Pakistan Airliner Landed Gear Up On First Try: Report


Pakistan media is reporting Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK8303 landed gear up and the crew muscled it back into the air before it crashed on a second landing attempt, killing 97 of 99 people aboard on Friday. According to reports gathered by the Aviation Herald, the A320 slid on its nacelles at the airport in Karachi for more than a thousand feet before it became airborne again. Sometime during the go-around the engines quit and the aircraft crashed just short of the airport in a residential area. Four people on the ground were taken to a hospital with burns but nobody was killed.

The media has shown videos and images of the aircraft and the scrape marks on the runway and local planespotters got still photos of the plane with apparent scrape marks on both nacelles and the ram air turbine deployed just before it went down. Security video shows the aircraft in an extreme nose-high attitude as the crew issues a Mayday and descends into the neighborhood. The crash damaged 25 houses but because they were all built of concrete none were destroyed. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Lahore.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • Yes. How were they going to disown the initial ‘gear up’ in the first place? Claim gear collapse? No possible scenario; just let it stop on the runway and find another career.

    • My thoughts exactly. I don’t remember anyone discussing the fact that there were no accidents with the 737MAX by any U.S. carrier that flew them.

      • Not a “foreign pilot.”
        A foreign “pilot.”
        Family typically is connected back in the home nation. Graduated from a U.S.-based fair-weather pilot farm. Flies for a non-U.S. airline. Gets put in the right seat of a 737 or A320 with almost NO flight experience. You’ve probably met a few of them. Danger, Will Robinson.

  1. I think this exceeds the number of and’s allowed in one sentence..

    “The media has shown videos and images of the aircraft and the scrape marks on the runway and local planespotters got still photos of the plane with apparent scrape marks on both nacelles and the ram air turbine deployed just before it went down.”

  2. Why would any pilot do a go-around with compromised engines and systems? Surely they read accident reports which are littered with instances of crashes after go-arounds with compromised aircraft!! Wheels-up “Bugger”, better stay on the deck!!

    • Saw it with my own two eyes at our local airport.

      Piper doing touch and goes at dusk, comes in and forgets to put the gear down. Scrapes the boarding step and the prop twangs on the concrete. Fella powers up and goes round.

      I grab my handheld radio and tell him we’re calling 911..and ask if he’s OK…he says…”Ooookay, I’m fine. Beautiful night out”. Guy comes around the patch, puts the gear down, lands, no problem. We call 911 back and tell them the plane is safely on the ground.

      Guy taxies back, we think he’s B-line to the hangar. We go about our business. Next thing we hear, is the piper in the run up area…HE TAKES OFF AGAIN.

      Back on the handheld, “Mister, are you OK?” Once again, he says “Uhhh, everything’s OK, why?”….”we think you need to land, you’ve landed gear up!”…..”naw, can’t be!”

      Guy comes around the patch, gear down and lands uneventfully. We wave him down at the fuel pump. Sure ‘nuff, the underside of the boarding step is smoothly polished and the prop is rose petaled.

  3. Yars, there’s a big difference between not understanding why your aeroplane keeps pitching nose down despite everything you do following your training (that didn’t even cover the malfunctioning system) and taking off after a gear up landing

    • Is doesn’t matter WHY your nose is pitching down against your wishes. DISABLE THE PITCH TRIM. You can worry about “understanding” the cause at some later time.
      And BTW, reduce power from the takeoff setting.
      And run the checklist, as asked, rather than saying a prayer (“resignation”).

    • These 3rd world crews have very inadequate training. Runaway trim is a very simple memorized procedure on every 737 & every other jet built. But, who in their right mind would retract flaps with an active stick shaker thereby increasing stall speed by 40 kts? Since MCAS is only active with flaps up, it should not be a factor.

  4. The writer has this all wrong. This event was not a “go-around”. It was a clearly a “touch and go” landing.

  5. Hopefully, info will reveal why – either no aural gear warning, or, no response to it.
    Also don’t see an explanation as to why the excessive ldg airspeed in the first place. No where near ldg bug.
    Click on the link in blue near the beginning of the article which has more detail.

  6. There is an ATC recording where the pilots are cleared to land. In the background is an alarm going off. The video is on YouTube and called PIA 8303: Final Flight RT calls before crash.

    A reviewer claimed that this was a ‘gear-up’ alarm. I don’t know if that is true, but there is a clear audible alarm while the pilot acknowledges the clearance. There was some confusion with the communication throughout the approach and final attempted landing, as well as the go-around. Very interesting listening….

    • More specifically, the claim is that the alarm is not gear-up per se, but a warning of the gear not being consistent with the selector position. So perhaps they convinced themselves that the gear was extended because the switch said so, but some other problem prevented extension. FDR should tell the story.