Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Jetstar pilots let plane drop below minimum approach speed

Pilots distracted by a training exercise allowed a Jetstar aircraft landing at Sydney Airport to drop below the minimum approach speed and prompted automatic systems to abort the landing, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report released today found.
The Airbus A320 was conducting an instrument landing system approach in mid-2013 using the aircraft’s automatic landing function when the training captain disconnected the autothrust system and pulled back the thrust levers to idle. He asked the first officer to assess the effect of his actions on the proposed approach and after consulting a quick reference handbook, the crew extended the landing gear and flaps and finalised the re-landing checklist.
But while they were discussing the exercise, the airspeed reduced below the minimum approach speed. The captain was in the process of applying thrust when the aircraft’s alpha-floor protection system, which automatically increases thrust if the plane slows too much, activated.
“Takeoff/go-around thrust was automatically commanded by this system and the flight crew conducted a missed approach, ’’ the report said.
The report found the pilots were distracted by the training exercise and failed to notice the airspeed approaching the minimum approach figure. Minimum and decision heights entered into the autoflight system as part of the training exercise were also not appropriate for the landing.
“The resulting increased workload impacted on the first officer’s capacity to effectively fulfil the pilot monitoring role,’’ the report said.
“As a result of this occurrence, Jetstar issued a memo to its check and training pilots highlighting the requirements for autoland training. The memo reiterated that flight crew must only use the minima for the approach being flown.’’ The air safety investigator urged training pilots to recognise their trainee’s experience and capability and ensure that a training exercise never compromises the primary task of monitoring and flying an aircraft.
Sourced from The Australian  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/jetstar-pilots-let-plane-drop-below-minimum-approach-speed/story-e6frg95x-1227548998536

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