A flydubai Boeing 737-800 was forced to divert to Shiraz, Iran after the captain fell unconscious. The first officer of the flight, operating from Tashkent to Dubai, then declared an emergency and diverted to the closest airport. After a 10-hour wait on the ground, passengers made it to Tashkent an hour later with a replacement crew.

Sudden landing

According to AvHerald, flydubai flight FZ1942 was on its way from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to Dubai International Airport (DXB), a three-and-a-half-hour journey flown by the 737-800. Last Thursday, the flight left Tashkent at 04:36 AM, scheduled for a 06:50 AM arrival in DXB. However, the aircraft made an unexpected stop along the way: an emergency landing.

2 hours and 30 minutes in, the 737 made an emergency landing in Shiraz, Iran (SYZ), not for the usual technical issues, but because the captain suddenly fell unconscious. While details on what happened to the pilot remains private, we know that the first officer quickly took control of the aircraft and contact air traffic control (ATC) in SYZ. The 737 was granted permission to land at the Iranian airport and did so safely 50 minutes later, at 06:07 AM local time.


Map: FlightRada24.com

Upon landing, passengers had to wait for 10 hours as flydubai deployed a new flight crew to take over from the ill captain and all other crew members, who had reached their operating limits. FZ1942 took off from SYZ at 16:14 local time and landed safely in Dubai at 17:45, 11 hours behind schedule.

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Not a cause for concern

While modern planes are designed for two pilots in the cockpit, but only one is in control of flight systems at a given time, with the other providing important support functions. With two fully-trained pilots at the helm, each of them is more than capable of flying the 737-800 alone, exactly what happened on FZ-1942.

However, procedures require that pilots divert to the nearest airport in case either crew member is seriously ill and unable to fly anymore. This is to ensure that any emergencies later in the flight do not need to be dealt with by only one pilot and ensures passenger safety.

HDR of the 737-700 Cockpit

Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

Onboard FZ-1942 on Thursday was a 19-year-old Israeli soldier returning from a holiday in Uzbekistan, according to JPost. Given the political situation between Iran and Israel, her presence in Shiraz could have led to issues, and the government was keenly following the situation. Thankfully, all passengers were safely able to leave on the same flight after spending some time in the terminal area.

The situation went far more smoothly than when a Norwegian 737 MAX was forced to land in Shiraz in December 2018. The flight diverted to SYZ due to engine issues and was unable to leave until over two years later due to sanctions, export controls, and the grounding of the MAX. Meanwhile, passengers were required to clear immigration in Iran and spend a night in the hotel, raising another set of issues.

Read more about Norwegian’s years-long 737 MAX incident here.

Source: AvHerald, JPost

Source: simpleflying.com

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