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Pilot distracted by cellphone missed fuel problem and had to issue Mayday call

If you think driving while talking on a cellphone is dangerous, what about flying?

A Johannesburg pilot found out when a cellphone call distracted him during preflight checks, leading to an error that resulted in a midair emergency.

The call meant both engines of his Cessna 421C were feeding from the right-side fuel tank as he took off from Lanseria Airport in August 2021, bound for Ondangwa Airport in Namibia.

As he climbed to 13,500ft over Pilanesberg Airport, the pilot noticed the left wing was consistently dropping.

“The pilot declared an emergency by broadcasting a PAN-PAN call and a Mayday call to Lanseria air traffic control,” said a Civil Aviation Authority limited serious incident investigation report.



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