Cockpit Video: Worst Boeing 737 Landing Ever?!

Cockpit Video: Worst Boeing 737 Landing Ever?!

28

What on earth is going on here?!

A Boeing 737’s shocking approach into Bhutan

As noted by The Aviation Herald, cockpit video footage has emerged of a July 12, 2021, flight from Kolkata, India (CCU), to Paro, Bhutan (PBH). The flight was operated by Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines, with a Boeing 737-300 that had the registration code PK-YGW. The 23-year-old plane was in a cargo configuration, and allegedly carrying vaccines to Bhutan.

On approach to runway 33 in Paro, all kinds of alarms went off in the cockpit, ranging from the “bank angle” alarm to the “sink rate” alarm. Nonetheless the crew continued the approach and touched down. And well, here’s a video where you can see how that landing went:

Here’s a longer version of the landing video from the cockpit:

Amazingly enough the plane didn’t seem to sustain damage (that’s a real testament to how sturdy planes are), or at least it only spent 16 hours on the ground in Paro, before continuing to Bangkok. That’s also why I question in the title whether this might be the “worst” Boeing 737 landing ever — obviously some 737s have crashed, but I wouldn’t call that a landing.

This plane has been jetting around Asia ever since. For context, Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines is an Indonesia-based cargo airline that operates a fleet of just under 10 planes.

What is going on here?

My gosh, when I first saw this video I thought someone had gotten footage of me playing Microsoft Flight Simulator while really drunk. But nope, this is real.

In fairness, Paro is known to be one of the most challenging airports in the world to land at, and go arounds are complicated as well. I was under the impression that pilots landing here got special training (something tells me that wasn’t the case here?). But no matter how hard the airport is to operate to, this approach is on a different level.

A few observations, thoughts, and questions:

  • The pilot in the right seat has four stripes, meaning he’s a captain, even though he’s in the first officer’s seat
  • Please tell me I’m seeing this wrong, but is the captain in the right seat actually just filming the landing the entire way down rather than, you know, being focused on landing the plane?
  • There’s clearly a pilot in the jumpseat filming this, so was one of the pilots on some sort of a check ride (which would make sense with a captain in the right seat), or what exactly was going on here?
  • I love the mixed signals from the pilot doing most of the talking; first he says “be careful” and “don’t worry,” and then says “good, good, good” and “come a little more”
  • This looks like a very not-stable approach, yet the pilots proceed to land

I know pilots often say “any landing you can walk away from is a good one,” but I feel like this isn’t what they were referring to?

Bottom line

Cockpit video footage has been made public of a cargo Boeing 737’s landing in Paro, Bhutan, a few weeks ago. Admittedly as passengers we don’t always know what’s going on in the cockpit, but I would have to imagine (hope?) that this level of recklessness isn’t a common occurrence.

Any pilots want to chime in on this video?

(Featured image courtesy of Paul Spijkers)

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  1. Paul

    There are 3 ways of obtaining a license to land at Paro. The 3rd way is by flying next to a hired guide pilot (navigator) from the authorized Clearing Agent who talks you through the landing. In this case both pilots are captains probably captains, because only captains are allowed to land at Paro. So we may suppose the pilot was landing for the first time at Paro.
    The warning bells are normal, normally...

    There are 3 ways of obtaining a license to land at Paro. The 3rd way is by flying next to a hired guide pilot (navigator) from the authorized Clearing Agent who talks you through the landing. In this case both pilots are captains probably captains, because only captains are allowed to land at Paro. So we may suppose the pilot was landing for the first time at Paro.
    The warning bells are normal, normally you should disable them before (look at other video's you will see orange messages telling some warning systems are shut down.
    The biggest fault is that the pilot reacted to late to turn right when the instructor told him to do so, probably because he would be close to the mountain at the right. That causes him to do hard turn and to banking message and also that he is not centered to the runway afterwards. Because a human can only concentrated on one specific thing (the reason for stabilized approaches), here centering the 737-300 he forgot to flare which causes the ROUGH landing.
    The worst thing in the video is the instructor filming with a handheld phone, while he should be supervising his client (student) during the approach and take control when tings go bad.
    The mist approach on Paro has to take place very early at Paro (climbing to 16000ft) and for that it was already to late.

  2. stogieguy7

    The conversation leads me to believe that this was used as some sort of training exercise.

  3. Jim

    A bunch of hootin' & hollerin' alarms is normal for landing at Paro - they put it in a valley (Bhutan doesn't have a lot of flat space, after all) and you have to weave through mountains to get there, well under the tolerances for the alarms to go off.

  4. Azamaraal

    The video is available if you google Tri-Mg 737 video

    1. Eskimo

      LOL, you really need to spoon feed people these days. Yet no one seems to fact check anything.

      It's also working on the source of this post. EZ

  5. Space Doggy

    The video is still available at the Aviation Herald site linked to at the start of the article.

    Looks like an exciting landing. ;)

  6. Dave

    Don’t fly on any Indonesian airlines if safety is of any concern to you. This is an absolute disgrace and they are lucky to be alive.

    1. Eskimo

      The 737MAX cover up committee decided that this falls under the blacklisted keywords or people wont fly.

      The vaccine cover up committee decided that this is humanitarian flight delivering vaccines and should let errors disappear.

      The Indian cover up committee decided that this flight is carrying vaccines out of India when it needed the most and should be deleted.

      The Indonesian cover up committee decided that this flight is an Indonesian operator and this isn't...

      The 737MAX cover up committee decided that this falls under the blacklisted keywords or people wont fly.

      The vaccine cover up committee decided that this is humanitarian flight delivering vaccines and should let errors disappear.

      The Indian cover up committee decided that this flight is carrying vaccines out of India when it needed the most and should be deleted.

      The Indonesian cover up committee decided that this flight is an Indonesian operator and this isn't doing the country any good.

      The Joe Biden campaign cover up committee had evidence of rigging the election flown to destroy in Bhutan.

      The Donald Trump campaign cover up committee thought the evidence was against his campaign and had the plane sabotaged.

    2. Azamaraal

      You can google TRi-Mg 737 Video

  7. Peter

    These guys are as dodgy as they come. I flew in Indonesia for several years and have witnessed their unprofessionalism countless times, I've seen them depart straight in to severe weather, continue approaches to land through ceilings that are below all approach minima, I've even seen them line up on the incorrect runway facing towards terrain at an airport that is usually one way in, one way out, only realising their mistake when prompted by...

    These guys are as dodgy as they come. I flew in Indonesia for several years and have witnessed their unprofessionalism countless times, I've seen them depart straight in to severe weather, continue approaches to land through ceilings that are below all approach minima, I've even seen them line up on the incorrect runway facing towards terrain at an airport that is usually one way in, one way out, only realising their mistake when prompted by ATC, and to make it even better it was on a CAVOK day. I am not at all surprised by this video to be honest, just surprised that the aircraft flew out of there.

  8. S

    Not stable at all. Any pilot in the US, UK, or really any country with a serious safety culture is getting fired for this I'd think.

  9. Richard Paris

    That looks like every landing I’ve ever done on flight sim.

  10. loungeabuser

    Didn't he say "sorry" at the end?

  11. dalo

    That's better than landing with my uncle in his '47 Stinson. Two big bounces and a final slam before staying on the ground. I bit my tongue but was trying not to laugh.

  12. Ed

    That's awful. I thought all flights to Paro required someone in the cockpit specially certified to land at this airport.

  13. beyounged

    woah next generation Flight Simulator X is having some really good graphics. Can't wait to do Mach 2.6 in my hot air balloon in 4K!

  14. Sticky

    An approach to a somewhere like Bhutan is going to generate various GPWS warnings due to the “extreme” nature of the local terrain. It will require much more aggressive handling than a 7 mile straight-in to 9L at Heathrow.

    That said, this approach looks like an absolute shitshow. Their failure to react suggests a lot of normalisation of deviation has gone on and for a long time too - they’ve only been “caught out” because someone decided to share the video of it….

  15. Another Steve

    Not a stable approach, seems like that would have been a good time for a go around (unless fuel or terrain was an immediate risk)

  16. 305

    Yikes. I've flown the Paro landing challenge in MSFS at least 90-100 times in the past year. Definitely one of the more difficult ones in the game, and you're not even flying the initial approach sequence in the challenge.

  17. Erica T

    I will never forget my go-around landing in Paro. I was already excited about the landing due to the reputation of the difficulty. We went to land and there was already a plane on the runway. It was the steepest climb I've experienced. At least we got to see more of the scenery?

  18. Steve

    Looks to me like the crew was fighting a cross-wind condition. All aircraft are rated for the maximum cross-wind speed to safely land. It's possible that these "cowboys" may have exceeded the cross-wind max.

  19. hawaiianborn

    The worst 737 landing is the recent 737 landing into the ocean of the cargo plane off HNL.

    1. pstm91

      Except that wouldn't be a "landing," would it?

    2. Nate

      I believe the ground observer video featured here is not the Tri-MG landing in question. In fact, it was a 737-200 landing at Wamena airport, Papua (coming in from the south side as opposed to the usual north side approach) some time ago. Have a look here: https://youtu.be/Kto-zIcmtos

      I seem to recall that there is a news footage about the vaccine delivery flight by Al-Jazeera showing a cargo aircraft landing at Paro, many people believe...

      I believe the ground observer video featured here is not the Tri-MG landing in question. In fact, it was a 737-200 landing at Wamena airport, Papua (coming in from the south side as opposed to the usual north side approach) some time ago. Have a look here: https://youtu.be/Kto-zIcmtos

      I seem to recall that there is a news footage about the vaccine delivery flight by Al-Jazeera showing a cargo aircraft landing at Paro, many people believe that it is the video of the Tri-MG landing. I don't have the link but maybe you can try find one in Internet.

    3. Duster

      I am a pilot and have flown this approach in a simulator for the “special training”.

      The person in the jump seat talking to the captain telling him to go left, right, good, etc is actually required to fly the approach. He joins the flight crew before the flight and tells the pilot flying what to do and where to go during the approach. There is no other guidance or publication for this approach....

      I am a pilot and have flown this approach in a simulator for the “special training”.

      The person in the jump seat talking to the captain telling him to go left, right, good, etc is actually required to fly the approach. He joins the flight crew before the flight and tells the pilot flying what to do and where to go during the approach. There is no other guidance or publication for this approach. This is one reason why it is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. There is no “stable approach” into this airport. That being said the landing could have possibly been better.

      Procedure for the approach is that you configure for landing before you start the approach (leaving very little for the right seat pilot to do - except monitor). The right seat pilot should probably have been calling out airspeeds and actually monitoring to help the pilot flying, instead of capturing the experience with his phone.

      This is a difficult and fun approach to fly. It is easy to watch and criticize but the pilot flying actually did a pretty good job. He could have cleaned a few things up and improved the landing but nobody is perfect.

    4. red_robbo

      The fact that the crew survived an engine-out landing on water would suggest otherwise....

Featured Comments Load all 28 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Paul

There are 3 ways of obtaining a license to land at Paro. The 3rd way is by flying next to a hired guide pilot (navigator) from the authorized Clearing Agent who talks you through the landing. In this case both pilots are captains probably captains, because only captains are allowed to land at Paro. So we may suppose the pilot was landing for the first time at Paro. The warning bells are normal, normally you should disable them before (look at other video's you will see orange messages telling some warning systems are shut down. The biggest fault is that the pilot reacted to late to turn right when the instructor told him to do so, probably because he would be close to the mountain at the right. That causes him to do hard turn and to banking message and also that he is not centered to the runway afterwards. Because a human can only concentrated on one specific thing (the reason for stabilized approaches), here centering the 737-300 he forgot to flare which causes the ROUGH landing. The worst thing in the video is the instructor filming with a handheld phone, while he should be supervising his client (student) during the approach and take control when tings go bad. The mist approach on Paro has to take place very early at Paro (climbing to 16000ft) and for that it was already to late.

Duster

I am a pilot and have flown this approach in a simulator for the “special training”. The person in the jump seat talking to the captain telling him to go left, right, good, etc is actually required to fly the approach. He joins the flight crew before the flight and tells the pilot flying what to do and where to go during the approach. There is no other guidance or publication for this approach. This is one reason why it is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. There is no “stable approach” into this airport. That being said the landing could have possibly been better. Procedure for the approach is that you configure for landing before you start the approach (leaving very little for the right seat pilot to do - except monitor). The right seat pilot should probably have been calling out airspeeds and actually monitoring to help the pilot flying, instead of capturing the experience with his phone. This is a difficult and fun approach to fly. It is easy to watch and criticize but the pilot flying actually did a pretty good job. He could have cleaned a few things up and improved the landing but nobody is perfect.

@mkcol

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