Pilot shut down working engine before Taiwan crash, probe says

Pilot shut down working engine before Taiwan crash, probe says
By Yu-Tzu Chiu
2 July 2015

Taipei (dpa) - The pilot flying a passenger plane that crashed into a river in Taipei this year shut down a working engine just before the crash, according to a report released Thursday by Taiwan's aviation authorities.

TransAsia flight GE235 crashed into the Keelung River two-and-a-half minutes after taking off from Songshan Airport on February 4, killing 43 people.

Just 37 seconds after take-off there was a flame-out warning from one of the engines, named as engine number 2 in the transcripts released by the Taiwan Aviation Safety Council. The pilots then turned down the power on engine number 1, until it was in an idle state.

A stall warning then sounded in the cockpit and both engines lost power. "Wow pulled back wrong side throttle," the transcript showed the flying pilot as saying, eight seconds before the aircraft clipped a bridge and crashed into the river.

Aviation Safety Council chief Thomas Wang said that 4 seconds after the plance began its takeoff roll, the monitoring pilot found something wrong with the Automatic Take-off Power Configuration system, but the flying pilot decided to continue takeoff. In such a situation, the take-off of the ATR 72-600 aircraft should have been aborted, Wang said.

The flying pilot had failed a flight simulator test dealing with engine failure after take-off in May 2014, but he later passed a make-up examination, Wang said. The council declined to identify which person was the flying pilot.

Initial investigations after the crash in February had shown that the two engines of the passenger plane lost power in the air, without providing details. "We still don't know why the flying pilot shut down the working engine," Wang said. The council said it would release a final report in April 2016.

According to TransAsia, there were two pilots flying and another observing in the cockpit. TransAsia said Thursday that Liao Chien-tsung was flying the plane, the Apple Daily reported. "Our priority is to make more efforts to ensure aviation safety," TransAsia chief executive Peter Chen told a news conference that was televised nationwide Thursday.

So far, settlements have been reached with seven of the 28 Chinese victims, Chen said. The plane that crashed in Taipei was the same type as TransAsia Airways flight GE222, which crashed in Penghu in July 2014, killing 48 of the 59 people on board.

Source: dpa