Jetstar flight aborts landing as pilots forget to lower landing gear

Two pilots onboard a Jetstar flight from Sydney to Byron Airport have undergone special training after numerous mistakes were made on a flight with them at the controls.

A report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau details two incidents which took place during the May 18, 2018 flight, where the required landing processes weren't followed. One incident resulted in the aircraft almost landing without its wheels down.

The commercial Airbus A320 flight was just over an hour long, travelling from Sydney Airport to Byron Gateway Airport in northern New South Wales. 

The forecast weather conditions were good, with clear visibility and light winds.

During the first landing attempt, the pilots performed a go-around because the aircraft's flight path didn't meet the required landing criteria.

A go-around is when a flight aborts a landing attempt and climbs to a safe altitude, before attempting to land again.

As the aircraft circled, the A320 was incorrectly configured for the speed and height it was flying. Its wing flaps were extended further out than they should have been.

The report says this led to a series of distractions which resulted in pilots forgetting to lower the landing gear as they approached for their second landing attempt.

The Airbus A320 flight was travelling from Sydney Airport to Byron Gateway Airport in northern New South Wales.
The Airbus A320 flight was travelling from Sydney Airport to Byron Gateway Airport in northern New South Wales. Photo credit: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

At 700 feet, a cockpit warning system alerted the crew that the landing gear was up despite the aircraft being so close to the ground. The pilots immediately initiated a second go-around.

The ATSB says the pilots also failed to correctly complete the landing checklist, which would have identified the issue with the landing gear.

As it completed another circuit and lined up with the runway, the A320's traffic collision avoidance system alerted the crew there was other air traffic very close by.

The crew kept in contact with the pilot of the near-by Cessna 172 aircraft and maintained an appropriate level of separation.

The aircraft then finally landed safely on its third attempt.

As a result of the incident, Jetstar Airways says both pilots took part in full flight debriefs with operations managers and took part in specific simulator training.

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