Airline pilot distracted by new text messages botches landing attempt

Airline Cockpit

As detailed by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, an investigation into a Jetstar flight JQ57 between Darwin to Singapore discovered that the airline captain failed to lower the landing gear during the first attempt at a landing as he was too busy with his mobile phone. While the incident occurred nearly two years ago, the details of the investigation were released this week. According to the report, the captain neglected to turn off his mobile phone prior to the 220-seat Airbus 320 taking off in Darwin, Australia. When the plane began an initial descent into Changi Airport within Singapore, the captain’s phone started beeping with new text message alerts when the plane was in between 2,500 to 2,000 feet off the ground.

Pilot TextingThe captain turned his attention to the phone during the descent and the co-pilot attempted to get the captain’s attention. After trying to alert the captain twice, the co-pilot switched off the auto-pilot during landing, but started to notice that something was wrong when the plane was just 1,000 feet off the ground.

The captain claims that he was attempting to unlock the phone in order to turn it off during this time period. When the plane was approximately 720 feet off the ground, a cockpit alert sounded to warn the pilots that the landing gear hadn’t been lowered. The captain responded by attempting to lower the landing gear at 650 feet, but a second alarm sounded as the plane dipped below 500 feet off the ground.

At this point, the landing gear was not fully extended and locked into place. The plane had to abort the landing when the aircraft was less than 400 feet off the ground and the co-pilot powered up the thrust to ascend. Both pilots were confused at the altitude at this point and claimed to have been at 800 feet above the ground. The pilots weren’t effectively communicating with each other during the incident either. After the plane ascended back above the airport, the pilots were able to land the plan safely on the second attempt.  

Jetstar Airbus

Commonly labeled a “Go-Around” by the airline industry, there were likely significant fuel costs to getting the plane back up into the air after the failed landing. The report didn’t release information regarding the number of people that were on the 2010 flight, but they were likely delayed as well. Jetstar investigators blame fatigue for the collection of mistakes that led to the botched landing attempt and the company is taking new steps to ensure the safety of passengers. Mentioned within a press release issued today, Jetstar is requiring all pilots to complete the landing checklist by 1,000 feet rather than 500. The company has also added “turn off mobile phones” to the checklist Jetstar pilots are required to complete before taking off. 

Within the release, Jetstar’s Captain Mark Rindfleish stated “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 a final precaution for the future, the company is enforcing mandatory rest periods between flights so pilots won’t feel fatigued after a long flight. 

Mobile

You forgot all about these 5 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.
Mobile

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.
Mobile

Apple’s first iPhone XR case lets you show off your handset’s color

Apple has released its first case for the iPhone XR. Costing $39, the case has a clear back so you can show off the color of your phone, whichever of the six options you went for.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Web

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Google's Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and is back again with even more features. You can have fun with more than 20 games, learn about different holiday traditions around the world, and enjoy some festive animations.
Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Mobile

The Palm has been revived, and is now available in the U.S. and U.K.

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. The Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon for $350.
Mobile

Yes, we really are getting a special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T

OnePlus has announced a partnership with McLaren F1, emphasizing a shared interest in speed. The phone company is known for producing special edition devices. Here's what we know about the OnePlus 6T Mclaren Edition.
Deals

Simplify your life with one of these wireless smartphone charger deals

Banish nightly cable fumbling with a wireless smartphone charger. If your smartphone is compatible with wireless charging, the simplicity of placing it on a pad is a beautiful thing. Wireless chargers are also excellent gifts for coworkers.
Mobile

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.