A truly bizarre diversion story

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I was born into a traveling family and as such, family conversations quickly turn into travel tales.  This one came up recently which I found truly bizarre.

My father was on Delta flight 2022 on April 15th from Atlanta to Roanoke operated by an Airbus 319.  They left a few minutes late as is common with this late evening flight.  About 20 minutes into the flight they leveled off at 39,000 feet.

Shortly thereafter, the Captain came on to announce that commercial aircrafts landing at Roanoke Regional Airport require a specific type of ground-facing radar due to the mountainous terrain surrounding the approach. He went on to inform the passengers that this aircraft did not have that type of radar and the plane would need to divert to Charlotte.   The Captain was clear in his messaging that it wasn’t that the specific radar was broken on this plane but rather this plane never had the radar at all!


atl divert

The plane safely diverted to Charlotte where the passengers were swapped onto another (luckily vacant) A319 that did have the appropriate radar type for approach into Roanoke.  The ground staff at Charlotte corroborated the story.

I can’t help but wonder how that was missed in the pre-flight checks.  What is your weirdest diversion story?

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. WOW what a story. We fly in and out of CHO and SHD and have never heard about this type of radar. Seems like Charlotte was much further away than to return to IAD and get another plane. Glad it all worked out in the end.

  2. Cant wait to hear the rest of this story, as there has to be more to this.

  3. I was waiting on an inbound aircraft at JFK a few months ago when we learned they had to divert…TO LAGUARDIA. Apparently they got too low on fuel, and had to land at LaGuardia to refuel, which put us a good 3 hours behind schedule. It put me at JFK for 8 hours in the middle of LHR>JFK>BNA, and on a transatlantic travel day, it’s hard to find humor in a plane that can’t make it 8 extra miles as the crow flies.

  4. Strange story. For certain instrument approaches ‘RADAR’is required, but that means the (ground based) ATC radar has to confirm where you are on certain fixes. Of course a working transponder onboard the aircraft is a must ( and anyway for flying IFR). Such is the case at KROA (Roanoke). And the GPWS (ground proximity warning system) should not be inop, but that would be a airline requirement in that environment..not FAA.
    Only radar in A319 is weather radar as far as I know (I fly the A320). Sounds more like a critical instrument for IFR into KROA went inop, what (rarely) happens. So problem with their GPWS would be most likely. Plane can still fly legally, but airline SOP (standard Operation Procedures) will very likely state that GPWS should be working in mountainous terrain. That would make sense imo…

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