Crew Blamed For United Flight That Nearly Crashed in Maui

Crew Blamed For United Flight That Nearly Crashed in Maui
byeangel from Tsingtao, China, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S NTSB has blamed the crew onboard United Airlines flight UA1722 that lost altitude after departure from Maui’s airport in December 2021.

Crew Blamed For United Flight That Nearly Crashed in Maui
Source: NTSB.

UA1722 was a scheduled flight between Kahului, Maui and San Francisco, which was operated by N217UA, one of United Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

From the image above, you can see the minute by minute drama unfold when the aircraft dropped significantly in altitude.


NTSB Blames United Crew for the Maui Incident…

tjdarmstadt, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The United Airlines flight from Maui dropped from 2,100 feet to just 748 feet above the water before the crew were able to recover from the descent.

On this incident, the NTSB stated that “the flight crew’s failure to manage the airplane’s vertical flightpath, airspeed, and pitch attitude following a miscommunication”, was the cause for this incident.

The report states that the first officer thought the captain called out Flaps 15, when actually he had called for Flaps 5.

At this point, the aircraft began to descend, before the GPWS system began calling out “Sink Rate”, “Pull Up”, and “Too Low Terrain”.

This event was first observed in February 2022, when the incident had actually happened in December 2021, taking around 2-3 months for it to be reported initially.

All eyes will be on United now to see what the response will be following the incident in Maui. At this stage, the status of the crew’s employment is unknown.

Now that the NTSB has concluded its report, recommendations will no doubt be made to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 2 Min Read
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