ATSB issues report on Qantas 767 ‘too low gear’ incident

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The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has issued a safety report with regard to a Qantas Boeing 767-300 aircraft that was forced to initiate a go-around when the crew realised that the landing gear was not extended.

The incident occurred at 07:35 local time on 26 October 2009 as the aircraft, registration VH-OGP, approached Sydney airport's runway 16R after departing Melbourne at 06:13, said the ATSB.

The incorrect configuration stemmed from "several interruptions and distractions during the approach" that "resulted in a breakdown in the pilots' situational awareness."

Distractions involved the transition from an instrument landing approach to a visual procedures approach, noise abatement approach procedures, and two other aircraft: one landing on runway 16R and, following this, another cleared to depart on the same runway.

Sydney tower cleared the departing aircraft for immediate takeoff at 07:34. As the Qantas 767 passed 580ft (176.8m), it received clearance to land, and the crew disconnected the autopilot. At 500ft, both pilots became aware that the aircraft was incorrectly configured, which was immediately confirmed by an aural "too low gear" warning from the aircraft's enhanced ground proximity warning system.

The crew immediately initiated a go-around and the aircraft landed without further incident. The report added that the captain had 16,500h of total flying experience with 594h on the 767. The first officer had 8,882h total flying experience with 2,082h on the 767.

Following the incident, both pilots "underwent remedial training", said the ATSB. The report added that the aircraft's systems, ground based navigation aids, and radio traffic played no role in the incident.

As a result of the incident, in November 2010, Qantas told the ATSB that it had introduced "soft and hard triggers" to better monitor the selection of the landing gear during an approach.