Back to Squawk list
  • 26

Oops: American Accidentally Flies Wrong Plane To Hawaii

American has sub-fleets of both ETOPS and non-ETOPS A321s. In other words, some are certified to fly under ETOPS conditions (ie, over oceans), while others aren’t. And it’s important for airlines to get that right. Well, it seems like on August 31, 2015, American didn’t get that right. On that day, American flew a non-ETOPS A321 — with tail number N137AA — from Los Angeles to Honolulu. ( 기타...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Pileits 13
Could easily happen to almost ANY airline especially with those that have very large numbers of different aircraft.

As the ETOPS joke says,


I used to write this on the chalk board for years at my former carrier while teaching ETOPS stuff to the pilots. I used to tell my guys, "don't forget this joke" when you are preflighting you 2 engine airplane that you are about to bet your life on over the ocean.
Your last line is contradictory. In the first part you say it could happen about anywhere. Your last line talks about pre-flight. I would think that knowing a flight was over water that an ETOPS certified AC was what I would be preflighting. As myself and another poster below have said here, a big part are marked on the nose gear doors for easy visibility.
I love that joke.... never heard it before.
For the uninitiated, here is the official wording, although the joke is more widespread. LOL

ETOPS is an aviation acronym for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, reduced as "Extended Operation" by the FAA.
Yeah.. But Engine Turn Or People Swim is so much more descriptive and the reality of it is so much more accurate.
Crew duties in event of ditching: Ensure passengers safely on raft, at capacity, then take command of raft. Oh! And don't forget the Bar Cart!!!
Yeah, I know. I said for the uninitiated. LOL
This should never have happened like all big errors it should have been caught early but wasn't. Dispatch will be in trouble.......if they missed it the Pilots should have caught it.......if they missed then OPS at LAX should have caught it.......and you can't just laugh it off because ETOPS birds have additional equipment and go through extra checks before the flight. Oil levels topped off this will be a nice big fine for AA.
Somebody has some splain'in to do..... That is going to be costly.. Not only the flight crew, but the ground crew is responsible.
I wonder if it was caught at some level and either not not reported or the report was quashed somewhere.
Read in the news today, it was caught sometime after the plane had departed, AA Notified the flight crew and they elected to continue the flight and ferried the a/c back to the main land.

Reference CNN Article:
mzscapes 2
No matter your opinion of American, this is a serious safety violation and needs to be investigated... 1. to determine if this true, and 2. to determine how a non-etops a/c could have been dispatched... I find it hard to believe with all the systems in place this could slip by...

No shame on the author as transparency is the critical component of safety and ALL incidents need the light of day to prevent the future repeating the past...
Yes this is a safety violation and needs to investigated. The dispatcher and crew need to pay attention to details. While the investigation is in process the safety team may a well give N137AA a passing grade and certify the A321 for ETOPS
Interesting take on this article........everybody wants to shoot the in the business who have actually been there know this kind of mistake is super rare. If you work in this business you have to be held to a higher standard......lives are at stake and this kind of stuff just isn't tolerated, nor should it be. This should have been caught early, no excuses.
Probably blaming it on a US Airways employee!
Probably... LOL
No - two back ... I'm sure it was America West's fault
I wonder how that went over. "Heh, Yeah sorry about that.... it's not that big a deal right, I mean could have happened to anyone."
Someone got fired...
joel wiley 14
Right, the one who revealed the issue. I can hear it now. "We have come to realize you are not a real team player here".
Or promoted
The promotion goes to the new team player because the last team player got caught.
MANY years ago? Was an apocryphal 'airline story' AAL DC-10 at the gate at LAX....and? Flight Deck crew boarded....prepared with flight Plan, and departed to Honolulu. (PHNL). Thing is? They had the wrong airplane....the Cabin Crew and passengers thought they were going to New York. Similar Flight Plan times.....similar fuel loads....wrong airplane.

Sure....this was (if true) many years ago....nowadays with ACARS uplinks and such...not gonna happen. But back in the 1970s? (Or even 80s?)....seems plausible.....
mistakes happened then and they happen today,but even back in the 70's and 80's when the dc 10 was a big deal,the flight attendants would notice a cart filled with "goodies" and marked for a hnl flight versus a long haul lax-nyc..they did actually serve more than beverages then and the f/a's always (and still do) check the catering carts..also f/a's back then (and today) wear mu muu type outfits or shirts for hnl trips..i could say a lot more but I wont..i was a gate agent for 28 years,and I can tell you this story is a "tall tale" as they say..i worked trips before there was acars and the pilots cchecked tail numbers,flight plans and fuel loads with dipatchers and ground personnel beack in "the good old days" before acars...
Hard to believe that kind of error can (and does) exist in this days electronics... :)
While the crew should have known to check ETOPS based on their flight planning, most of that is done by dispatch where most of the blame would exist. Once missed there it is incredibly easy to miss. I doubt the checklist of a non ETOPS aircraft has a line item saying ETOPS check? That's not a question of how to safely operate the airplane they are on, it is a question of which airplane they fly. It would be just like getting on a plane with aux tanks, the crew and planning need to decide what equipment to use, once on the plane it is there or not there.
jamu27 1
Crew and dispatch missed it.
I have to wonder if the return crew were given PFDs?
American airlines, as other large carriers,has a whole department of people and a whole area of computer programs dedicated to aircraft dispatch,what goes where and what the tail numbers are..there is always the chance for human error in any equation,even ones involving computer generated information..i would however,think the captain or co pilot of the aircraft might double check the tail number and how the aircraft is equipped before departure when the pre flight is done...
It ain't pretty but for this to happen, somebody just didn't do their job, and it could have been any one of a group of people.
Or several somebodies. I can understand a new item being added to inventory not being complete and something getting missed. But this would seem to be a chain of 'misses'.
You would think that it would have gotten caught somewhere. BTW, I am done with everything. Got my wind back; now if I can get back strength and energy I'll be fine. CAT scan on 19th next month for followup.
Chris B 1
Bet there is a ton of paperwork to be done on this one.
A major screw up on many levels. On top of dispatch, ground crews, and the flight crew, didn't even one flight attendant notice there were no rafts aboard?
According to the Washington Post article (linked below), the ETOPS and non-ETOPS aircraft carry exactly the same equipment, less extra oxygen and fire suppression.
30west 2
David, There is more required for ETOPS certification of the A/C than just equipment, such as a few different mx procedures prior to dispatch and additional mx tracking. I am surprised that AA equips the non-ETOPS jets with rafts, a lot of extra weight to haul around.
You are correct... They have different parts installed that are repaired to different standards... For Example, a Hydraulic Pump or a Generator from a NON-ETOP's plane cannot be installed on an ETOP's plane. The parts have to go under more rigorous testing and certifications.
I dunno. The article I read (and I know how far we can trust the media) suggested that AAL equips them all the same but only takes a few through the full cert process because it's such a chore.
You may be correct but I think it's grain-o-salt time on that. I can't see the accountants who enforce rules to minimize fuel loads to save on costs favoring adding more expensive parts just have a consistent configuration. JMHO
It is not the bean counters... It is the FAA... The FAA states that the parts are to maintained to a higher standard... The FAA prefers Engines Turning vs People Swimming. I have been ETOPS certified, not only is maintenance accomplished more frequently, but even things like normal serving are accomplished differently in many situations, and a ETOP's certified mechanic has to sign the log book.... A Non-ETOP's mechanic cannot touch the plane until he/she receives the required training.
I was referring to the comment that AAL configures them all the same, and just skips the certification. Your description sounds somewhat similar to the heavy use and adverse conditions maintenance schedule on my truck.
Their is a difference in the 2 past the cert. While maybe not visible, ETOPS certified AC are basically more robust and as Sparkie said, take a little special handling.
I know all DELTA planes have in large bold letters on the Nose Gear Doors "ETOPS" and I imagine that the same letters are in at least one location in the cockpit.
Southwest does the same. Not many of theirs were ETOPS certified until a few years ago after they took over some Airtrans routes. It caused a big stir on some of their newer 737's.
They should
Yea as a frequent 37 800 PAX to from Hawaii I always look for the rafts on the ceiling,
but then again I'm not normal !
... and under the seat to be sure the last pax didn't take the PFD.
trust but verify
No... He is like a cat.. Doesn't want to get wet.. Just checking on the Life Raft... :)
wx1996 1
This story has been around a while - this squawk has lots of information posts and replies
I think it happened back in August.
August 31st to be exact.
What about the way back from Hawaii? If it isn't allowed to cross the pacific than how does AA plan to get the plane back to LA to continue The planes service? Cannot imagine they would leave the plane there forever since it technicality isn't allowed to come back to the contiguous 48 states
Ferry flight back, no pax to endanger.
Maybe the packed water wings for the crew.
30west 1
Ferry flight, no revenue pax or freight on board; ETOPS not required.
Misleading info. Article made it sound like the plane that was sent to Honolulu was one of the A321 Transcon's that fly JFK/LAX. Those are 3-class aircraft so the mistake would've been noticed immediately at the gate.

Instead, AA has the 2-class 321B's, which they own in both ETOPS and non-ETOPS. The aircraft are identical internally and externally, save the ETOPS marking. Obviously this is still a BAD mistake, but it's not like the ground crew were incompetent enough to board a 3-class transcon aircraft for a 2-class flight to Honolulu.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Tim Duggan 10
s2v8377? I am not sure why there should be "shame" on the author of this story. This is a safety issue. Dispatch is ultimately responsible for this foul-up (Last-minute equipment change?) ...but the flight deck crew (AKA "pilots") should have noticed too. When I was at Continental all ETOPS-certified twin-jets had the letters painted on the Nose Gear doors. (I presume after the United merger, is the same). Check out some photos.
I remember a year or so back, maybe a tad longer as Southwest was taking over some AirTrans routes, there were some pic's of their new 737's with EOPS painted on nose gear doors and causing a momentary stir about what they were going to do. I think that is where it is on most everything now so it is very visible on walkaround pre flight.
Right, shoot the messenger.
How frequently does this error occur?
This was a brand new bird delivered in June, was that a factor?
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

American mistakenly used wrong plane for overwater flight to Hawaii

American Airlines mistakenly operated a Hawaii flight with an aircraft that was not certified for long over-water flights, the company has acknowledged.
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

American Airlines Flies Wrong Plane to Hawaii

American Airlines accidentally flies Airbus that is not certified for over-the-water flights from LAX to Hawaii in violation of FAA regs.
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Oops: American Air Took Wrong Plane to Hawaii

Good news, twitchy fliers: Your fears of flying aren't completely irrational. The latest tale of concern comes via American Airlines, which apparently managed to fly the wrong plane to Hawaii last month in a decided FAA no-no.


계정을 가지고 계십니까? 사용자 정의된 기능, 비행 경보 및 더 많은 정보를 위해 지금(무료) 등록하세요!
이 웹 사이트는 쿠키를 사용합니다. 이 웹 사이트를 사용하고 탐색함으로써 귀하는 이러한 쿠기 사용을 수락하는 것입니다.
FlightAware 항공편 추적이 광고로 지원된다는 것을 알고 계셨습니까?
FlightAware.com의 광고를 허용하면 FlightAware를 무료로 유지할 수 있습니다. Flightaware에서는 훌륭한 경험을 제공할 수 있도록 관련성있고 방해되지 않는 광고를 유지하기 위해 열심히 노력하고 있습니다. FlightAware에서 간단히 광고를 허용 하거나 프리미엄 계정을 고려해 보십시오..