Hasty Landing + Near Miss = Raised Eyebrows
Jet Airways flight’s high-speed landing bid & near miss with Vistara plane put lives at risk: Govt panel report
New Delhi: The pilots of a Delhibound Jet Airways Boeing 737 involved in a “near miss” with a Vistara plane at Delhi airport in April may have risked the lives of passengers by trying to land at a speed that was too high, according a government committee report. The landing was aborted, with the pilot opting for a goaround and touching down in a subsequent attempt.
The speed of the plane 4.5 miles away from touchdown and at 2,000 feet was 310 knots compared with an ideal 250 knots at that distance, said the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) report, which was reviewed by ET. The aircraft’s flaps couldn’t be opened due to the high speed, it said.
The incident was reported on April 21, when Jet Airways flight 9W 597 sought to land at Indira Gandhi International Airport. As a result of the landing being aborted, the distance between it and Vistara flight UK 811, which had been okayed for takeoff, fell to less than 400 feet, triggering a warning in both cockpits to maintain a safe distance.
There were 148 passengers aboard the Vistara Airbus A320 plane bound for Bengaluru, while the Jet Airways Boeing 737 was arriving from Muscat with 174 people. The preliminary report submitted in June also blamed the air traffic controller (ATC) for not being able to determine that the Jet Airways plane wouldn’t be able to land this close to the runway at such a speed.
The report, however, said the Jet Airways pilots ignored concerns raised by the ATC over the high speed. The ATC asked them thrice whether they would be able to land at that speed. The commander of the aircraft replied in the affirmative thrice but opted for a go-around after the co-pilot warned the commander that they would not be able to land because the flaps couldn’t be opened.
The flaps can only be deployed when the speed drops to at least 250 knots.
The landing had to be aborted as the plane’s flaps couldn’t be opened due to high speed
The flaps can only be deployed when the speed drops to at least 250 knots. The last-minute go-around call brought the aircraft close to the Vistara flight, which was ready for take-off. Jet Airways said it was unable to comment on an ongoing investigation. “The carrier will take appropriate measures... depending on the findings of the report/investigation. At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew and assets is of paramount importance,” the airline said in an email statement. AAIB has recommended corrective training for the pilots and air traffic controllers. Practical and theoretical training has been recommended for the pilots, and focus on speed control of aircraft for air traffic controllers.