In February I posted about how a TransAsia ATR72 bound from Taipei Songshan Airport, Taiwan, to Kinmen, Taiwan, crashed shortly after takeoff. Unfortunately 43 people, including both of the pilots, died in the crash.
What made this crash especially unique is that we had footage of the exact moment the plane fell out of the sky:
There were a few things that were clear almost immediately based on the footage:
- The plane crashed shortly after takeoff
- The left engine didn’t seem to be running at full power/may have been shut off
- It certainly looked like the plane was stalling, based on the angle at which it was coming in
- The left wing dipped shortly before impact
While this goes back several months, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council has just released their factual data report regarding TransAsia flight 234. So what actually happened?
- About a minute after takeoff, at about 1,300 feet, engine 2 had a failure
- The pilot flying decided to greatly reduce engine 1 power levels, which he further reduced shortly thereafter (he incorrectly thought it was engine 1 which failed)
- The pilots move engine 1 to the fuel shut-off position, which would be the correct position if the engine had failed, though they didn’t seem to realize that was the working engine
- Shortly thereafter the pilot says “both sides lost,” acknowledging that both engines weren’t working
- The crew tried to restart the engine, and just seconds before impact the pilot flying said “wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” acknowledging the mistake
Ouch! As of now we only have the factual report, which is to be followed by an analysis report in April 2016. That being said, this sure seems like it was pilot error, as the pilots got confused during what was a routine engine failure.