New Delhi: Air India has grounded two pilots who reportedly forgot to extend their Boeing 787’s landing gear while approaching to land into Hong Kong, till a very late stage of the final approach. Pilots extend landing gear when aircraft is at 2,000 feet. On this flight last month, the pilots are learnt to have got a warning from the safety systems on board that the aircraft’s landing gear was not down when the Dreamliner was about 800 feet above ground level.
Sources say that they then lowered the landing gear and carried out an unstabilised approach into Hong Kong. Fortunately, the Dreamliner landed safely.
A senior AI official said: “The flight safety department has grounded both the pilots. Both this department and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are probing this issue. Appropriate action will be taken based on final probe report.”
A senior Dreamliner commander said: “The crew of the flight carried out an unstablised approach, wherein the aircraft was not in landing configuration by 1,000 feet as mandated by law for safety reasons. While it is human to error, what should have be done in such a situation is to carry out a missed approach (go around) and reconfigure the aircraft correctly for a subsequent approach to land. Unfortunately that was not the case over here. Continuing to land in an unstabilised approach configuration situation can be dangerous.”
This is the second ‘eventful’ landing by AI into Hong Kong within four months. On October 20, an AI Dreamliner had “descended rapidly” and deviated significantly from the normal glide path. This had triggered the “a ground proximity warning system alert. The crew recovered the aircraft at about 200 feet above mean sea level (AMSL) before performing a go around.” AI had derostered the two pilots after the lapse. However, last October’s issue is still being probed to see whose fault led to it — crew error or malfunction in instrument landing system components of Hong Kong International Airport.
16/03/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India