DELHI: Pilots of Jet Airways flight 9W-555 with 150 passengers and crew on board did a “blind” landing in Thiruvananthapuram on August 17 last year, clueless where the runway was, a civil aviation investigation has found.
The dangerous landing could have had disastrous consequences, says the final investigation report submitted to the aviation ministry last week, reports Hindustan Times.
The report, that Hindustan Times has access to, gives chilling details of what went on in the cockpit as the pilots declared “May Day” and managed to land only in the seventh attempt after doing an unprecedented six “go-arounds”.
“Do you know where it (runway) is?” the first officer is heard asking in the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recording as the pilots made a seventh attempt to land. “Just going blindly,” the captain replied.
The Boeing 737 was left with just 349kg of fuel when it finally landed. An aircraft can consume up to 100-150kg of fuel during taxiing itself. Had the pilots gone for another go-around, the plane would have crashed because there was not enough fuel left, officials said.
The captain was demoted to the rank of a co-pilot after the incident, which is classified as “serious”. The pilots didn’t respond to attempts for their comments.
When the Jet flight reached the Cochin airspace it had 4,844kg of fuel. It made three attempts to land in Cochin, but could not make visual contact with the runway and the fuel went down to 4,699kg, 3,919kg and 2,644kg in each attempt.
The minimum diversion fuel for Bangalore, the designated alternative airport, was 3,306 kg. That forced the crew to head to nearby Thiruvananthapuram.