Initial Investigation Finds How COVID-19 Played a Major Part in PK-8303 Crash

Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, has revealed that the interim probe into the PK-8303 crash has identified the pilot and officials of the air traffic controller (ATC) to be responsible for the crash.

While speaking in the National Assembly, Khan said that the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of PK-8303 were decoded by international experts.


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Khan apprised the house that the investigation has found that both pilot and ATC officials did not follow set procedures and ignored standard protocols.

The plane was free from technical faults and both pilots were medically fit to carry out flight operations.

The plane was 100 percent fit for flying. It had no technical fault. Since flights were suspended due to Coronavirus, the plane took its first flight on May 7 and the crash happened on May 22. In between, it completed six flights successfully; five to and from Karachi and one to Sharjah.

Moreover, the speed and altitude of PK-8303 before its final approach were unusual.

At its final approach, the plane was around 7,220 feet. However, it should have been at an altitude of 2,500 feet before the final approach. The plane should have come in 40 degrees but it dived at 60 degrees.


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ATC did not point out the damage incurred by the plane after the failed landing attempt. When the plane took off again, ATC did not inform the pilots that both the engines are on fire.

Khan further added that the pilot changed the landing mode from auto to manual just before the landing. The pilots also closed the landing gear 5 nautical miles away from the runway even though it was deployed once before.

Lack of focus and overconfidence of the pilots also contributed to the crash, revealed the minister.

The pilots were discussing Coronavirus throughout the flight. They were not focused. They talked about their families being affected by COVID-19. When the control tower asked him to increase the plane’s altitude, the pilot said ‘I’ll manage’. There was overconfidence.


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Ghulam Sarwar Khan also lamented the loss of an experienced pilot in the crash.

He was an extremely experienced pilot. What is sad is that because of the overconfidence and lack of focus of pilot and co-pilot, such a big incident happened.

While the interim report has pointed out pilots and ATC officials to be responsible for the crash, the complete report of the investigation of PK-8303 will be made public before the end of the year.



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