An incident, dating from 2022, where a theft United Airlines came within 748 feet, so close to crashing into the Pacific Ocean, was caused by a driver erroraccording to federal investigators.
Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), independent agency of the government of the United States, responsible for the investigation of air accidents said on Thursday that a miscommunication between the pilots had led a United Airlines plane to dive less than 228 meters from the surface of the ocean shortly after take off from Hawaii in December 2022. The NTSB states in a final report that the crew failed to manage the plane’s vertical path, speed, and nose direction after confusion between the captain and co-pilot. After a normal takeoff in heavy rain at the airport of Kahului on the island of mauithe captain asked the co-pilot, or first officer, to reset the wing flaps, but the co-pilot heard “15” instead of ” five “, according to the NTSB report.
“At this point, I knew the captain was having difficulty with speed control…I couldn’t be certain what the captain was dealing with,” the co-pilot later told investigators. The nose of the aircraft continued to nose down and the co-pilot saw through the windshield that they were passing through the cloud cover. “I immediately recognized the seriousness of our situation”did he declare. “I announced several times: ‘Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot’ » . The aircraft’s ground proximity warning system also sounded an alarm.
At over 2,200 feet (670 meters), the Boeing 777 plunged more than 1,400 feet (427 meters) toward the Pacific Ocean before the pilots — who were not named in the report — were able to recover the situation, according to the NTSB. The captain said he decided to continue to San Francisco after the purser told him that ” everything was fine “ and that there was no apparent damage to the aircraft. The rest of the trip was routine.
There were 271 passengers and 10 crew members on board. The 55-year-old captain had nearly 20,000 flight hours, a considerable number. The co-pilot had 5,300 flight hours. Both still fly for United, the airline said.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our crew and customers, which is why we are leveraging the lessons learned from this flight to inform the training of all United pilots”said United spokesman Joshua Freed. “Our pilots have voluntarily reported this occurrence and United have fully cooperated with the independent investigation.” to improve the safety of the whole industry.