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Analysis

Summary

The separation standard would not have been infringed if the crew of the B737 had complied with the 5,000 ft altitude requirement. At the time of the infringement, the B737 was being manually flown by the pilot in command who was distracted from his primary task of controlling the aircraft's flight path. The distraction occurred as he monitored the weather radar and assessed the meteorological conditions that the aircraft was encountering during the climb. The engagement of an autopilot would have reduced the pilot in command's workload and enabled him to monitor the weather situation while the auto-flight system levelled the aircraft at the assigned altitude. Crew coordination did not provide a defence against human error in this occurrence, as the co-pilot did not monitor the aircraft's flight path as it approached the assigned altitude.

 
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