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Mid-air gaffe: AirAsia pilot flies to Melbourne instead of Malaysia

By Newsd
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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.

According to a report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published on Wednesday, the problem occurred when faulty earmuffs prompted the captain and first officer to swap their usual pre-flight checks.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau report said the captain and the first officer altered their usual pre-flight checks after a problem with faulty earmuffs.

Instead of entering the longitude as 151° 9.8’ east, or 15109.8 in the system, he incorrectly entered it as 15° 19.8′ east, or 01519.8, according to The Guardian .

“This resulted in a positional error in excess of 11,000km, which adversely affected the aircraft’s navigation systems and some alerting systems,” the report said.