Pilot Too Distracted By Texting To Bother Lowering Plane's Wheels For Landing

Proving that it really is dangerous to have cell phones on during a flight, an investigation in Australia says a pilot was too distracted by texting on his phone to remember to put the wheels down for landing. Oh, oops. Turns out you need those things.

The incident occurred almost two years ago, reports The Age, but the details of what went down in the cockpit have just been released as part of an investigation. Pilots for Jetstar got all kinds of confused during the descent, and ended up having to abort their landing amidst the ordeal.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says the captain was distracted by incoming messages on his phone while his first officer was “probably fatigued.” That led to them losing their “situational awareness,” or in other words, forgetting some very, very important steps.

Around 2,500 to 2,000 feet, the captain’s phone was beeping while the co-pilot got no response from him on two requests. He saw the captain “preoccupied with his mobile phone”, investigators said. The captain says he was just trying to unlock it to turn it off, because he’d forgotten to do that before taking off.

Then at 1,000 feet, the co-pilot felt something was off, but couldn’t put his finger on it. The landing gear hadn’t been lowered by the captain and neither one of them went through their landing checklist. A cockpit alert sounded to be like, hey guys, what’s up, we need some wheels. By then it was too late to lower and extend them, so the landing was aborted at 392 feet.

There were a whole bunch of other mistakes, leading to new safeguards, said Jetstar, including the handy rule of not having your phone on during flights, just like the rest of us non-pilots who don’t hold a plane full of people’s lives in their hands.

Jetstar pilots ‘forgot to lower wheels’ due to mobile phone [The Age]