Plane in hailstorm

AUA commander was probably not in the cockpit

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14.06.2024 22:58

Last Sunday, an AUA plane coming from Mallorca flew through a thunderstorm front. The plane was able to land in Vienna flying blind, but was badly damaged by hail. It is now known that the commander was probably not in the cockpit immediately before the accident.

According to research by aviation journalist Patrick Huber, the pilot could have been in the toilet at that very moment. A young female first officer, who only had around 100 hours of experience on the Airbus A320, may have been sitting in the next seat. She may also not have been as experienced in interpreting weather radar images, wrote Huber in an article in the aviation magazine "Austrian Wings".

You can see the article on Platform X here.

The big question now is whether the crew recognized the severity of the storm. AUA confirmed the incident on Sunday evening and announced that the thunderstorm cell had not been visible on the weather radar. "According to the current status, the two front cockpit windows of the aircraft, the nose of the aircraft (radome) and some of the panels were damaged by the hail. The aircraft was able to land safely at Vienna-Schwechat Airport. All passengers on the flight were uninjured."

Here you can see photos of the accident on X.

Weather situations not always clear
The AUA aircraft took off from Palma (Mallorca) at around 3.30 p.m. on Sunday and experienced minor turbulence during the flight. On landing, according to an Austrian passenger, the pilot said that the plane's windshield had broken.

In fact, some weather situations are not clearly recognizable on the radar in the cockpit, said flight instructor Gerhard Gruber recently on ORF. The Federal Safety Investigation Board (SUB) is now investigating whether this was the case in this instance and whether a different flight path would have been chosen if the commander had been present in the cockpit.

Pilots released from duty
According to a report, the pilot and the female pilot have now been released from duty. They may have to undergo additional training.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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