A preliminary report on the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash that killed 97 people raised serious questions about how the pilot handled the plane and what prevented the crew in the cockpit from informing the air traffic controllers about the problems inform.
Pakistani investigators are trying to find out whether the crash on flight PK-8303 by the national airline was the result of a pilot error or a technical mishap. New clues raise new questions about the circumstances of the incident, Geo News reported.
According to the report issued by the country's civil aviation authority (CAA), the engines of the Airbus A-320 scraped the runway three times during the pilot's first attempt at landing, causing friction and sparks recorded by the experts.
After the third impact, the pilot took the plane back into the air, which the officials found very strange, since the crew in the cockpit did not inform the ATC at Jinnah International Airport about problems with the landing gear. The News International cited CAA sources as saying.
Since automated emergency systems in the aircraft are triggered in an emergency and the loud alarms and warnings cannot be ignored, there was no indication from the pilot to the ATC that something was wrong.
When the plane scratched the ground on the first failed landing attempt, the engine's oil tank and fuel pump may have been damaged and started to leak, preventing the pilot from reaching the required thrust and speed to bring the aircraft to safety, according to the report.
The pilot made the decision "alone" to do a "go-around" after not landing for the first time. Only during the start was the ATC informed that the landing gear had not been used.
"The pilot was instructed by the air traffic controller to get the plane to 3,000 feet, but he only managed 1,800. When the cockpit was reminded to reach the 3,000 foot level, the first officer said" we're trying, "he says said the report.
Experts said that failure to reach the level indicated that the motors were not responding. The plane then tipped over and suddenly crashed.
"The plane sank too quickly, almost crashed," said sources familiar with the report.
Investigators attempted to find out why the pilots had never once informed the ATC of emergencies, malfunctions, engine failures, or fires, despite the apparent problems the aircraft was facing. The report added that there are rarely as many technical problems at the same time.
The behavior of the ATC is also examined.
The report added that there are more questions than answers at this point, the most serious of which is why and how the cockpit alarm systems did not warn pilots of an impending emergency.
Arshad Malik, chief executive officer of PIA, said the plane's black box had been handed over to the investigation team.
The team, led by Air Commodore Muhammad Usman Ghani, President of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board, is expected to provide a full report in about three months.
According to the PIA Technical and Maintenance Department, the last inspection of the aircraft was carried out on March 21 of this year and had flown from Muscat to Lahore one day before the crash.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pakistani government approved limited domestic flights from five major airports – Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta – as of May 16.
After the aircraft tragedy, the PIA ceased operations domestically.