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Malaysia-bound jet ends up in Melbourne

SYDNEY (AFP) – A Malaysia-bound AirAsia X plane which took off from Sydney ended up in Melbourne instead after the pilot entered the aircraft’s wrong longitudinal position, safety officials revealed on Wednesday.

The Airbus A330-300 left Sydney en route to Kuala Lumpur on March 10 last year but air traffic controllers went on alert after it began flying in the wrong direction.

They radioed the crew but attempts to fix the problem only led to “further degradation of the navigation system, as well as to the aircraft’s flight guidance and flight control systems”, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said following an investigation.

The pilot, who had been flying A330s for 18 months, decided to return to Sydney but bad weather forced him to fly manually to Melbourne, where he landed safely, it said.

“The ATSB found that when setting up the aircraft’s flight management and guidance system, the captain inadvertently entered the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft,” it said.

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