Cockpit Cellphone Use Prompted Go-Around

 - April 23, 2012, 6:03 PM

Most aviators probably can’t imagine the need for a regulation warning about texting while flying. After all, sterile-cockpit rules restrict unnecessary chatter for professional flight crews below 10,000 feet. But who would have thought that a captain might be so busy with his cell phone on final approach that he’d miss the landing-gear call?

In a report released last week, the Australian Transport Safety Board stated that the captain of an Australian JetStar Airbus A321 had missed the call to lower the landing gear when he became distracted by his cell phone during an unstable final approach to Singapore International Airport.

The first officer pointed out the landing gear issue to the captain as the A321 descended through 700 feet. With the gear still in transit as the captain continued the approach through 500 feet, the airplane’s enhanced ground proximity warning system issued an aural “landing gear” alert. The crew then (wisely) executed a go-around and returned for landing. No injuries were reported.

The post-flight investigation also determined the crew missed a number of other items on the pre-landing checklist while approaching Singapore.