Friday, July 2, 2010

MAS Aircraft "Near Miss" Civil Aviation Should Investigate.

Hantu Laut

Our flight MAS MH2609 that was supposed to depart Kota Kinabalu at 4.10 p.m. was delayed for about 25 minutes. The stopover at Labuan for 30 minutes was the result of my carelessness for not reading the fine prints.Didn't notice the tiny (#1) print just below the particular flight indicating 1 stop over when I booked online.As time was of constraint did not bother to change the flight.MAS must have learned from insurance companies how to trap its costumers what they see is not what they buy.

I have been here many times but Labuan has never been my favourite town.It simply has no real attractions, no sensuality, no colour. It's a real dump, pallid and charmless, where only cheap cigarettes, cheap booze, honky-tonk bars and cheap sex the only attractions.No bona fide tourist in his right mind would go to Labuan.Its history of being a colonial outpost in days bygones left no visible relics whatsoever.

I expected the flight from Labuan to Kuala Lumpur to be quite empty and even told my wife to reassure her.This is one of the few times I hated myself for being cocksurely wrong.The almost endless stream of people boarding the plane was enough to amuse my wife that a few hours ago was fuming mad that she has to be on this plane.It amused her because I was wrong.It was packed like sardines.

The flight took off smoothly although there were low clouds everywhere during the ascend.

Almost 50 minutes out of Labuan and looking out of the window I told my wife how beautiful those clouds were adorned with reflection of the setting sun giving them a golden tinge.Flying in westerly direction we were actually chasing the sunset. Good God! Next moment, another jet plane, much smaller than the Boeing 737 that we were on passed split second just below the wing tip of our plane going in the opposite direction.

It gave my wife and I the biggest jolt of our life and we exclaimed so loudly we actually woke up our fellow passenger in the next seat.Being frequent flyer and knowing some aviation rules I know that was almost a disaster.I hope I was wrong in my assumption.

I hope the captain of MAS flight 2409, if he is aware of the near miss or close call, unless his radar did not pick up the other flying object, has lodged a report with the Civil Aviation Department to investigate.It happened at about 6.45 p.m. on 29 June, Labuan to KL Flight MH2609 and the other aircraft looked like a private jet.

A near miss, a close call or near collision are terms used when aircraft passed each other too close for comfort.

Commercial airliners are considered dangerously close if they are one mile apart.A quarter of a mile apart or less is a "near miss" and more or less on a collision course and what we saw was pretty pretty close. Normally, three miles is the minimum separation in some airspace.

(I have reported by email the incident to the DG of the Department of Civil Aviation to determine whether the incident has been reported or was I wrong in my assumption what construes a 'near miss' ?)

Unfortunately, the email bounced back.

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.7.1 Message rejected as spam by Content Filtering. (state 18).

For some unknown reason many government department's email seems to behave rather strangely and are difficult to get through.


Anonymous said...

bro.. i suggest, next time, u naik MAS yang sure belanggar. Lepas dia accident, u mati dulu. Then baru u gi komplen, musti diorang dengar.. ala bro, sama macam politik kat mesia kan... kasi mampos dulu, baru nak repair.. Tak caya? Tanya UMNO ka PAS ka PKR ka... musti dia kata " malaysia boleh".

Anonymous said...

Dear Hantulautan,

We refer to your blog post above regarding your flight experience on MH2609 from Kota Kinabalu with a stop over at Labuan en route to Kuala Lumpur dated 29 June 2010.

Thank you for raising your concerns. For your information, all our aircraft are equipped with the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). This system functions to detect any aircrafts that is within a flight path of our aircraft.

It’s a mandatory rule by the Department of Civil Aviation that the TCAS system on the B737 aircraft must be functioning before any flight.

We have found that the incident to which you refer to did not trigger any TCAS warning. This indicates that the other aircraft was too far away and therefore did not trigger the TCAS warning.

In addition, Malaysia Airlines strictly adheres to the Required Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airways which dictate 1000ft minimum vertical separation between 2 aircrafts on opposite direction.

Should there have been an incident, the pilot is mandated to file an Air Safety Report (ASR) with our Flight Operations Safety Department within 24 hours.

As there was no incident, the operating Captain of the flight did not file any report. The Captain is a senior and experienced pilot who is also an Authorized Examiner by the Department of Civil Aviation.

We would like to assure you that the safety of our passengers is our top priority. In everything that we do, there is absolutely no compromise on safety.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Captain Mohamed Azharuddin Osman
Director of Operations
Malaysia Airlines

Pak Zawi said...

Though I have reservation on your look at Labuan as I find it as a quite an interesting place for an occasional visitor like me to explore, the near miss is really quite disturbing. Along a route that is not a busy one, air crafts should be separated as faraway from each other as possible. Since the smaller plane was sighted to be so close it must have been too close for comfort. Could the Traffic Alert system be malfunctioning?

Hantu Laut said...

Pak Zawi,

Apa khabar di Kelantan? Labuan is ok if you don't go very often,but could be rather boring if you are there often.As they say "one man's meat is another man's poison.

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