I know I am not supposed to read media reports of airline incidents because I am a flying phobic. But I cannot help myself, I want to know all the facts.
I read this story in the SMH that says an Air Nippon plane flipped upside down and dived 19,000 feet in 30 seconds after the co-pilot, who was trying to press the button to open the door to let the captain in the cockpit, accidentally pressed the wrong button!
It is indeed true that the All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-700 from Okinawa to Tokyo Haneda with 117 people on board was at FL410 when the aircraft violently rolled left causing injuries to two flight attendants and descended by about 6000 feet leveling off at FL350 again. The flight continued to Tokyo's Haneda Airport for a safe landing. The two injured flight attendants were delivered to a hospital with flesh wounds.
The airline reported, that the captain (64 years, 16,000 hours total experience) had taken a toilet break and was about to return to the cockpit requiring the first officer (38 years, 2400 hours total experience) to open the cockpit door. The switch to open the cockpit door is located about 10 centimeters/ 4 inches away from the rudder trim switch.
By mistake the first officer operated the rudder trim switch instead of the door opening switch causing the aircraft to violently roll left and descend by about 6000 feet before the first officer was able to return the aircraft to stable level flight. The captain subsequently entered the cockpit.
Two cabin crew received minor injuries (flesh wounds), no other injuries occurred. There was no turbulence in the area at the time of the occurrence. (Courtesy of the Aviation Herald)
Yes, this has also happened to one European airline before when the autopilot gave up on the full deflection of rudder trim as it was wrongly manipulated whilst trying to open the door.
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