Pilot missed warnings in taxiway take-off try

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am


The pilot of a Finnair Airbus A340 misread visual cues while trying to take off from a taxiway rather than a runway at Chek Lap Kok airport more than a year ago, a Civil Aviation Department investigation found.

The agency said yesterday that all the proper cues and lighting were in place and working, and should have served as reminders of the plane's position when the pilot tried to take off for Helsinki just before 5.30pm in November 2010 with 260 passengers and 14 crew aboard.

The mistake could have been exacerbated by the airline's policy to encourage pilots to make a 'rolling take-off, when possible', meaning they are encouraged to turn onto the runaway and accelerate for take-off in one motion. Such a policy allows little time for crew to double-check their position visually before powering up to take flight.

The captain spotted, but misinterpreted the red stop bar lights in the haste, the report stated. Finnair should review its standard operating procedures on verifying the departure runway and consider better pilot training on responses to visual cues and warning signals, the agency said.

The flight was stopped by air traffic control. No one was injured.