Jetstar malfunction link to Air France Atlantic crash
Friday, 20 April 2012 14:23
A JETSTAR plane may have last week suffered the same malfunction that brought down an Air France jet over the Atlantic, killing all on board, five months ago.
Australiaâ€™s air safety regulators â€“ the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority â€“ are probing similarities between both incidents.
Â Jetstar A320-200 aircraft type
At 1.30am on October 29 the pilot of the Jetstar Airbus 330-200 reported an instrument blackout as the jet carrying 200 passengers passed through storm clouds midway between Japan and the Gold Coast, the Herald Sun reports.
Investigators downloaded information from the jetâ€™s flight data recorders before the jet was released back to the airline.
After normal flight was resumed the crew radioed Jetstarâ€™s Melbourne headquarters for engineering advice when it was determined that the plane should fly on to the Gold Coast.
The aircraft landed five hours later at 6.20am without passengers knowing what happened in the cockpit.
During the six-second blackout, the automatic pilot malfunctioned and fluctuating readings were transmitted by one of the jetâ€™s three airspeed indicators â€“ a similar situation to what the pilot of the Air France jet is said to have reported in his final radio message before his aircraft broke up and plunged into the ocean.
Jetstar said last night that early indications were the airspeed sensing system suffered a momentary interruption, after which the instruments returned to normal.
â€śThe crew remained in full control of the aircraft at all times and responded in accordance with training and procedure,â€ť an airline spokesman said. â€śWe are also liaising closely with Airbus.â€ť
He said several parts were replaced during a detailed examination of the jet before it was allowed to resume flying.
The Jetstar and Air France jets were similar models â€“ Airbus 330-200 jetliners.
The report came as two Qantas pilots were stood down after their plane came close to landing without wheels down at the end of a Melbourne-Sydney flight last week.