737 Clips Light After Cockpit Typo
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.