China Eastern Pilot Gets Big Cash Reward For Preventing Accident

Filed Under: China Eastern

China Eastern had an incident at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on October 11, which could have ended in disaster, as one of the worst aviation accidents in history.

Basically an Airbus A320 was taking off, while an A330 was crossing the runway at exactly the same time. The A320 pilots saw the situation and knew they couldn’t slow down in time, so they instead rotated early, so they were able to climb out over the A330. Apparently the two planes only missed one another by 19 meters. The Aviation Herald has a full description of the incident. Below is a recreation of what exactly happened:

Apparently the air traffic controller was largely at fault, as there was a miscommunication between air traffic control and the A330 trying to cross the runway.

Thank goodness the pilots of the A320 pulled up in time, or else this could have ended much like the Tenerife Disaster, which remains the deadliest accident in aviation history:

Anyway, while there are quite a few pilots out there who have been lauded as heroes, typically that doesn’t come in the form of a monetary reward. That’s not the case at China Eastern, however. People’s Daily Online reports that the captain of this flight was rewarded with 3 million RMB (~$440K), while the cabin crew was rewarded with 600,000 RMB (~$88K). The reward for the cabin crew seems especially generous, since they didn’t even know anything went wrong, since the flight continued as usual.

That’s a very nice gesture on the part of management, and a tiny fraction of what this would have cost them if things ended differently.

Kudos to the pilots!

(Tip of the hat to Michael W Travels)

  1. Good job by the China Eastern A320 pilots… but this is terrifying regarding the China Eastern A330 pilots and management actions:

    “After the A330 crossed the hold short line tower called the A330 three times to stop, however, the crew did not listen. The crew also did not check whether the runway was clear prior to cross the hold short line blindly trusting in the ATC instructions. In addition, the cockpit voice recorder of the A330 was not secured and was found overwritten.”

  2. Just another poor Chinese product. Their pilots are just like their products. Why do we tolerate their crap..?? Its over!

  3. Thank god it was an a320 with a light load factor that could rotate early. In Tenerife the KLM 747 was full with passengers, luggage, and cargo . The Chinese pilot is a hero and should be allowed to smoke cigarettes in the cockpit for now on.

  4. “The Chinese pilot is a hero and should be allowed to smoke cigarettes in the cockpit from now on.”

    Haha excellent!

  5. The Tenerife disaster had nothing to do with the KLM 747’s load. KLM Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten disregarded his co-pilot’s insistence that they stay stationary, and took off without clearance. Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten and his ego killed all of those people, not cargo load.

  6. @JohnT just another low life scumbag, he is just like the bottom tier rubbish.

    It’s done!

    #America is already great

  7. Given both were from the same airline, is there an outside chance the pilot and crew of the A320 would have the right to sue their employer for putting them in danger? hence the payout?.. settling before anyone has a chance to start a fuss about it. Not to discredit the pilot of the A320, but a cash reward doesn’t sound totally altruistic in this scenario.

  8. @Drew: Completely false. While Veldhuyzen van Zanten’s disregard for his crew’s concerns were a factor in the incident, it was not the ONLY factor. As with every aviation accident ever, there are several events that contribute and lead to the accident. It’s called the Swiss Cheese factor. One of the other major factors that contributed to the Tenerife disaster was the fact that Veldhuyzen van Zanten took on a full fuel load during the delay. More fuel = more weight = longer takeoff roll = inability to gain sufficient altitude to clear the Pan Am 747 = 583 people dead.

    The Tenerife disaster was one of the major incidents to motivate research into, and eventual adoption of Crew Resource Management techniques in order to insure effective cockpit crew effectiveness. As far as cockpit communication is concerned everyone involved were at equal fault, including the crew of the Pan Am flight and the tower operators, not just Veldhuyzen van Zanten.

  9. I’ve read in a tweet that this pilot is a member of the chinese party. So maybe not so generous after all…

  10. I hate this airline and all the smoking. But the skill of the pilots is impressively. All my flights landings were sensation and smooth. Shows they have skill

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