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September 29, 2011 11:23 AM
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Cockpit error sent 737 into Pacific nose dive
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(AP) 
TOKYO - A Japanese airline says one of its jets nose-dived and rolled almost upside down earlier this month because the co-pilot hit the wrong controls while trying to open the cockpit door so the captain could return from a restroom break.
Two flight attendants were slightly hurt and four passengers got airsick when the All Nippon Airways Boeing 737-700 with 117 people aboard descended sharply, veered off course and went belly up over the Pacific on its way from southern Japan to Tokyo on Sept 6.
ANA said Thursday that the co-pilot is believed to have mistakenly hit the rudder controls instead of the door lock to allow the pilot back in the cockpit.
It said the crew managed to stabilize the plane after the co-pilot's error and land it safely.
Japan's Transport Safety Board is investigating.
© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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by Dutra1 October 20, 2011 11:21 AM EDT
An error? I think not. He was goofing around and thought he would give the returning pilot a bit of a shock.
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by Harden_Tar October 20, 2011 9:19 AM EDT
This story said the rudder controls were mistaken for the door lock. Assuming the door lock is on the door, and the rudder controls are in the foot well, how can one be "mistaken" for the other? I agree there was probably some hanky-panky going one. Curious to see what the investigation that is coming comes up with.
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by Dutra1 October 20, 2011 11:23 AM EDT
And we must also assume the autopilot was disengaged.
by mikethep October 20, 2011 11:30 AM EDT
The rudder trim control and the door lock control are both on the panel between the pilots. The copilot would not be allowed to leave his seat to open the door and leave the airplane with no pilot in control.

Here is a picture of the two side-by-side controls:
http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/09/737cockpitdoorlockswitchcrop.jpg
by parisdakar October 6, 2011 11:48 AM EDT
A rolling dive in a commercial airliner? Way cool. They ought to charge those passengers extra for that.
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by olegunny October 4, 2011 8:57 AM EDT
This story is BS, the only possible thing he could have done was disengage the autopilot and that is doubtful. No random movement of a rudder pedal could cause such departure from controlled flight. The rudder pedal would have to depressed and held and the autopilot would have had been overcome. A check of past accident will reveal that several 727 series aircraft have had un-explained rudder induced upsets, sometimes with tragic results.
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by Dutra1 October 20, 2011 11:23 AM EDT
727?
by anOPINIONATEDsob October 4, 2011 7:05 AM EDT
Just another case of "let's idiot proof everything" never gonna happen, they breed to fast!
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by nowthatumentionit October 3, 2011 11:26 AM EDT
The error was inane, but to have the wherewithall to right a large jet nosddiving and rolling almost upside down (how does it get lift after that?), that is pretty amazing.
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by ToolMangler1 October 19, 2011 10:13 PM EDT
Lift occurs on both sides of an airfoil. it should have continued rolling until upright (and thousands of feet less altitude), the 'Dihedral' built into the wings will cause the plane to attempt to fly level (wing-wise) on a ascending or descending trajectory.. I speak from years of flying experience........ Hanky-panky in the "Cockpit" is more likely the cause of a 'Nose-dive' before rolling inverted. (A loose body-part) hitting the stick would override the autopilot..
by pws54 October 2, 2011 11:10 AM EDT
OOPS! My Bad!
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by venusvegasvada October 1, 2011 5:40 AM EDT
Boeing builds a great airplane. I love the 737. Built like a tank. Of all the aircraft out there, that's the one I feel safest in.
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by jesse2159 September 30, 2011 9:32 PM EDT
They left out the part where the co-pilot is yelling "TORA, TORA, TORA
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by ksmit2 September 30, 2011 10:54 AM EDT
There are more than a few machines or prompts out there that ask
you something like "are you sure you want to...". It would probably
be handy to have a visual and audio prompt like: "warning, this
is the rudder control...". They could probably have a few other
comments built in for stuff like this. They already have "warning
terrain terrain" if you're too low, and "pull up" warnings. It's
scary that there aren't more safety measures.
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