Air China flight 428 from Hong Kong to Chengdu managed to avoid catastrophe on Sunday night shortly after taking off from the Hong Kong airport. Let’s see if you can figure out where exactly things went wrong.
Usual flight path CA428
Flight path CA428 on Sunday 4 June
That slight deviation lead to this incredible exchange between pilot and air control officer provided by the South China Morning Post:
14:11 Officer: Air China 428, turn right immediately. Turn right immediately. Heading 0 caution 270. Terrain ahead, expedite climb.
14:20 Officer: Air China 428.
14:22 Pilot: [Inaudible].
14:24 Officer: Air China 428, expedite climb. Terrain ahead. Terrain alert. Expedite climb passing 5,000 feet. Expedite.
14:30 Pilot: [Inaudible] …
31:43 Officer: Air China 428.
31:45 Pilot: Hey, here is Air China 428.
31:47 Officer: Um, we will have to file a report about the turn just now so, um, just to let you know.
31:53 Pilot: Um, sorry. OK, I got it.
The incident did not pose any threat to aviation or public safety
The China Airline flight CA428 heading for Chengdu from Hong Kong “deviated from the standard departure track,” the Civil Aviation Department admitted, but added that the air traffic control officer detected the anomaly immediately.
The pilot was guided on to the right track.
It’s not clear why the plane veered off course or why it took the pilot so long to respond to commands from the air traffic control officer. An Air China spokesman said that there were problems with a busy radio frequency, which lead to the pilot turning first before confirming the directions with the officer.