You know how every time you hop on a plane they tell you to turn off your mobile phone? Well, somebody forgot to remind this Jetstar pilot, who forgot to lower the plane’s landing gear after receiving some text messages.
The event happened back in May 2010, with the plane having to abort its landing in Singapore just 150 metres above the ground.
According to a reconstruction of the scene by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau claims that the problems started when autopilot was switched off. The co-pilot looked over to see the pilot was preoccupied with his mobile phone – the pilot himself claimed that he was trying to unlock it to switch it off.
All that happened during the descent from about 2,500 feet. By the time the plane got to 720 feet, the alarm sounded that the landing gear hadn’t be lowered. The captain tried to lower them, but got a warning that the plane was too low to do such a thing. At 392 feet the landing was aborted.
It took about two minutes for the plane to go from 2500 feet to 1000 feet, during which time neither the pilot or the copilot did any of the things required for landing.
Jetstar has introduced many of the lesson’s learned from the incident into its pilot training. Hopefully that includes a private safety presentation from the air hostesses about the dangers of leaving your mobile phone on during the flight – especially if you’re the one flying the plane…