After leaving Sydney, passengers of the Airbus A330 in 10 March 2015 expect that they will reach Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia just as scheduled. But what happened is a diverted trip to Melbourne after a series of crew errors, which started from the pilot’s incorrect entry of coordinates into the internal navigation system.
A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) stated that the problem occurred because of the faulty earmuffs which prompted the captain and first officers to switch places with their pre-flight checks. Since the captain’s ear protection was unavailable, he swapped with the first officer and did the cockpit tasks. One of those tasks is to enter their current coordinates into the plane’s internal navigation system, as indicated in the departure gate.
This is where the captain made the data entry error, who entered the longitude as 15° 19.8’ east, or 01519.8 in the system, which is supposed to be 151° 9.8’ east, or 15109.8.The report said, “This resulted in a positional error in excess of 11,000km, which adversely affected the aircraft’s navigation systems and some alerting systems.”
The error may have been rectified if the crew did not ignore unexplained chimes from the computer system.