2016-12-16 EVA Air B777 flew astray and close to terrain east of Los Angeles

2016-12-16 EVA Air B777 flew astray and close to terrain east of Los Angeles

2016-12-16 EVA Air B777 flew astray and close to terrain east of Los Angeles


After departure from LAX International Airport, the Boeing 777 turned onto a wrong heading bringing it close to rising terrain and to another aircraft before the situation could be resolved.

UPDATE 2017-05-19

EVA Air trans-pacific flight BR15 from Los Angeles-LAX Intl Airport (LAX, KLAX) to Taipei-Taoyuan Intl Airport, Taiwan (TPE, RCTP) with 353 people on board, took off runway 07R at 01:19L. 

In the initial climb-out, after establishing radio contact with SoCal departure (located in San Diego) the flight was cleared for a easterly heading with the intention to turn the flight further south to follow its prescribed departure route before the flight was to begin its oceanic flight to the northwest.

For yet unclear reasons, BR15 turned to the left to a northerly heading coming into conflict with Air Canada 788 (AC 788, a Boeing 787-800 , C-GHPX, route: LAX – Toronto) flying from LAX on a northwest bound departure route a few miles behind flight BR 15.

Apparently there was confusion in the EVA Air cockpit as to weather turning left or heading southbound which would have required a turn to the right.

Meanwhile its flightpath came into conflict with another jet, an Air Canada flight. The canadian jet was instructed to accelerate its climb while BR 15 was ordered to stop climbing immediately.

At this time, EVA 15 was flying at about 4,800 feet at high speed (330 kts) near Pasadena / Altadena while heading northbound towards San Gabriel Mountains with peaks up to 6,600 feet.  At this point BR 15 initiated its turn to the right and gained altitude.

In the developing situation, SoCal Air Traffic Controller urged EVA 15 several times turn southbound again and to climb to 7,000 feet.

According to ADSB tracking data, flight BR15 – while turning – barely cleared the mountaintops and was flying just south of Mt. Wilson Observatory (5,715 ft) at an altitude of about 6,250 ft. before the flight gets back into safe airspace. Next to the observatory, there are a number of high rising antennas installed. Adding the physical top of Mt. Wilson to a level of 6,634 feet, almost the same height BR15 was flying by.

The Boeing 777-300 then picked up its assigned route and landed safely at Taipei 14 h 17 min later.

This serious incident is under formal investigation by the FAA.

In May 2017 the NTSB issued an Incident Report, classifying the occurrence as an incident. 

„On December 16, 2016, about 0125 pacific standard time (PST), Eva Air flight 015, a Boeing 777-300, registration B-16726, conducted flight below minimum vectoring altitude near Mt. Wilson, CA while receiving vectors from Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control after departing from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Los Angeles, California.“ [LINK(pdf)

All Charts LAX, KLAX,(pdf)

METAR Los Angeles Intl Airport (KLAX):

16/12/2016 01:44->
SPECI KLAX 160944Z 09008G15KT 1 1/4SM R25R/5500VP6000FT RA
BR VV004 13/13 A2987 RMK AO2 VIS N 3/4 P0007 T01330133
16/12/2016 00:53->
METAR KLAX 160853Z 10008KT 2SM -RA BR BKN004 OVC009 13/13 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP119 VIS N 1 1/2 P0005 60018 T01280128

3D ADSB-Tracking Image of BR15 by Flightaware and GoogleEarth

© Flightaware.com | GoogleEarth

Topograpic Two and Three-Dimensional View of Mt. Wilson in Relation to BR 15 alledged Flighpath


© PPRuNe.org
Flightradar24 Screencaps of BR 15 after Departure from Los Angeles-LAX Airport


© Flightradar24.com
© Flightaware.com | Eva Air Flight BR15 2016-12-16

Playback of EVA Air flight BR15 at Planefinder.net.

© Planefinder.net

ATC and Flight Tracking Simulation of Flight BR15

© VASAviation | YouTube

Excerpt of Minimum Vectoring Altitude Chart (MVA) for the Los Angeles Region. The mountains north of Altadena got a minimum altitude for any overflying aircraft of 7,700 feet.(Chart no. „77“ in red)
© Delorme.com |PPRuNe

ATC Radio Transcript LAX-Tower (South), SoCal Departure:

(Note: this transcript is inofficial and can contain inadequate data)

LAX Tower: „EVA 15 heavy, runway 7 right cleared for take-off, wind 070 at 9, gusts 18 (knots).
EVA 15: „Cleared for take-off EVA 15 heavy.

(hand over to departure about 2 minutes later)

EVA 15: „Roger, EVA 15 heavy, climbing passing 1,900 for 5,000 (feet).
SoCal Departure: „Hello Eva 015 heavy, SoCal Departure, radar contact, climb and maintain 7,000 (feet). Fly heading 090.
EVA 15: „Climb and maintain 7,000 (feet) upon what heading ?
SoCal Departure: „Heading 090, to 7,000, EVA 015 heavy.
EVA 15: „Heading 090, 7,000 EVA 015 heavy.“

SoCal Departure: „(unreadable)..180, climb and maintain 7,000.
EVA 15: Left heading 180 (south), climb and maintain 7,000 EVA 15 heavy.
EVA 15:“EVA 15 heavy, request high speed climb.
SoCal Departure: „EVA 15 heavy, affirmative approved as requested.
EVA 15: „Approved, EVA 015 heavy.
SoCal Departure: „..turn right, turn heading 180.
EVA 15: „Copied, right heading 180, EVA 15 heavy.
SoCal Departure: „..please expedite your right turn.
EVA 15: „EVA 15 heavy, roger just passing heading 010, continue right turn heading.
SoCal Departure: – instructing Air Canada 788 to increase its rate of climb to avoid conflict with BR 15 –
SoCal Departure: „EVA 15 heavy, stop your climb !
EVA 15: „Stop climb, EVA 015 heavy.
SoCal Departure: – giving further instructions to Air Canada flight 788  –
SoCal Departure: „EVA 15 heavy, turn left, left turn to a heading of ah.. 29..ah, 270.(direction west)“
EVA 15: „Left heading 270, EVA 015 heavy.
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, what are you doing ?, turn southbound now !, southbound now ! Stop your climb.
EVA 15: „Confirm, EVA 015 heavy, maintain 5,000 (feet), left..right, right heading (unintelligible).
EVA 15 (different voice): „EVA 015 heavy, confirm the heading.
SoCal Departure: „Captain EVA 015 heavy, turn southbound, southbound now.
EVA 15: „Roger turn southbound now, EVA 015 heavy.

SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, climb and maintain 5,000, and are you southbound now ? I see you’re going northbound, climb and maintain 6,000.
EVA 15: „..(unreadable)..south, maintain 5,000,  EVA 015 heavy.
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, climb and maintain 7,000.
EVA 15: „Climb and maintain 7,000, EVA 015 heavy.
SoCal Departure: „15 heavy, I see you’re going southbound, turn south..cause I see you’re going northbound, turn south now, climb and maintain 7,000.

SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, climb and maintain 7,000 and turn south NOW !
EVA 15 (different voice): „..(blocked transmission)..right turn to southbound, continue climb 7,000.
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, affirmative.
EVA 15: „..continue right turn, climb to 7,000 to heading 1-8-0.

EVA 15: „SoCal, EVA 015 heavy, 180, 7,000.“
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, affirmative, climb and maintain, maintain 7,000.“
EVA 15: „Maintain 7,000, EVA 015.“
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, turn right heading of 210.“
EVA 15: „EVA 015 heavy.“
SoCal Departure: „EVA 015 heavy, climb and maintain 13,000.“
EVA 15: „15 heavy.“

Live ATC Traffic provided by

On 2016-12-20 JACDEC received a press statement of EVA Air Public Relations:

EVA Air BR015 Communication Confusion with Air Traffic Control

Approximately 2:19 am Friday, 16 December, 2016

At 2:19 a.m. on Friday, December 16, EVA Air flight BR015 followed Air Traffic Control’s instruction to take off from the right side of Los Angeles International Airport’s No. 7 runway. The pilot also complied with the controller’s direction and speed instructions.  Our flight was never too close to other aircraft or to the mountains.

EVA is working in full cooperation with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and related authorities in the investigation of this situation.

Any additions or corrections ?
Please e-mail us


Aircraft Involved

© G. Fevrier | Jetphotos.net

Type: Boeing 777-300
Registration: B-16726
Age a/c: 0.9 years
Constr. No.: 44552

Occupants & Casualties

Crew Pax Other Total
Occupants 0  353
Fatalities 0 0 0 0
Injuries  0 0 0 0


Date: 2016-12-16 Time: 01:25
Location: NE of Los Angeles, CA
Country: United States of America
Flight phase: ENR2 – Climb above 1000 ft. AGL to Cruise; Climb from end of ICL to intended cruise level
Damage to a/c: none

Flight no.: BR 15
From: KLAX/LAX: Los Angeles To: RCTP/TPE: Taipei-Taoyuan intl Airport
Type: Passenger
Operator: EVA Air

JACDEC 25-year Statistics :

  • 24th safety occurence for the operator
  • 76th safety occurence of type (B777-300)
  • 95th safety occurence at/near Los Angeles
  • 1st safety occurence for aircraft in question

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