737 Clips Light After Cockpit Typo

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Favorable geography and fortunate civic planning were cited in allowing a charter aircraft the chance to continue its flight from Belfast to Corfu on July 21, 2017, after a typo in the cockpit. The Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737 ran over a runway end light and continued 100 feet beyond before staggering into the air, according to a report from the U.K.’s Air Accidents Investigations Branch. The AAIB determined that one of the pilots incorrectly typed into the flight management system that the outside temperature was about 50 degrees below zero when it was actually a comfortable 63 degrees F. Anticipating the thick air of an Arctic winter, the computer set takeoff power at about 60 percent, woefully inadequate for the task ahead.

"The low acceleration of the aircraft was not recognized by the crew until the aircraft was rapidly approaching the end of the runway," the report said. Thankfully, the end of that runway at Belfast has no buildings, power lines or trees off the end and the 737 was able to claw to a safe altitude. The engines didn’t reach full power until the aircraft was about two-and-a-half miles away and 800 feet AGL. The AAIB determined the aircraft didn’t have a software update that would have warned the crew the temperature they set didn’t jibe and the airline says it’s been fixed. "The safety of our customers continues to be our top priority and we have confidence that these mitigating actions taken in co-operation with regulatory bodies and software providers reflect this commitment," the airline said in an email to Bloomberg.

Comments (8)

What ever happened to being a pilot? Auto throttles? Did they not notice the airspeed was lazy? The builders need to fix this mess before more people die. Pilots need to pilot their aircraft with hundreds of lives on board and stop relying on technology 100% of the time.

Posted by: bruce postlethwait | November 25, 2018 6:56 AM    Report this comment

How about an EFB with a link to the FMS? On arriving for duty the pilot gets a programed EFB from flight dispatcher. The EFB contains the flight plan, weather, manifest, etc. The EFB connects to the aircraft FMS and transfers all the required flight/performance planning data.

If we lowly GA pilots have this capability what's stopping airlines?

Posted by: Mark Sletten | November 25, 2018 7:27 AM    Report this comment

Air France 447, Asiana 214, and a host of GA examples, show piloting skills are slipping, fast.. GA bends more metal annually then the Air Carriers with far fewer hours flown.. As a Captain on the Heavy Metal, and a regular GA flyer with experiences a plenty.. It is prudent to step back and analyze from time to time.. The list of "Stupid Pilot Tricks" with little to no effort to self correct, is too long and distinguished.. Expecting the "wizardry" to come to the rescue is futile..

Bruce Postlethwait is 100% correct..

Posted by: Tom O'Toole | November 25, 2018 8:04 AM    Report this comment

Fly the plane, man.

Posted by: Roger Mullins | November 25, 2018 10:00 AM    Report this comment

Push the F-N levers forward. What are you saving the engines for? The accident investigators?

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | November 25, 2018 12:55 PM    Report this comment

Didn't Air Florida have this problem in DC, too?

Posted by: Larry Stencel | November 25, 2018 1:23 PM    Report this comment

AF had a frozen-over engine-inlet sensor. Again, the pilots failed to simply push the thrust levers to the stops.
Larry, I'm sure YOU remember "War Emergency Power."

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | November 25, 2018 1:55 PM    Report this comment

What's crazy to me is: Certainly the airplane has an outside air sensor. It should be a no-brainer for the default behavior to copy the value from it. It would be one or two lines of code, and the only reason it's not there is crazy certification requirements for anything software related.

How do we fix this?

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | November 25, 2018 6:25 PM    Report this comment

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