10 April 2022
The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has identified the cause of the “technical issue” which forced a Malaysia Airlines flight to Tawau to return to KLIA last Sunday after reportedly “diving” at one point.
Based on initial analysis of the flight data recorder (FDR), CAAM CEO Chester Voo said it was determined that a technical issue occurred during the flight due to a malfunction in the pitot-static system, a set of pressure-sensitive instruments used to determine air speed and altitude.
In a statement, Voo said that the affected Boeing 737-800 had been grounded until further notice and that Boeing was currently carrying out technical analysis.
Apart from instructing Malaysia Airlines to hold reviews with CAAM on reliability reports which focus on similar issues for its Boeing 737-800 fleet, CAAM also wanted the airline to complete a pitot static inspection on all of its B737-800 series aircraft.
Voo explained that last Sunday’s malfunction on MH2664 produced a false speed indication which resulted in the aircraft pitching up and deactivating the autopilot.
“In response to this, the pilot’s immediate and correct reaction was to regain positive control of the aircraft,” said Voo.
“This is crucial to ensure that the aircraft remains under pilot control, based on remaining accurate indications by using remaining instruments.
“During this manoeuvre, safety data showed an abrupt input from the pilot during attempts to regain control.
“However, these manoeuvres resulted in pitch and altitude changes that correspond with the pilot’s report and passengers’ experience on board.”
He added that these corrective manoeuvres were compounded by bad weather which created passenger discomfort in the cabin.
Voo also said the initial actions taken by the flight crew, and the execution of the abnormal recovery checklist as per standard operating procedures, were sufficient based on CAAM’s investigations of the initial reports and the FDR.
He said that Malaysia Airlines’ Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) programme will be improved to emphasise initial reaction and time taken to respond to issues, adding that CAAM would make this mandatory for all commercial aircraft operators.
Earlier this week, Malaysia Airlines confirmed that Flight MH2664 from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau on April 3 returned to KLIA due to “technical issues”, with passengers reporting that the plane had suddenly “dived” before returning to the airport.
A Bernama report said a passenger “floated” out of her seat when the incident happened because her seat belt was unfastened as the sign was turned off at that time.
Three passengers have lodged police reports asking for a detailed probe into the incident.
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