The ill-fated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft that crashed on May 22 in Karachi touched the runway at least three times during the botched landing attempt. This was revealed by the Federal Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, during a press conference on Thursday.
Sarwar said that the captain of the PIA flight PK-8303 never informed the control tower that his landing gear wasn’t opening when it tried to land the plane from an unusual height. During the first and unsuccessful attempt, the plane bounced thrice on the runway, jumping on its engines every time.
All marks are present on the runway. He was not at the proper height… Control tower informed him you aren’t at the required height, lower your altitude. But the pilot said he will manage.
A part of the final conversation between the pilot and the control room has revealed that the captain insisted on landing despite being informed of his higher altitude and speed.
“We’re comfortable now,” the pilot responded ahead of the failed attempt. The remarks have left many experts surprised.
However, he reported problems in maintaining the altitude shortly after taking off the plane again for the second landing attempt, then said that both engines had failed.
Experts are yet to ascertain if the engines failed because of their collision with the runway following a steeper and faster approach.
The Airbus 320 is normally fitted with engines made by CFM International, co-owned by Safran and General Electric. The engines are widely used in the industry and are known for a strong overall record of reliability.
As per experts, the lower part of CFM engines contain an accessory gearbox and hydraulic pumps, both are key components to keep a jet afloat.
“All sorts of things can happen to an engine if you bounce it down the runway,” experts familiar with its design said.
Safety experts, however, have cautioned against jumping onto conclusions, saying that usually, most accidents result from a combination of factors.