Flight Aborted 392 Feet Before Landing Because Pilot Was Texting

It's pretty widely accepted that you shouldn't text and operate a vehicle. Especially when that vehicle is a commercial aircraft. Apparently one pilot, though, hasn't taken that advice to heart. And he almost killed a few hundred people because of it.

Upon arrival in Singapore, Jetstar flight JQ57 had to abort its landing at a frightening 392 feet from the ground when the pilot plum forgot to put down the landing gear because he was distracted by his phone. A pilot! Operating a 220-passenger aircraft!

It really sounds like a case of two idiots that shouldn't be operating vessels full of living, breathing humans. Who were almost not so living and breathing. The captain's device started buzzing with message alerts when the plane hit an altitude of around 2,000-2,500 feet. The co-pilot looked over and noticed the captain was "preoccupied." His superior claimed he was trying to unlock the phone to turn it off. Which would have been fine, had he, with his 13,000 hours of flying experience, remembered standard operating procedures like activating the landing gear.

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. And so it came to pass that no one ever flew Jetstar again, the end. [The Age via TheNextWeb]

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