UGH: North Korean Missile Test Near Cathay Pacific Flight Near Japan

December 5, 2017

Sometimes there are things you simply wish you didn't know.

 

Last week, North Korea test fired a missile that reportedly was one that could hit Washington D.C. in another one of their regular "show of force" routines.

 

Today, several media outlets reported that a Cathay Pacific flight crew in the area was able to witness the missile explode and fall apart while flying over Japan. CX893 is an Airbus A-350 flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong.

 

 

Now, this passenger flight was in no real danger and the crew was able to observe this from quite the distance away by hundreds of miles, but according to the Guardian, a Cathay Pacific cargo plane would have been much closer to the missile test "at a lateral distance of a few hundred mies" as reported to the paper by the general manager of operations at Cathay Pacific.

 

Mind you, the air corridor over Japan and Korea is one of the busiest air corridors on the planet and by all means these were not the only flights that were in the airspace. We only have seen the REPORTS by Cathay Pacific so far on this issue, but by all means I am sure other airlines would have had flights in the area.

 

I give credit to Cathay for reporting this to the authorities, and it seems the crew was quite aware of the situation as it was developing, but according to some aviation safety experts, it is pretty much impossible for a crew to respond to a missile test if they were not given any warning or had enough clearance between a test site and flight path, and precautionary measures trumps reactionary actions by far, giving priority and initiative to civil authorities and airlines to take measure.

 

North Korea also had another test earlier this summer where it came down about 50 miles away from the flight path of an Air France flight from Japan to France. Mind you, planes fly at speeds of over 400 miles per hour, meaning the missile and plane were only 10 minutes apart.

 

Granted, missile TESTS hitting planes haven't exactly occurred thankfully, but North Korea has not exactly been following international guidelines of announcing missile tests advisories to civil aviation authorities. It is truly up to the general operations manager of individual airlines to plan and route their flights accordingly, and perhaps why I would much prefer flying on carriers with the best safety records (Cathay hasn't had any fatal incidents since 1972, and at fault incidents since 1967).

 

I would gladly pay more in fares or points, just for that peace of mind.

 

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