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Investigation: Incorrect configuration for landing involving Jetstar Airbus A320 in NSW

Christian Fernsby |
On the morning of 18 May 2018, an Airbus A320 aircraft, registered VH-VQK, was being operated on a regular public transport flight by Jetstar Airways.

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The flight departed from Sydney, New South Wales for Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport, New South Wales.

The flight crew conducted a go-around on the first approach at Ballina because the aircraft’s flight path did not meet the operator’s stabilised approach criteria.

On the second approach, at about 700 ft radio altitude, a master warning was triggered because the landing gear had not been selected DOWN. The flight crew conducted a second go-around and landed without further incident on the third approach.

The flight crew did not follow the operator’s standard procedures during the first go-around and subsequent visual circuit at 1,500 ft.

In particular, the flaps remained at Flaps 3 rather than Flaps 1 during the visual circuit. This created a series of distractions leading to a non-standard aircraft configuration for a visual circuit. Limited use of available aircraft automation added to the flight crew’s workload.

During the downwind leg following the first 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.

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

Unexpected events during approach and landing phases can substantially increase what is often a high workload period. Adherence to standard operating procedures and correctly monitoring the aircraft and approach parameters provides assurance that a visual approach can be safely completed.

The selection of inappropriate auto-flight modes, unexpected developments, or any confusion about roles or procedures can contribute to decisions and actions that increase the safety risk to the aircraft and its passengers.

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