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'Distracted' Jetstar Pilots Forgot To Lower Landing Gear

The pilots of a Jetstar flight forgot to lower the plane's landing gear as they approached a NSW airport because the flight crew was 'distracted', The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found.

The ATSB has released its findings following the May 18, 2018 incident at Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport.

It was found the pilots of the Jetstar A320 aircraft did not lower the landing gear as the approached the nothern NSW airport and they were forced to conduct a go-around after they were alerted to the oversight by a master warning.

The aircraft had already completed one go-around after the flight's captain determined that its airspeed and altitude were higher than a normal approach profile, according to AirlineRatings.com.

A Jetstar Airbus A320. Image: Getty

A go-around is where the plane loops back to re-attempt a landing.

The ATSB found the flight crew on board the plane had not correctly followed Jetstar procedures during the first go-around and this resulted in distractions that contributed to the landing gear oversight.

The authority noted that the flaps remained at Flaps 3 position rather than the Jetstar standard of Flaps 1.

"During the downwind leg following the go-around, the flight crew did not select the landing gear down as they had commenced the configuration sequence for landing at the Flaps 3 setting," the ATSB found.

"Furthermore, the flight crew incorrectly actioned the landing checklist, which prevented the incorrect configuration for landing being identified and corrected."

A visual reenactment of the landing attempts. Image: ATSB

During the second attempt to land the plane, a master warning was triggered at about 700 feet because the landing gear had not been activated.

The ATSB told 10 daily the landing checklist "had not appropriately" been adhered to, resulting in the failure.

The captain then performed a second go-round to ensure the landing checklist was correctly actioned and the third attempt to land the plane was successful.

The ATSB's investigation concluded it was a 'series of distractions' that led to the mistake.

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Clear for takeoff.

The flight's captain was an experienced pilot with more than 11,000 hours flying time. The crew's first officer was also deemed fit for the job.

Dr Stuart Godley, ATSB Director Transport Safety Director, said the incident reinforced how "unexpected events during approach and landing" can substantially increase the flight crew's workload.

“While highly undesirable, it should be noted that the aircraft’s warning system effectively alerted the flight crew to the problem and the crew responded promptly to the warning and initiated a second go-around," Godley said.

The incident occurred at Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport.

The ATSB told 10 daily it was satisfied with the action taken by Jetstar after the incident.

The flight crew were provided additional flying training.

There is no air traffic control tower at Ballina airport which increases the workload of the pilots as aircrafts are required to communicate with each other to coordinate movements.

"We reported the matter to the ATSB and conducted an internal investigation, with a reminder issued to our pilots about the importance of following standard operating procedures," a Jetstar spokesperson said.