A Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Hobart carrying 134 passengers was forced to turn around after a cadet pilot on his first flight made a horrible mistake.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its report on the incident that occurred on May 11 last year, determining that the plane’s tail had struck the runway during take-off. After cabin crew noticed an odd noise during the plane’s ascent, the flight crew decided to turn it around before further damage could be done.
While the ATSB commended the in-air communication between cabin crew and flight crew, it noted that the flight crew didn’t tell air traffic control about the tail strike.
The ATSB said, “As a result, the captain elected to stop the climb and return to Melbourne. The first officer also swapped seats with the cadet pilot.”
“This delayed checking the runway for aircraft debris.”
In a statement to news.com.au, a Jetstar spokesman said: “The experienced captain and trainer pilot handled this extremely well and with the help of cabin crew ensured the aircraft returned to Melbourne Airport without further incident.
“The pilot involved was taken off flying duties while he underwent additional simulator training and assessments and after successfully passing this training returned to flying and has operated since without further incident.
“There was no structural damage to the aircraft and it returned to service shortly after.
“We use incidents to further improve the safety of our operation and soon after the event, we reminded our pilots of the importance of alerting air traffic control of a potential tail strike.”
What are your thoughts?