After an unstable approach that resulted in an over-the-fence speed of more than 200 knots, the crew of a Pakistani Airlines International A320 with 99 people aboard skipped the airliner down the runway three times on the engine nacelles before getting it airborne, according to the Straits Times. All but two of those on board died when the aircraft lost power and the pilots, who managed to get the bruised aircraft to 3,000 feet in the pattern, couldn’t deadstick it back to the airport. It crashed, with the gear down and the ram air turbine deployed, in a neighborhood of concrete buildings near the end of the runway on May 22. The crash was the culmination of a chain of events that started with a tower controller urging the crew to go around because they were too high on the approach.
“We are comfortable. We can make it,” one of the pilots told the tower as the plane dove for the runway. Twice more the controller urged a go-around but the pilot on the radio declined, saying again he was “comfortable.” As the aircraft neared the threshold, controllers cleared the crew to land and an alarm sounded in the background that might have been the audible signal that the gear wasn’t down. A320s give ample warning of a gear-up landing and pundits who have been reviewing the circumstances are uniformly puzzled about how it could have happened.