BEA investigation says the two pilots on board lost “the situation consciousness“When traveling in bad weather.
As a result, the Boeing 737 “flew too low for more than two minutes” as it made a turn in the clouds on the autopilot just eight miles from the runway at Bergerac airport.
The investigation indicates that the pilots, who were flying too low, were then given a “terrain warning” while an automated safety system instructed them to “stop”.
The 57-year-old captain and his 27-year-old student co-pilot managed to “stop” in time before completing a safe landing a few minutes later.
However, according to the report, the Boeing 737 was seconds away from a life-threatening disaster.
The investigation concluded that if the aircraft had continued to descend at 900 feet per minute, it would have landed in just 40 seconds.
According to the report, the the crew had chose “an automated system to control the descent of their aircraft” but the “co-pilot was on an inaccurate approach”, allowing pilots “to follow a predetermined route to a minimum altitude”.
The report highlighted the dangers of such a “Pilots are not allowed to descend below this minimum altitude unless they can see the runway.”
The “co-pilot did not know” because at that time he had accumulated only “400 hours of experience”, while “the captain did not know”.
The conclusion was that the pilot and co-pilot’s preparation for landing was “insufficiently precise and complete”.
“This led to confusion on the part of the captain about the horizontal path that was actually taken by the aircraft,” said the report.
“This state of confusion led him to call for the premature descent of the plane, below the minimum security altitude. “
The investigation also revealed that the standard instrument landing system was out of service at the airport.
The captain was also responsible for not using the more precise satellite navigation equipment during the approach.
Following the incident, Ryanair changed its operating procedures and instructed its pilots not to use “unspecified” approaches on the autopilot.