the 46 seconds in which the plane dived and lurched back up during an overnight Air Canada flight from Toronto to Zurich in January 2011. Those hurt weren’t wearing seat belts, the report said.

According to the report, the plane’s first officer was napping during a rest period aimed at combating pilot fatigue when the captain’s report on their position woke him. At the same time, a US Air Force plane was approaching about 300 yards below. That set off cockpit alerts, which the captain mentioned to the first officer.

The “confused and disoriented” co-pilot at first mistook the planet Venus for the approaching plane, the report said. When he did spot it, he thought it was coming straight at them. He overrode the autopilot by forcefully pressing on the control column, pushing the jet into a dive.

Fourteen passengers and two flight attendants among the mostly 103 sleeping people aboard slammed into parts of the plane, getting cuts and bruises. The captain regained control as the US military plane passed safely and returned the plane to its cruising altitude.

“This occurrence underscores the challenge of managing fatigue on the flight deck,” Jon Lee, the investigator in charge, said in a statement.

Seven of the injured were treated in the hospital on arrival in Zurich three hours later….

Read the full story at The Daily Telegraph….


Source: agencies
17th April 2012


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