Pilot Almost Causes Crash Texting While Flying
Texting while driving isn’t the only way to endanger your life with a smartphone. It turns out that texting while flying is spectacularly dangerous, too.
On May 27 of last year, the pilot of Jetstar Flight JQ57 from Australia to Singapore became so distracted by incoming text messages that he nearly caused a crash after failing to lower the landing gear.
According to reports, the 220-seat Airbus A320 plane was on approach for landing when the pilot began fiddling with his phone. Meanwhile, the plane dropped beneath 500 feet and alarms began to sound, indicating that landing gear had not been deployed.
At this point, the pilot and co-pilot finally noticed there was a problem and guided the plane safely back into the air at the nick of time. The pilots involved have not been identified.
A followup investigation found that the captain and co-pilot both failed to follow a range of pre-landing tasks, including deploying landing gear, selecting auto break and checking flight parameters. Despite these errors, no fines were issued against Jetstar or the pilots.
Since then, the airline has made the incident a case study and used it to implement changes in the way pilots conduct themselves. As a result of this near-accident, Jetstar pilots are now required to switch off their phones before takeoff.