A Jetstar pilot forgot to lower the landing gear on descent into Singapore because he was texting. That’s the conclusion of a report on the May 27, 2010 Darwin to Singapore flight.
The pilot’s story was that he forgot to turn off his phone prior to takeoff, and he was just trying to turn it off because it was beeping from incoming texts. Priorities, anyone? Just ignore the beeps if you need to, landing is more important.
But what about the co-pilot?
At 1000 feet, the co-pilot scanned the instruments and felt “something was not quite right” but could not spot what it was.
At this stage the captain still did not realise the landing gear had not been lowered, and neither pilot went through their landing checklist.
At 720 feet, a cockpit alert flashed and sounded to warn that the wheels still hadn’t been lowered.
At 650 feet, the captain moved the undercarriage lever “instinctively” but then a “too low” ground-warning alarm sounded as the plane sunk through 500 feet, indicating the landing gear was not fully extended and locked.
The co-pilot was confused by the captain’s action in lowering the wheels, as he was getting ready to do quite the opposite — to abort the landing and re-ascend to the skies, investigators said.
Neither spoke to each other about their intentions.
At 392 feet, the crew aborted the landing and powered up the thrust.
It’s one thing when passengers play Words with Friends with the aircraft door closed. It’s another thing when the pilot does it, on final approach.