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This instills confidence, asleep at the Yoke.

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From "Der Spiegel" online edition: (rough translation):


A story is just emerging as to how about 200 passengers on a Vietnam


Airlines 777 flying from Hanoi to Frankfurt just narrowly escaped being


shot down. According to "Viet Nam Net" the 777 was en route during the


night of 17/18 April, using air space in Ukraine, Poland and the Czech


Republic for over 65 minutes without any radio communications. As the


plane deviated from the prescribed flight path, Czech authorities were


prepared to shoot it down, according to "Viet Nam Net" online magazine.


Jan Pejsek of the Czech Ministry of Defence confirmed these events to


Der Spiegel in principle. At 0545 on 18th April 2006, Czech Air Force


personnel detected what to them was an unidentifable aircraft which had


not communicated with Prague ATC. Considering the possibility that this


could be an unfriendly military aircraft, two fighter jets were sent up


to intercept the plane. However, the target turned out to be a


Vietnamese civilian jet, and a few minutes after visual contact with


the fighter jets, radio communications were established.


According to Vietnamese media reports, the fighter pilots were


astonished to see that both pilots of the Vietnam Airlines plane were


asleep. "They were asleep and had the plane flying on autopilot for one


hour and five minutes", says "Viet Nam Net". There is neither


confirmation or rejection of this from Czech authorities.


Whilst Vietnam Airlines have denied the report, the entire crew,


including cabin crew has been suspended. (Apparently, there are


standing orders for a cabin crew member to visit the cockpit every 15


minutes to establish that all is well up front).


The report goes on to describe various scandals that have shaken


Vietnam Airlines, including the recent arrest of F/O Tran Van Dang at


Sydney for trying to take out US$ 500,000 from Australia without


declaring this money.



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