An Embraer E190, operated by Air Astana, the flag carrier of The Republic of Kazakhstan, declared an emergency while performing a ferry flight following a C-check work performed by OGMC, a maintenance firm.
On November 11, the plane was performing a test flight under the callsign KC1388 & was bound for Almaty. The aircraft involved was P2-KCJ, around 5.9 years old.
The plane had been under maintenance at Alverca Airport in Portugal since October 2.
Soon after departure, at around 1:33pm, the pilots declared ‘MAYDAY’ & reported serious loss of controls of the aircraft. The severity of the situation was so much that the aircraft with three pilots & 3 engineers decided to ditch into the ocean if they couldn’t resolve the issue.
The ATC gave them the headings towards the nearest water body which was a river. Lisbon Control stated that the ocean was around 40nm & the river was the nearest water body for ditching.
According to Aviation Safety Net, Air Astana KC1388 stated to Lisbon Approach that they had problems controlling the aircraft. During the first 30 minutes they attempted to reach the sea for ditching, requesting vectors from ATC. They also mentioned that ATC transcript of the first hour of the incident showed how the crew managed to maintain control & attempting to head out to the sea for ditching.
Two Portuguese Air Force F16s were scrambled after the E190’s pilots declared emergency.
Air Astana stated that it was after some time that the pilots somehow managed to control the aircraft & it was only after the third approach that they landed into Beja, around 125km south-east of Lisbon, at around 3:36pm.
In addition, Air Astana also says that the aircraft will not return to Kazakhstan from Portugal until the authorities, manufacturer & the airline are satisfied the cause of the issue has been identified & curbed.
Air Astana says that the investigation is being supported by Embraer which has sent three of its specialists to the scene & the airline has also sent two maintenance engineers & two pilots.