[Daily Mail] A Ryanair plane carrying 141 people from Manchester came within seconds and feet of disaster at a German airport after the pilots tried to make up lost time on their landing, according to an official air safety report.
Investigators said the late-running Boeing 737 – with 153 passengers and six crew – almost crashed when landing at Memmingen Airport in Bavaria on September 23 when the 30-year-old pilot and his co-pilot, 29, tried to ‘make good on some of the time lost in Manchester’.
It triggered a series of increasingly urgent automated warnings to the pilots to pull up to avoid hitting the ground before reaching the runway.
The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation in Braunschweig classified the drama as a ‘serious incident’ that happened ‘within seconds’.
Setting out how the drama unfolded, the official report said that, some five miles out from the airport, the pilots noticed the plane was descending too quickly.
At one point, the plane was just 450ft (150m) above the ground while dropping at a rate of 500ft/sec, according to the interim report.
The auto-pilot was deactivated and moments later an alarm sounded in the cockpit warning the pilots of the plane’s proximity to the ground.
The official report said that, according to the flight recorder, a warning sounded in the cockpit at 16.39 and 42 seconds with the words: ‘Terrain, terrain. Pull up.’
The pilot then instigated a procedure known as a ‘go-around’ which involves pulling up sharply from the runway descent and then attempting the landing afresh.
The report highlights a series of increasingly urgent warnings from the plane’s ‘Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System’.
The first alarm came at 16.39 and 20 seconds when the plane was at 1,319ft. Then, 17 seconds later, ‘the auto-pilot was deactivated’.
Three seconds after that another warning urged ‘Caution Terrain’ when the jet was at just 480ft from the ground.
A second later, the plane reached its lowest flight altitude of 450ft and a second after that the ground warning system barked: ‘Terrain, Terrain. Pull up, pull up!’
The crew was then forced to conduct a ‘missed approach procedure‘ before coming into land safely……
Daily Mail – By ALLAN HALL and RAY MASSEY
10th Dec, 2012
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