The preliminary findings by the accident investigation team have presented that the (Pakistan International Airlines) PIA A320 crash at Karachi was human error rather than the technical malfunction on the aircraft. 97 people on board Flight 8303 died in the PIA A320 crash.
The Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan during National Assembly held on Wednesday said that the aircraft was technically fine and there were no issues in flight. Khan also informed that the pilots were talking about Coronavirus and getting distracted.
Preliminary Findings of PIA A320 Crash
The initial report of the PIA crash depicts the aircraft was totally fine and technical systems were running smoothly. The flight crews were experienced and medically fit for flying but they did not inform any technical glitch while final approach for landing.
The Airbus A320 was too high when it was 10 nautical miles away from the runway. The standard altitude is 2500 feet at that distance however, the flight PK-8303 was 7,200 feet. Air Traffic Controller informed about it but the pilot ignored it saying that he could manage to land the plane under any circumstances.
The report also says that the pilot failed to deploy landing gear during the first attempt of landing which resulted in severe engine damage after striking the runway. Mr. Khan was curious about why the pilot deployed landing gears at 10 nautical miles and again pulled up when reaching 5 nautical miles.
The preliminary report also suggests that there was an error from Air Traffic Controllers’ too as the ATC officers failed to inform the pilots about the severe engine damage on the A320 aircraft. The plane took off with heavily damaged engines producing highly visible scratches on the runway.
The aviation minister added that the pilot was in the mode of over-confidence and did not focus on controlling the aircraft.
The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the PIA A320 crash site have already been decoded in France by the experts so, Mr. Khan insisted that the full investigation report would be available within a year. He also said that the investigation process would be fair and transparent without any misleading proofs.
Survivor’s point of view
Luckily there were two surviving passengers from such a fatal accident and one of them named Muhammad Zubair spoke about it. He said that everything was fine and nobody was alert about the crash to happen soon. Pilots were flying aircraft smoothly and we were not feeling any inconvenience while our aircraft was 10-15 minutes away from landing, he added.
PIA A320 ‘AP-BLD’ status
Airbus A320-214 with registration ‘AP-BLD’ was introduced by PIA in 2014 and its age was 15.8 years. The aircraft was properly maintained and went through airworthiness inspection last November.
There were no prevailing issues before the flight to Karachi from Lahore. The aircraft was manufactured by the Airbus Company in Toulouse, France with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 2274.
PIA pilot proficiency
The aviation ministry of Pakistan reported that the country holds 860 active and educational degrees of some pilots (3-4) were found fake or misleading. Besides, 30 percent of pilots have found to have inappropriate licenses and no flying experience.
The minister announced in the assembly that the strict action would be taken to such pilots. The Pakistani government is preparing to restructure PIA rather than privatizing it.
Pakistan Aviation Safety Record
The safety record of Pakistan aviation looks average as the accident cases are frequent. Some of the fatal crashes before the recent Karachi crash were:
PIA ATR 42-500 Flight 661 (2016)
PIA ATR 42-500 with flight number 661 on 7th December 2016 crashed near Havelian killing all 42 people on board. The investigation concluded that the aircraft’s left engine malfunctioned at an altitude of 13,375 feet and then the aircraft descended uncontrollably, disappeared from radar, and finally crashed.
The Safety Investigation Board found some error from PIA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan for the fatal crash.
BHOJ AIR BOEING 737-200 Flight 213 (2012)
Boeing 737-200 operated by Pakistani International airline Bhoja Air crashed when approaching to land at Islamabad due to bad weather. 121 passengers and 6 crew members died in the fatal accident.
The final investigation report published on 21 January 2015 concluded that the crash was caused by ineffective management from the cockpit crew for flight parameters like altitude, descent rate, and thrust management.
AIRBLUE AIRBUS A321 Flight 202 (2010)
The Airbus A321 owned by Airblue crashed near Islamabad while conducting a domestic flight from Karachi killing all 146 passengers and 6 flight crews on board.
The investigation report showed that the crash was a Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) accident. Also, it insisted that the flight crew was unable to act professionally to handle the situation.