Vietnam aviation technician suspended for flight simulator mix up

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A flight training center technician in Ho Chi Minh City has been suspended for allegedly making mistakes that caused an Australian pilot to faint during a training session, Dan Tri reported on Saturday.

The unnamed technician with the center operated by the Vietnam Airlines Corporation will be on leave until the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) completes its detailed investigation, expected to finish by March 31, a CAAV representative was quoted as saying.

"Every related factor will be considered carefully so authorities can issue a proper punishment," he stressed.

Initial information was that the technician had mistakenly connected the mask of the foreign pilot of low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific with a cylinder containing nitrogen instead of oxygen in a full flight simulator of an Airbus 320/321.

When the pilot used the mask to deal with a sudden change in the cabin's air pressure during a training session on emergency descents, he inhaled nitrogen and soon passed out.

Others who were in the simulator gave him first aid and rushed him to a hospital, where he recovered and was discharged that same day.

After that the pilot returned to Australia for further health checks-up, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the flight simulator, which cost some $10 million and was put into use in June of last year, was allowed to resume operating on Friday following checks and inspections.

However, the training on emergency descents will be suspended until a new gas system is installed, it said.

Vietnam Airlines' Flight Training Center is licensed to conduct training exercises for pilots who fly Boeing 777, Airbus 320/321/330, ATR 72, and Fokker 70 aircrafts.

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