A Ryanair flight almost crashed while on an approach to Memmingen Airport in Germany on September 23rd when the 737 jet descended too quickly due to a pilot error, according to reports by German publication Der Spiegel and the Daily Mail.
The report in Der Spiegel says pilots on Ryanair Flight 3214 were trying to make up for lost time and changed approach settings to facilitate a quicker arrival.
The Daily Mail states:
‘Some five miles out from the airport, the pilots noticed that the plane was descending too quickly, probably, claims Spiegel, as a result of the autopilot being incorrectly set.
At one point, the plane was just 460ft (150m) above the ground while still several miles from the airport, the report said, according to the magazine.
‘They barely succeeded to pull the jet up,’ reported Spiegel. ‘According to the flight recorder, a warning sounded in the cockpit at 16.39 and 42 seconds with the words: “Terrain, terrain. Pull up.”
‘The approach manoeuvre was apparently chaotic. Obviously, the pilots had programmed the autopilot with a wrong altitude.
‘The machine fell at a rate of almost 1,000 metres per minute. The Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation in Braunschweig classified it as a “serious incident”.’
Spiegel claims the pilots confessed to time pressure as the reason for the manoeuvre.
A spokesman for Ryanair said the pilot initiated a ‘go-around’ after pilots experienced ‘high tail winds’.
‘The crew decided to initiate a go-around procedure in-line with Ryanair operating policy.
‘After they had already commenced the go-around, the aircraft warning systems sounded and the crew completed their go-around, landing normally a short time later.
‘This incident was reported to the Irish Aviation Authority on September 24 and is the subject of an ongoing investigation.’