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?
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)