LONDON – The UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released a report involving an incident on a Jet2 Boeing 737-800 in Kuusamo Airport, Finland.
The incident took place on December 1, 2021, when the flight crew onboard the flight inadvertently left the thrust set at 70% power.
For context, the thrust setting should have been at 89% during the departure stage. This caused the aircraft to become airborne with only 400 meters of runway remaining.
On top of this, the aircraft also climbed slowly and eventually got the attention of the flight crew, who then applied the correct power to the jets.
The flight continued to its destination without incident, with the AAIB finding that the pilots didn’t press the Takeoff Go-around (TOGA) button. The AAIB expanded on this:
“This incident was caused by the thrust not being set correctly due to the Takeoff Go-around (TOGA) button not being pressed.”
“This happened because the co-pilot was startled by the aircraft starting to move as he commenced the run-up against the brakes, and this occurred because the co-pilot applied insufficient brake pressure.”
“The commander was distracted by a radio call and did not check to see if the thrust was correctly set.”
“The AAIB has investigated several takeoff performance incidents across the industry, and this incident is further evidence that the current barriers designed to prevent events like these are not fully effective.”
“Therefore, two Safety Recommendations have been made to develop technical specifications and certification standards for a technical solution and to improve the detection of takeoffs with compromised performance.”
It is a worrying revelation that the AAIB has detected similar incidents to this onboard other flights across the UK and worldwide.
All eyes should be on the manufacturers to ensure that these safety recommendations are implemented quickly, as well as continued refreshers on simulator training to ensure events like this don’t happen again.
With the pilots in this incident detecting the problem at 250 feet AGL, it is good that they detected this because if they didn’t, it could have been a different outcome.
Looking ahead, it is going to be interesting to see what additional training the likes of Jet2 will provide to its pilots, especially when it comes to distraction scenarios as well.
It remains clear that this was indeed a very dangerous incident that could have developed into something worse, but the pilots onboard were able to rectify the issue quickly.
That being said, however, there may be a potential need for further detailed checks during the departure sequence to ensure that the correct thrust setting and other modes are in place during this period of flight.
Either way, this will be another useful case study for the AAIB to have in hand, as it will become more useful knowledge to those working on the operational side of an airline.