Air astana 1388 incident engine

On November 29, 2018, an Air Astana Embraer E190 regional jet (Air astana 1388 incident engine) took off from Porto, Portugal bound for Almaty, Kazakhstan when a maintenance error caused the aircraft to roll uncontrollably shortly after takeoff. The aileron cables had been accidentally installed backwards, reversing the pilots’ control inputs. For over an hour, the pilots struggled to control the banking aircraft as it oscillated wildly and exceeded structural limits. Considering ditching offshore to avoid danger to those on the ground, the pilots ultimately managed to partially adapt to the reversed controls. After diverting towards Lisbon, they miraculously landed the severely damaged aircraft safely with no loss of life. The extraordinary piloting skills required to rescue the aircraft made the incident go viral online. The Air Astana 1388 case highlighted the risks of maintenance errors and debates over contributing oversight factors. Media resources available include the cockpit voice recorder transcript, expert aviation analysis, air crash investigation dramatizations, and video simulations recreating the heart-stopping rolls and dives. While the aircraft itself was damaged beyond repair, the pilots’ airmanship averted catastrophe in this incredible story of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Following !

Air astana 1388 incident engine
Air astana 1388 incident engine

I. What is the Air Astana 1388 Engine Incident?

On November 29, 2018, an Embraer E190 regional jet operated by Air Astana as flight 1388 took off from Porto Airport in Portugal bound for Almaty, Kazakhstan with 6 crew members on board. Just minutes after takeoff as the aircraft climbed through 10,000 feet, the pilots lost control of the aircraft when the ailerons and spoilers began moving opposite to control inputs .

This loss of control was the result of a maintenance error – the aircraft’s left and right aileron control cables had been accidentally crossed and installed backwards by technicians during overnight maintenance. With the cables reversed, when pilots input left aileron, the ailerons deflected right, causing the aircraft to roll uncontrollably.

The consequences of this improper aileron cabling were dire. With primary flight controls not functioning properly, Air Astana 1388 was quickly rendered uncontrollable. Even backup attempts to right the aircraft using asymmetric engine thrust and rudder input failed to stop it from rolling and pitching erratically as the pilots struggled to make sense of the reversed controls .

This erratic flight continued for over an hour as the aircraft oscillated wildly through the skies over Portugal. With the aircraft exceeding limitations never intended by its design, significant airframe damage quickly accumulated that would later be deemed irreparable.

II. How the Air Astana Engine Incident Unfolded

Shortly after takeoff from Porto Airport, Air Astana Flight 1388 began to roll uncontrollably to the right. As the aircraft climbed rapidly through 10,000 feet continuing its roll, the pilots quickly realized that primary flight controls were not responding properly .

As the aircraft exceeded 60 degrees of bank, the pilots attempted to counter the roll using backup systems – asymmetrically reducing thrust on the left engine while applying rudder input to try and straighten the aircraft. However, with aileron cables crossed, all control inputs were reversed and the plane continued to roll severely right.

Climbing through 12,400 feet, the aircraft began to descend rapidly while oscillating between extreme rolls left and right. As control was not regained, the pilots considered the chilling possibility that they may have to ditch the aircraft in the ocean to avoid the possibility of impacting the heavily populated areas surrounding Porto on the way down.

However, the crew continued their attempts to get the severely rolling aircraft under control. After multiple oscillations exceeding 60 degrees of roll, the aircraft leveled temporarily – while control inputs were still reversed, the pilots had begun adapting to the reversed system. Using this temporary stabilization, the pilots slowed the aircraft and extended landing gear and flaps in preparation for an emergency landing in Lisbon nearly 140 miles away.

Miraculously, after over an hour of struggling with reversed primary and secondary flight controls, the pilots managed to reroute and safely land Air Astana Flight 1388 in Lisbon, saving all 6 souls on board without injury or loss of life on the ground. The aircraft itself however was irreparably damaged by excessive structural loads and was written off by insurers .

III. Why the Air Astana 1388 Engine Incident Became Viral

The incredible airmanship that saved Air Astana Flight 1388 from near certain catastrophe made the incident go viral online amongst aviation experts and enthusiasts. The heroics displayed by the Air Astana crew in adapting to completely reversed primary and secondary flight controls was unprecedented (10).

That they managed to safely land the aircraft with no loss of life both on board and on the ground highlighted the incredible risks of even small maintenance errors. It also focused debate on factors that contributed to oversight of the maintenance performed, as the manufacturer claimed the configuration should have been impossible .

The voice recorder transcript revealing the crew’s internal struggle combined with expert analysis and video simulations allowed the public to truly appreciate the complexity and skill demonstrated by the pilots in rescuing the aircraft. With irreparable structural damage spelling the end of the airframe’s short operational life, footage of the incident provided a dramatic coda.

IV. Where to Watch Media on the Air Astana Engine Incident

For those interested in learning more about this unbelievable incident, there are several media resources available:

  • Cockpit Voice Recorder Transcript – A chilling first-hand account of the crew’s internal struggle to regain control:
  • Expert Aviation Analysis – Breakdowns by pilots and engineers detailing the technicalities:
  • Air Crash Investigation Episode – A dramatized documentary with simulator recreations:
  • Video Explanations and Simulations – Various simulations demonstrating the flight’s oscillations:

In the over 1 hour long fight for control, the pilots of Air Astana Flight 1388 displayed remarkable skill and resilience saving the aircraft and crew in a unprecedented test of airmanship (13). That no lives were lost is a testament to their ability to adapt and overcome potentially catastrophic failure induced by simple human error .

While lessons learned improved maintenance procedures industry wide, the crew’s extraordinary piloting capabilities under intense pressure averted disaster and remain an incredible story of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Their handling of emergency cemented their reputation as steely-eyed pilots who kept calm to bring their stricken aircraft back from the brink.

Please note that all information presented in this article has been obtained from a variety of sources, including and several other newspapers. Although we have tried our best to verify all information, we cannot guarantee that everything mentioned is correct and has not been 100% verified. Therefore, we recommend caution when referencing this article or using it as a source in your own research or report.
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