An Air Astana Embraer ERJ-190LR jet, registered P4-KCJ, suffered instrument loss over Portugal on November 11, 2018, forcing pilots to declare a “mayday” and request headings for a possible “ditching” of the aircraft in the ocean. The pilots eventually managed to regain sufficient control of the jet to divert to a nearby airport. They were escorted by two Portuguese F-16 fighter jets, but landed safely only upon their third approach.

The ERJ-190LR (destination N/A) operating under the call sign KC1388, was performing first post-maintenance flight out of Lisbon metropolitan area (Portugal) when shortly after departure the aircraft suffered loss of flight control and squawked 7700, signaling an emergency situation, Aviation24.be reported.

Having undergone C-check work for the past several weeks, as FlightGlobal indicates, the ERJ-190 jet took-off from OGMA Maintenance Engineering (OGMA - Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal S.A.) headquarters at Alverca military base at around 13:31 with six people on board, including three pilots and three engineers.

According to various sources, soon after take-off, the aircraft became uncontrollable, displaying severe anomalies in flight speed and altitude, as flight tracking data shows. The aircraft’s distress call was followed by a request for headings to the nearest body of water. The flight deck reportedly told the Lisbon air traffic control (ATC) they intended to “ditch” the plane in the ocean.

 

 

The pilots were eventually able to regain manual control of the ERJ-190 but it took more than one attempt – three, in fact, to land the jet safely. Assisted by two F-16s of the Portuguese Air Force the plane landed at Beja Airport (BYJ), southern Portugal, sometime after 15:00 (UTC).

 

 

In a tweet, Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, confirmed Flight KC1388 diverted to the airport in Beja city after experiencing “technical problems”. The incident comes just days after the airline announced it would be launching a low-cost branch called FlyAristan, and stressed the importance safety standards procedures will hold in the new business. According to Flightradar24.com information, Air Astana has nine ERJ-190LRs in its fleet, with the average age of 6.33 years.

And just so you know, OGMA is an Authorized Service Center (EASC) for Embraer’s E-Jets family, such as the ERJ-190L, as well as an authorized maintenance center for Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce, the company states. In fact, Embraer is OGMA’s majority shareholder (65%), controlling it through a consortium known as Airholdings, Sgps, S.A. The government of Portugal holds the remaining share (35%) through a Portuguese Defense Company called EMPORDEF.