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Australian Plane Landing Aborted; Pilot Busy With His Phone

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A plane from Australian airline Jetstar that was due to land in Singapore cancelled its landing 150 meters from the ground after a series of events which was kicked off by the captain receiving text messages occurred. Somewhere between an alleged 2500 and 2000 feet from the ground, the captain’s phone had started beeping to notify him of incoming text messages but the captain did not heed the co-pilots advise to switch off the phone.

The co-pilot reportedly looked over and saw the captain “preoccupied with his mobile phone”, investigators said. The captain defended himself by saying that he was trying to unlock his phone to turn it off because he had forgotten to do it prior to taking off. At 1000 feet, the co-pilot scanned the instruments and felt that something was wrong but could not place a finger on it. What was actually wrong was that the landing gear had not been lowered and neither pilot had gone through their landing checklist.

At 650 feet, the captain moved the undercarriage level “instinctively” but then a ground warning alarm saying “too low” went off as the plane dropped to 500 feet. This was an indication that the landing gear was not fully extended and locked. Because of the possible dangers, the landing was aborted and failure to go through the check-list by both pilots was the cause for the incident along with the havoc of having the mobile device there as an added distraction. Since the incident, Jetstar has introduced pre-flight warnings that make even the pilots switch their phones off.

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