Pilot Screw-Up Almost Flips Jet

He mistook the rudder trim nob for the cockpit door lock
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2011 2:27 PM CDT
This altered photo illustration shows an upside down All Nippon Airways jet.   (AP Photo/Newser)

(Newser) – This will go down in the annals of wacky pilot screw-ups: An All Nippon Airways passenger jet rolled over 131.7 degrees earlier this month—putting it almost belly-up—because a pilot accidentally turned the rudder trim knob instead of the one unlocking the cabin door, Japan’s Transport Safety Board revealed today. The plane, which was then 41,000 feet in the air, plummeted more than 6,200 feet in the span of 30 seconds, the Japan Economic Newswire reports.

Amazingly, only the flight attendants were hurt, and only four passengers reported feeling sick. “The centrifugal force may have helped lessen the impact on passengers,” the head of the Transport Safety Board theorized. If you’re wondering how the pilot could make such a critical mistake, Gizmodo has an image of the control panel of a Boeing 737-700, which reveals that the cockpit door knob is mere inches from the rudder control. It's also worth noting that All Nippon Airways pilots will be flying the first Dreamliners...

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