Re: A few questions

From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         10 Jan 96 02:01:42 
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1996.5@ohare.Chicago.COM>, wilder@unixg.ubc.ca
(Kevin M. Wilder) wrote:

>         In this month's Flying magazine, one of thier regular columnists
> (Len Morgan) mentions two somewhat comical commercial aviation
> incidents.  The first of these involves a US commercial airliner that not
> only landed at the wrong airport, but in the wrong country, and the
> second (and more serious) involves an airliner that "ditched" in the Sahara
> after running out of fuel.  Does anyone have any more information on
> these events?

The wrong country incident was a Northwest flight on its way to
Frankfurt.  Somewhere over Ireland, the air traffic controllers apparently
got the idea that the flight was bound for Brussels, and began directing
the flight accordingly.  The amazing thing (to me) is that the pilots
never caught the error.  They followed the controllers' instructions all
the way in to Brussels.  But what was TRULY amazing was that all the
passengers could see on the moving map displays in the cabins exactly
where they were bound.  When it was obvious from the displays that the
plane was headed for Brussels, or at least NOT to Frankfurt, the
passengers began pointing this out to the cabin crew.  The attendents,
even though they could see the displays themselves, refused to question
the flight crew, stating that during the approach phase of the flight they
were not allowed to disturb the pilots.  By the time the plane was on
approach to Brussels airport, the only people who didn't know where they
were were the two men in the cockpit.  The first they realized they were
200 miles away from where they were supposed to be was when they broke out
of the overcast and saw the Brussels runway in front of them.  The captain
elected to go ahead and land.  The crew was immediately relieved of duty,
and the passengers were bussed to Frankfurt, arriving 6 hours late.  I
don't know how the blame for all this was ulitmately divided up, nor do I
know what action, if any, has been taken against the flight crew.  At no
time was the plane in any danger, as the flight crew and the controllers
did a routine job of flying to Brussels via the normal traffic routes and
approaches.  Go figure....

C. Marin Faure
Video Services, The Boeing Company
author, Flying A Floatplane