Qantas Aircraft Flies Too Low Over Southwest Canberra

29th Oct 2014

The erring plane was found to have breached the national and the world aviation law of flying below the minimum altitude which is 7,000 feet from any land surface. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has confirmed the report about the incident that the pilot breached the cruising altitude limit of the aircraft.

The report confirmed that on October 17, 2014, the plane left Adelaide on its way to Canberra. However, just 35 kilometers off the southwest of its destination, the plane started to descend at a dangerously low altitude which prompted the ground controller to notify the pilot of the breach.

After receiving the alert from the traffic controller, the pilot responded accordingly and brought back the plane to its proper cruising altitude, at 7,000 feet and continued its way to Canberra.

The airline was blamed for its own procedure which gives the crew option to manually set the plane's altitude by turning off the automated system. The aviation bureau called on the attention of the airline about the breach of its pilot and warned the airline that this should not happen again in the future.

Qantas has already changed its procedure and now fully employed the automated system and doesn't allow any more manual operation of an aircraft's altitude.

The airline made an announcement to confirm the bureau's report and has already implemented changes and promised a similar incident won't happen again in the future.

The bureau also warned that relying too much on automated system would somehow turn pilots too complacent. Even the installation of fully-automated system is in place, human monitoring and management of a plane in flight is still crucial.

The reports also found out that the staff workload mattered in the latest incident to which the bureau warned the airline of the adverse effect.

Flight crew should focus only on certain tasks that they are capable of doing in an optimum level without sacrificing the safety of both aircraft and the passengers in it.