Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday was investigating a jetliner’s scary turn in the wrong direction after departing from Los Angeles International Airport.

The wrong turn may have been prompted by an air traffic controller’s incorrect instructions, according to an FAA official.

The EVA Airways Boeing 777 flew north instead of south after departing from LAX, according to the FAA’s Ian Gregor.

“At the time, aircraft were departing from LAX to the east,” Gregor said, adding that the EVA flight departed from the airport’s south runway complex.

The 777’s flight crew switched from the LAX control tower to the approach control in San Diego just after the Friday morning takeoff, Gregor explained.

“The air traffic controller at the approach control who was handling EVA instructed the pilot to make a left turn to a 180-degree heading,” Gregor said.

“She meant to tell the pilot to make a right turn to a 180-degree heading. The pilot turned to the left. The controller quickly realized EVA was turning in the wrong direction. She took immediate action to keep EVA safely separated from an Air Canada jet that had departed LAX off the north runway complex.”

The jetliners “remained the required distance” from one another, he said.

“The controller then turned her attention to getting EVA to turn south,” Gregor said.

“The controller issued the EVA pilot a series of instructions to get him to turn south. The controller wanted to make sure the EVA aircraft was safely above or away from nearby terrain.”

Gregor said that FAA regulations require aircraft to be at least three miles away laterally or 2,000 feet vertically above obstacles such as mountains.

The EVA flight was bound for Taipei, Taiwan, according to ABC7, which appears to have first reported the incident.

— City News Service


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