Jetstar is using an incident involving cockpit distraction on one of its flights as part of its regular training for pilots.
On 27 May 2010, JQ57 from Darwin to Singapore cancelled its initial approach into Changi Airport because pilots detected the aircraft was not fully configured for landing by the time it reached 500ft. The aircraft, an A321, landed safely and without incident shortly afterwards.
These cancelled landings – called ‘go arounds’ – are standard procedure for all airlines and happen every day at airports around the world.
A report released today by the ATSB into JQ57 showed that the pilots – both highly experienced and with a combined total of 17,000 flying hours – became distracted by a combination of factors. This distraction led to the pilots’ deciding to perform a go-around.
The ATSB report made no findings against Jetstar, nor did it find any fault with Jetstar’s policies or procedures. The safety of the aircraft was never compromised.
Jetstar’s Chief Pilot, Captain Mark Rindfleish, said: “We take a very conservative approach to how far before touchdown an aircraft should be completely configured for landing. In the case of JQ57, pilot distraction meant all the landing checklist items weren’t completed before the aircraft passed an altitude of 500ft, at which point a go-around was required under our operating procedures.
“Human factors, like distraction, are why airlines have so many procedural safeguards built into how they fly. The combination of factors on JQ57 has provided new learnings and the opportunity to add to these safeguards, which we take very seriously.”
As well as making JQ57 a case study in its training on the potential for cockpit distraction, Jetstar has also:
- Added an item to the takeoff checklist providing a reminder to pilots to ensure their mobile phones are switched off. This is a result of the investigation finding one of the pilot’s phones was inadvertently left on and automatically picked up messages on approach to Changi Airport, adding to distraction in the cockpit.
- Increased the mandatory distance for the landing checklist to be completed from 500ft above the airport to 1,000ft as an additional safeguard.
- Through training, reinforced the importance of crew ensuring they use mandatory rest periods in between duties effectively.