Investigation Finds A Jetstar Flight Nearly Crashed Because The Pilot Was Text Messaging On His Phone

Jetstar Flight JQ57 nearly crashed on landing at Singapore's Changi Airport because the pilot was text messaging and forgot to set the landing gear on the Airbus A320 during the May 27th, 2010 flight according to the results of an investigation into the incident.

According to the report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the flight which departed Darwin Australia was on its landing approach when the captain's phone began receiving messages. The first officer was in control of the plane, the pilot flying (PF), and tried to notify the captain that something was not right, the captain failed to respond, instead replying to messages he had received.

Only after the planes warning system went off letting them know the landing gear had not been deployed just 500 feet above the ground was a missed approach executed by the first officer. Both the captain and first officer of a commercial airline are fully qualified and capable of flying the airplane. The captain in this incident had more than 13,000 flying hours of experience.

In statements the captain made during the investigation, he said he had forgotten to turn off his phone before take off and was trying to unlock his phone so he could turn the phone's beeping off but later recanted is statement.

The investigation cited both for failing to perform pre-landing tasks including lowering the landing gear, completing the landing checklist, selecting auto break and checking the flight parameters and for poor communication among the crew.

Jetstar had released a statement at the time that said at no time was any of the passengers in any danger but has since admitted that statement was not true. Since the incident, the airline said it has used this incident as a case study to develop new training and safety standards for the airline.

Neither pilot was fined.

[Pic: File photo]

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