Texting Pilot Aborts Landing
Such an unbelievable event. The story begins with a typical flight from Darwin to Singapore. The aborted landing on Jetstar flight JQ57 on May 27, 2010 began when the pilot became fixated on his incoming text messages. The first officer had to twice get the captain’s attention to request they run through the landing checklist. When the first officer still didn’t get the captain’s attention, he looked over at him to see the captain using his cellphone. According to the report, the captain told the first officer he was trying to unlock his cellphone to turn it off. The captain said he didn’t hear the copilots request to land, apparently the text messages were more important than the 220 passengers on the plane.
The co-pilot realized the landing gear wasn’t lowered. Luckily, the plane was able to try for a second landing attempt when they realized at the last second, a frightening 392 feet from the ground the pilot forgot to put down the landing gear because he was distracted by his phone.
At 1,000 feet, the first officer checked the instruments and felt like something was off, though he couldn’t tell what it was, despite his 4,000 hours of flying experience. At 720 feet, a warning sounded in the cockpit to tell the pilots the wheels weren’t lowered. By 650 feet, the captain tried to activate the gear, but by that time, an alarm sounded to indicate that the plane had dipped below 500 feet, too close to the tarmac for the undercarriage to get safely into place.
The co-pilot told investigators that by this point he was ready to take the plane back into the air to avoid a crash. At a dangerously small window of 392 feet, that’s what they did.
Lesson learned….do not text and fly!
As an alternative, maybe those pilots with less than stellar awareness skills should have their favorite peeps remind them…
Written by: Laura Raymond, Editor
April 19, 2012
Excerpts taken from Mashable’s Kate Freeman
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