An airplane captain distracted by incoming text messages on his cell phone was the reason a flight from Australia to Singapore had to abort a touch-down just 500 feet from the tarmac, an investigation has found.
The pilot was so distracted he didn’t notice that the landing gear was not deployed.
Jetstar Flight JQ57 was nearing the end of a four-hour flight from Darwin, Australia, to Singapore’s Changi Airport on May 27, 2010, when the captain’s mobile phone started beeping with incoming text messages and he failed to respond to the co-pilot’s requests, according to a report issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
The 220-seat Airbus A320 plane was less than 2,500 feet above the tarmac when the captain’s phone started beeping to alert him of missed text messages, the report found.
As the plane descended, the first officer, in control of the plane at the time, felt “something was not quite right,” he told investigators, and tried to alert the captain that he wanted to pull out of the landing.
The co-pilot looked over and saw the captain “preoccupied with his mobile phone,” the report said.
“The FO (first officer) recalled that, after still not getting a response from the captain, he looked over and, on seeing the captain preoccupied with his mobile phone, set the missed approach altitude himself,” the report stated, according to the Herald Sun.
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