Mobile played role in JetStar go-around

Two pilots who failed to lower the landing gear in time because the captain was distracted by his mobile phone now star in their employer’s training manual as a cautionary case study.
An Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation has found that the pilots of a JetStar A321 aircraft had to abort landing at just 150 metres above the ground on approach to Singapore’s Changi International Airport on May 27, 2010.
The report states that Jetstar flight JQ57 was less than 2,500 feet above the tarmac when the captain’s mobile phone messaging alert sounded. At that point, the co-pilot tried on two occasions to get the captain’s attention to set a missed approach altitude.
The co-pilot told the safety investigators that, after failing to get a response from the captain, he noticed the captain preoccupied with his mobile phone, so set the missed approach altitude himself. The captain stated that he was in the process of unlocking and turning off his mobile phone at that time and did not hear the call for the missed approach altitude..
It wasn’t until the aircraft was just 220m above the ground when the first officer deployed the landing gear after realising it was not down. When the aircraft dipped below 150m with the landing gear still being deployed the Ground Proximity Warning System alarm sounded and the pilots were forced to abort the landing.
The report detailing the background to the incident said that after the crew finished their flight planning duties in Darwin, the captain received a phone call on board from the airline’s operations group informing of Singapore weather conditions and that he would need to take on more fuel.
“The captain reported that he kept his phone turned on while in the cockpit at Darwin in case operations needed to contact him again. Prior to departure, he unintentionally omitted to turn the phone off and, during the approach, a number of messages were received from a Singapore mobile phone service provider,” stated the report.
Phone records showed the captain did not send or answer any text messages during the approach although noted that messages sent to and received by a phone using another network were not recorded. “By the time the captain was interviewed as part of this investigation he had erased the messages from his phone,” the report said.
In conclusion, the report found that the use of the mobile phone was just one of several distractions that led to the missed landing, and that a request to slow the aircraft earlier than anticipated, a discussion by the crew of the Singapore skyline, and a late detection of an auto pilot-related warning light all contributed.
“The mobile phone messages acted to compound the captain’s distraction from the monitoring and support roles during the latter stages of the approach. That would likely explain the captain’s inaction when asked by the First Officer to set the missed approach altitude and the captain’s report that he did not hear his requests for that support,” it concluded.
Despite the near miss, the investigators made no findings against Jetstar or its procedures. The airline said it had made the flight a case study in its training manual and had added an item to pilots takeoff checklist reminding them to turn off their mobile phones.