TransAsia Grounds ATR Pilots After Failing Engine-Out Procedures

Dayton Drugovich/Staff Reporter

As time passes, more shocking details are being revealed about TransAsia Airways flight 235. This flight crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan shortly after departure earlier this month, leaving 43 people dead. This is also the second deadly crash by the airline in just eight months. Flight 222, also an ATR, crashed in July 2014, killing 48 people out of the 58 on board.

In a press conference two days after the accident, the investigating team released some data that they pulled from the black boxes. The crew were cleared to take off at 10:51 a.m. At 10:52 a.m., the right engine failure alert master warning sounds for 3 seconds. At 10:53 a.m. in the tape, the crew cuts the power to the left engine, the stall warning begins to sound, and the crew declares an emergency saying “mayday mayday engine flame-out”. At. 10:54 a.m., the crew calls for restarting the left engine, and they do get it started again a tenth of a second before the recording ends 10:54:36 a.m.With this release of information, it was also revealed that the left engine did not appear to have any mechanical problems with it and was shut off manually by the crew. The investigating team also warned that it is too early to consider human error the main cause of the crash.

In the wake of this accident and relevance that maybe some of the pilots were lacking procedural knowledge the Civil Aeronautics Administration subjected all 49 TransAsia Airways ATR pilots to a supplementary proficiency test. The test was to consist of an oral portion and a simulator portion much similar to a check ride and were given between Feb. 7 and 10. Ten pilots failed the “engine out” part of the oral test and a further 19 pilots failed to show up for the oral portion. As a result, these 29 pilots, which is half of TransAsia ATR pilot group, were suspended immediately and were given one month to study and get their knowledge back up to par. TransAsia also vowed that if these 29 pilots were to fail again, they would be fired on the spot.