What Caused the Pakistan Air Crash?
Pakistan International Airways Flight 8303 was cleared for instrument landing, but as ATC recordings show, the crew aborted the landing due to an unknown technical problem with the landing gear and went around.
Based on information being released by the Civil Aeronautics Association of Pakistan, ARY News is reporting that left engine scrape marks of #PK8303 were found 4500 feet from the runway threshold; right engine scrape marks started at 5500 feet, meaning the plane made ground contact that might have caused engine damage.
The black scrape marks can be seen on the fuselage and engines in the below picture:
It is not known yet why the crew decided to go around after the engines had ground contact and didn’t consider that they’re most likely damaged. The black box recordings should shed some light on that question.
According to recordings being released from ATC radio, the crew aborted landing on 25L and went around with damaged engines.
As the engines were damaged, they failed soon after the aborted landing and go around and the crew reported an engine failure and the plane subsequently crashed in a residential area just short of the runway.
From my perspective as an aviation professional and industry analyst, based on the current available information, this disaster was likely caused by pilot error.
Something to take note of was that the plane had already deployed its RAT (Ram Air Turbine). The RAT is a little propeller that pops out from the fuselage to provide electrical and hydraulic power. This tends to occur when you are facing a very damaged aircraft and there is no other power coming in to the plane this is your last ditch source of power.
Why did the plane go around for a second landing? It could be something as simple as the first landing was unstable or maybe there was a goat crossing the runway?
Could they have simply forgotten to deploy the landing gear?
Where everything went sideways was the failed 2nd landing attempt.
Map of the airport and the yellow circle denotes the crash scene.
According to one of the 2 sole survivors from the flight Muhammad Zubair, "No-one was aware that the plane was about to crash; they were flying the plane in a smooth manner...I could hear screams from all directions. Kids and adults. All I could see was fire. I couldn't see any people - just hear their screams. I opened my seat belt and saw some light - I went towards the light. I had to jump down about 10ft (3m) to get to safety,"
There are reports from the tower that the CRC (Continuous Repetitive Chime, a beacon to alert pilots to an error in their airplane) chime kept going off when they checked in with the tower. CRC is the airbus chime that is saying “hey pay attention to me”
Written by Ümit Tobias Celik, Edited by Alexander Fleiss