An Air China flight flew in the wrong direction after departing Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport this past Sunday, making it the second pilot error in as many weeks.
Before take off, the pilot of flight CA4401 to Lhasa was instructed by air traffic control to turn 330 degrees to the left after takeoff. The pilot did not confirm the order on receiving it, and instead turned 330 degrees to the right once he was in the air.
The mistake was immediately recognized by the pilots and, after notifying the tower, changed direction and eventually resumed its proper flight path.
An unidentified employee of Air China Southwest confirmed the incident to Thepaper.cn.
This past May, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) punished five airlines for causing a number of near-misses due to “pilot error“.
In May 2015, Transaero flight UN8888 to Moscow lost its way after taking off from Beijing Airport, straying into the low airspace of residential areas. A netizen living near Huawei Bridge said they were woken up by the deafening sound of an airplane.
Just last week, a near-miss occurred at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport when two different planes, one taking off and the other landing, occupied the same runway.
The pilot of a China Eastern Airbus A320 performed an emergency liftoff as it barrelled down the runway towards a China Eastern A330, which was taxiing across the runway. The two jets were separated by 20 meters as the A320 flew over the A330. A preliminary investigation by the CAAC determined that errors made by the airport’s air traffic controllers were responsible for the near-miss.