Thursday 8 September 2016

AirAsia pilot ends in Melbourne instead of KL

From the Guardian:

"AirAsia pilot ends up in Melbourne instead of Malaysia after navigation error".

An AirAsia flight from Sydney to Malaysia ended up in Melbourne instead when the pilot entered the wrong coordinates into the internal navigation system, an air safety investigation has found.

The Airbus A330 was scheduled to leave Sydney international airport at 11.55am on 10 March 2015, and arrive in Kuala Lumpur just under nine hours later.

Instead, through a combination of data entry errors, crew ignoring unexplained chimes from the computer system, and bad weather in Sydney, it landed in Melbourne just after 2pm.

Melbourne airport is 722km southwest of Sydney. Kuala Lumpur is 6,611km northwest.

More comments on this incident can be found here, a "rumour network for professional pilots".

The incident should not have happened, thanks to the simple invention of the checklist, as neatly described in the highly recommended book "The Checklist Manifesto" from Atul Gawande.

The author has a medical background and is quite "jealous" at the airline industry, where checklists are common for many decades and have reduced the chance for errors to almost zero, in contrast with the medical industry, where errors are still rather common.

Many relevant examples are given in the book. Interestingly enough, also regarding investing, the usage of checklists seems to have a good effect on finding suitable investment candidates, both in the Venture Capital industry (regarding high-tech start up companies) and in the more conventional value investing industry.

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