Sat, Nov 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Aviation Safety Council backs pilot over Jeju near miss

STAFF WRITER

The Cabinet's Aviation Safety Council (ASC) yesterday released its preliminary investigation report on the near mid-air collision over South Korea's Jeju Island on Nov. 16, stating that the action taken by the pilot of the Far Eastern Air Transport flight FE306 was correct.

According to the ASC's report, pilot Chen Szu-han (陳思漢) reacted appropriately throughout the incident.

Although the plane plunged about 490m within 10 seconds to avoid a nearby aircraft, the ASC believed that the sudden plunge was "acceptable."

no comment

However, the ASC refused to comment on the question of whether Korean air-traffic controllers were responsible for the near collision.

According to the ASC's interview with Chen, he was granted permission to lower his aircraft's position from 11,887m to 9,449m at 10:04am as it approached Jeju International Airport. But when the plane descended to 10,607m three minutes later, air traffic controllers suddenly told him to stop his descent immediately.

Meanwhile, the aircraft's collision warning alarm also sounded and Chen saw a Thai Airways flight heading towards his aircraft. He immediately put his aircraft into a dive in accordance with the instructions of the alarm system, while air controllers ordered that the plane descend immediately.

investigation team

According to ASC Chairman Wu Jing-shown (吳靜雄), South Korea's Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (ARAIB) has authorized his council to lead the investigation team.

The ASC will release a complete report after the interpretation of both the plane's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

Thai Airways also promised to send the FDR of its flight to Taiwan soon, in order to help identify the cause of the near miss.

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