Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jetstar pilot investigated over claims he was texting during landing

Pilots who endanger their passengers should be fired. No sign that Jetstar has done so

A PILOT for the no-frills airline Jetstar is being investigated over claims he was texting on his mobile phone during landing.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that air safety investigators are looking into an incident that took place on Jetstar flight from Darwin to Singapore on May 27.

The paper said that the A321-200, which was carrying 167 passengers, was forced to pull out of a landing at Changi Airport after the pilots were warned by the plane's onboard systems that the landing gear was not down.

The plane was said to be only 122 metres above the ground when the alarm was triggered. The plane landed safely the second time around.

The Herald reported that neither Jetstar or the Australian Transport Safety Bureau would comment on the allegations that one of the pilots was was using his phone just before landing.

Ian Sangston, the bureau's director, told the paper that the plane was "lower than they would have liked" when the landing was aborted.

This is not the first time Jetstar has been scrutinised over its landings.

Earlier this year the bureau reported that the pilots of a Jetstar plane came within 11 metres of the ground during an aborted landing at Melbourne airport.

Saftey investigators found that the near-miss was due to the pilots' failure to correctly perform a go-around procedure and confusion over cockpit alarms.

They also found that Jetstar did not report the incident properly and failed to test revised cockpit procedures before implementing them.

Flight JQ156 was travelling from Christchurch to Melbourne on July 21, 2007 with 138 passengers on board when the pilots were forced to abort landing during heavy fog.

The pilot in command of the Airbus A320 plane failed to move the thrust control lever into the correct position for ascent, which led to a series of alarms being triggered as the autopilot remained programmed to land.