JASDF helicopter misunderstood instructions from air traffic controller at Naha Airport in June 2015

April 28, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 27, the National Transportation Safety Board released a survey report about a case in June 2015 where a helicopter of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) crossed over the sky ahead of an All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft that was taking off, leading to a near collision. The report pointed out that a misunderstanding of instructions from the air traffic controller by the pilots of the JASDF helicopters caused the confusion.

The incident occurred on June 3, 2015. The JASDF helicopter flew across the front of the ANA aircraft taking off at Naha Airport. The ANA aircraft ceased takeoff. Immediately after that, the Japan Transocean Air (JTA) aircraft, which had obtained permission to land from behind the same runway, landed and stopped about 570 meters behind the ANA plane.

According to the report, the pilot of the JASDF helicopter mistook the takeoff instruction to the ANA aircraft as an instruction for himself. Moreover, visual checking was insufficient, and the pilot was late noticing the ANA aircraft that had been running.

On the other hand, the JTA aircraft that entered the runway from the back was already landing when the aircraft confirmed the instructions from the controller to redo the landing. The survey report says, “[the redo instruction] missed the timing.”

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana) 

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