Garuda Indonesia flight delayed for four hours because of a bee

If you’ve ever freaked out because a bee landed on you, don’t be too embarrassed. The tiny insect not only has the power to sting, a single one can cause a flight by a major airline to be delayed by four hours.

Garuda Indonesia flight GA197 was scheduled to leave Medan’s Kualanamu International Airport yesterday at 10 am to fly to Jakarta. However one tiny bee had different ideas.

“Flight GA197’s computers’ detected a disturbance with the plane’s ‘electronic engine control’. Based on the results of an investigation, the cause of the ‘electronic engine control’ problem was because a bee had entered the air hole, or pitot tube, that is located outside the cockpit,” said Garuda Indonesia’s vice president of corporate communications, Benny Butarbutar told Kompas on Tuesday night.

The pitot tube is used by the plane’s systems to measure airspeed. The pilot noticed the problem just before the plane was set to takeoff.

An investigation into the problem revealed the bee’s presence and Benny said repairs took about an hour before the flight was ready to go again.

Benny said this was the first time Garuda Indonesia had ever experienced such a problem, although it had had problems with birds getting into plane engines. He said the problem was beyond the airline’s ability to control and said it had more to do with conditions at Kualanamu airport. 

GA197 eventually left Medan at 2:15 pm and eventually arrived safely at Soekarno-Hatta Airport at 4:40 pm.


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