Pilot error behind 2008 China Airlines 747 turbulence incident

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Pilot error has been pinpointed as the cause behind a 2008 turbulence incident involving a China Airlines Boeing 747-400.

Twenty-four people were injured in the incident, which took place over east Malaysia on 20 September 2008. The aircraft, registration B-18211, was flying from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport with 358 people on board.

Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council (ASC), which conducted investigations into the incident, says the aircraft's pilots had failed to use the aircraft's radar properly, which resulted in the aircraft encountering turbulence.

"China Airlines' 747 fleet has two different weather radars. In this case, the aircraft had the newer radar, which the pilots were not familiar with," says a spokesman from the ASC.

In its recommendations, the council urged CAL to ensure that its pilots familiarise themselves with the operating procedures of the aircraft's weather radar. It also called on the airline to step up its safety procedures by ensuring that passengers secure their seat belts.