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Air India: "Investigating" why A321 autopilot disconnected - FAs flying?!

Air India: "Investigating" why A321 autopilot disconnected - FAs flying?!

Old May 4, 13, 10:22 am
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Air India: "Investigating" why A321 autopilot disconnected - FAs flying?!

An Air India 133, A321 flying BKK-DEL April 2013 with 166 passengers, experienced a "reportable incident" when an FA "overstayed" in the cockpit and the autopilot disconnected, according to Air India; a senior crew reported the incident. Aircrew involved have been put on suspension.

According to a BBC article,

"The Mumbai Mirror reported that a stewardess accidentally turned it off while the two pilots took a break.

Air India denied this but said cabin crew did 'overstay' in the cockpit and that the autopilot was briefly disconnected 'due to distraction'."
The Mumbai Mirror is less circumspect, stating:

Two Air India pilots put the lives of 166 passengers on a Bangkok-Delhi flight in danger by taking a 40-minute break from the cockpit and getting two stewardesses to operate the plane in their absence. Their stunt almost ended in disaster after one of the stewardesses accidentally turned off the auto-pilot, forcing the pilots to rush back to their seats.
The article goes on to state one pilot asked an FA to take his seat while he went on relief. The second pilot, now PF, asked another FA to take his seat, gave both some basic and quick "training" on how to fly whilst the autopilot was engaged, and they both repaired to Business Class for a 40 minute nap. Whoops, somehow the autopilot disengaged...

Hmm. Not quiiite ready for prime time, AI.


Mumbai Mirror, May 3 2013: Pilots sleep as air-hostess turns off autopilot on Bangkok-Delhi flight

BBC, May 3 2013: Air India probes auto-pilot switch-off on passenger jet
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