JETSTAR pilots forgot to lower the landing gear and had to abort touch-down at just 500ft because the captain was distracted by his mobile phone, air safety investigators have found.
The close call on Jetstar flight JQ57 on May 27, 2010 from Darwin to Singapore's Changi International Airport and was less than 2500 feet above the tarmac when the captain’s mobile phone messaging alert sounded.
The first officer had to twice get the captain’s attention to request they run through the landing checklist. When the first officer still didn’t get the captain’s attention, he looked over at him to see the captain using his cellphone.
At about1000 feet the first officer scanned the cockpit instruments and said "something was not quite right" but could not identify what it was.
It wasn’t until the plan was just 700 ft above the ground when the first officer realised the landing gear was not down.
At 720 feet, a cockpit alert flashed and sounded to warn that the wheels still hadn't been lowered.
At 650 feet, the captain moved the undercarriage lever "instinctively" but then a "too low" ground-warning alarm sounded as the plane sunk through 500 feet, indicating the landing gear was not fully extended and locked.
At 392 feet, the crew aborted the landing and powered up the thrust.
At this time the pilots had lost track of their altitude, thinking they were much higher, at about 800 feet.
The A320 aircraft climbed to about 2600 feet, before making a successful approach and landing.
The first officer told investigators the pilot was preoccupied with his phone, while the captain said he was trying to unlock the phone to turn it off, which he had forgotten to do prior to take-off.
Phone records showed the pilot had not responded to any of the text he had received during the approach.
The ATSB found the pilots had failed to perform a number of tasks to prepare for landing including lowering the landing gear, completing the landing checklist, selecting auto break and checking the flight parameters.