Mobile phone caused midair mishap
An investigation into a Jetstar pilot who missed a landing at Singapore Airport has revealed that he did so because he was distracted by his mobile phone at the time.
On 27 May 2010, a Jetstar Airbus A320 en route from Darwin to Singapore was preparing its descent into Changi International Airport. During the aircraft's descent through 2500 feet, "the crew heard noises associated with incoming text messages on the captain's mobile phone", the report said.
The report said that the noise created by the mobile phone had distracted the captain such that he had failed to lower the plane's landing gear as it descended through 1000 feet.
"The captain stated that he was in the process of unlocking and turning off his mobile phone at that time," the report said.
The first officer likely didn't notice the captain's error because he was suffering from fatigue, according to the report.
"The [first officer] stated that he did not feel tired or fatigued before the flight. However, he reported feeling tired on descent into Singapore, and that he disengaged the autopilot during the approach in order to hand-fly the aircraft and 'wake [him] up'". At the same time, "the mobile phone messages acted to compound the captain's distraction from the monitoring and support roles during the latter stages of the approach," the report said.
As a result, the crew aborted the landing at 392 feet.
Since the incident, Jetstar has undertaken a number of different regulatory measures to prevent similar issues from happening, including revamping its training and disciplinary procedures.