CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Piloting Error Causes Russian Airplane to Stray Over Beijing

Transaero plane

(Photo : Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) Experts have suggested that piloting mistakes may one one of the reasons why a Russia-bound Transaero airplane veered off course and flew low over Beijing this week.

Piloting mistakes have been highlighted as one of the reasons why a Moscow-bound Russian airplane strayed off course and flew dangerously low over the city of Beijing in the early hours of Thurs, May 28.

A source familiar with the incident said the pilot may have made an error, according to the Beijing Youth Daily. Investigators, however, are still trying to find out what other factors may have caused the plane to fly off its course.  An unnamed Chinese pilot said each country or airline has its own way of dealing with airplane pilots, who may have flown off their original course on purpose.

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China.org reports that Russia Transaero Airline Flight UN8888 departed from Beijing International Airport last Thursday at 1:20 a.m. bound for Moscow.  The plane was supposed to head south shortly after takeoff, afterwards head east and then fly north, The Nation reported. Unfortunately, the plane headed west instead of flying east and flew low over the city's downtown area.

Residents in downtown Beijing were startled by the sound of an airplane directly above them.  One witness said he was "scared to death" by the noise the plane's engine made.

Weibo users posted comments online about the low flying plane and some even claimed seeing the plane directly over their homes.

Despite the wrong turn, the Transaero plane did not violate the Chinese capital's no-fly zone based on information obtained.

The Beijing control tower had reportedly been monitoring the Russian plane and quickly informed the pilot that he was heading in the wrong direction. The airplane then corrected its course and turned north.  An unnamed source said that the timely intervention of the control tower made sure the error did not "cause much impact".

Beijing Capital International Airport reported that the Russian plane took off from Beijing at around 1:20 AM and landed safely at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow at 4:20 a.m.

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