Oops, wrong lever…watch your speed…

The crew of an Airbus A300-600 at London Gatwick found the slats/flaps wouldn’t deploy correctly after start-up, so they recycled them several times, following procedures in the QRH, and talking to their engineering base.

After several recycles, carried out by the copilot (the PNF on this trip to Crete) the ECAM pronounced slats/flaps were correctly set.

Take-off was uneventful. But the crew was mentally prepared to deal with flap alerts.

Just after take-off, when the captain called for gear-up, the copilot inadvertently selected flaps up. 
A couple of stall warnings later, to which the captain responded by reducing the angle of attack, the aircraft had accelerated into a safe climb regime. Meanwhile the captain called again for gear up, noticing, during his puzzled scan, that it was still deployed
Until the captain called the second time for gear up, the copilot had not noticed what he had done. 
We know what he must have felt like when he realised.
He told the skipper what had happened.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch report on this incident quotes a book called Human Factors for Pilots. “…if the decision-maker is preoccupied he may make the correct initial decision, inadvertently exercise the wrong skill, but fail to monitor his own activity and remain completely unaware of the mistake that he has made. This mechanism of error is very common on flight decks, and examples abound of inadvertent control operations such as raising flaps instead of undercarriage immediately after take-off.”
So this was just another example.
The AAIB verdict is this: “The distraction of the slat problem and the preoccupation with the possibility of a slat malfunction on departure had mentally predisposed him to exercise the wrong motor skill.” The Board makes no more of it than that, but felt it was worth publishing the event in its latest Bulletin, pour encourager les autres.  

Monarch, 26 July 2011. Could have been any of us. But at least Monarch pilots know how to handle a stall warning, unlike a few other unhappy crews in the last few years.

2 Responses to Oops, wrong lever…watch your speed…

  1. glen towler 12 January, 2012 at 12:41 am #

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