AI Pilots Forget To Retract Landing Gear, Nearly Run Out Of Fuel

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Two Air India pilots have been grounded after the plane they were flying was forced to land hundreds of km short of its planned destination as the fuel situation became critical.

Why didn’t the A320 have enough fuel? Because the pilots forget to retract the landing gear after takeoff from CCU. The plane had to be diverted to NAG, far from the intended destination of BOM.

With the landing gear still down during the flight, the jet could only fly at a reduced altitude and speed, causing the excessive fuel burn. Apparently, the pilots didn’t notice. They only realized the wheels were still down when diverting to Nagpur, an airline source told Times of India.

"When preparing to land, they decided to lower the landing gear. At this point they realized that the wheels had been out all the while from Kolkata."

"The pilots were de-rostered after the incident was reported," Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar later confirmed. (That means suspended in corporate-speak.)

A senior AI pilot told the Times of India he was amazed how the pilots failed to notice their error.

"This lapse shows extremely poor situational awareness and complete breakdown of crew resource management between both pilots on that flight. The post-take off check list includes checking if the landing gear has been retracted," the pilot said.

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