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CAA releases Airblue crash report

April 25, 2012


Mourners pay tribute near the Airblue Flight 202 crash site at Margalla Hills point in Islamabad on August 1, 2010
Mourners pay tribute near the Airblue Flight 202 crash site at Margalla Hills point in Islamabad on August 1, 2010. -File Photo

KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released the investigation report of the crash of an Airblue plane in the Margalla hills on July 28, 2010, DawnNews reported on Wednesday.

The Airblue Flight 202, which had taken off from Karachi 10 minutes to eight in the morning, crashed into Islamabad’s Margalla hills, killing all 152 people on board.

The data recorded in the black box revealed the conversation of the plane’s Captain with the First Officer and with the control tower.

According to the CAA’s report, the Captain, Pervez Iqbal Chaudhry, ignored the air traffic controller's suggestions several times and told the First Officer (FO) in the cockpit: “let him say whatever he wants to say.”

The report further stated that the plane’s captain was lecturing the FO during the flight and that his tone was condescending and inappropriate.

The FO remained silent and did not challenge the captain.

Following is an extract from the conversation between the captain and the FO made available in the CAA’s report.

8.28 At time 0438:01, although Captain said that he was going for NAV, yet the aircraft kept on flying on HDG mode. FO reminded “Okay Sir, but are you visual?” The Captain said “Visual Hein! OK”.

8.30 At 0439:32 as the aircraft was more than 3.5 NM from the runway centerline; abeam the threshold of RWY-12 with a heading of 352°, the crew commanded a left turn to 300° through the autopilot.

8.33 At 0439:58, the aircraft was five NM to the north of the aerodrome and the first EGPWS predictive “TERRAIN AHEAD” caution was recorded on the CVR. FO told the captain “this Sir higher ground has reached, Sir there is a terrain ahead, sir turn left”.

8.34 By now the Captain had become very jittery in his verbal communication and displayed frustration, confusion and anxiety resulting in further deterioration in his behaviour.

8.35 At 0440:10, tower controller asked the crew if they were visual with the airfield. The crew did not respond to the question, whereas, FO asked the Captain (on cockpit Mic) “Kia batauon Sir ?” (What should I tell him Sir?)

8.36 Immediately at 0440:16 on the insistence of Radar Controller, the Tower Controller asked the crew if they were visual with the ground. Captain and the FO responded to the controller “Airblue 202 visual with the ground”. FO again asked Captain “Sir terrain ahead is coming”. The Captain replied “Han ji, we are turning left” (Yes, we are turning left). Whereas aircraft was not turning, only the HDG bug was being rotated towards left. At the same time, two EGPWS predictive “TERRAIN AHEAD” cautions were recorded on the CVR.

The report concluded that: “Air blue crash has been finalised as a case of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT), in which aircrew failed to display superior judgment and professional skills in a self-created unsafe environment. In their pursuit to land in inclement weather, they committed serious violations of procedures and breaches of flying discipline, which put the aircraft in an unsafe condition over dangerous terrain at low altitude.”

The complete report can be viewed here.