Oh, the irony: Forgotten clipboard forces plane to make emergency landing

Emergency landing

New safety measures have been bought in to ensure this clipboard fiasco doesn’t happen again. Source: Shutterstock.com

A PLANE had to make an emergency landing because of a safety error caused by the person in charge of safety.

The incident took place last October, but the report following an investigation led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has just revealed exactly what happened on the day of this major mess-up.

So, what happened?

Last year, a ground crew worker making safety pre-flight checks on a Jetstar aircraft before its departure from Auckland in New Zealand simply forgot he had placed his clipboard beside the engine.

But when the plane revved down the runway, everyone on board was made fully aware of this careless mistake as the clipboard shredded through the engine.

The worker in question admitted to placing the clipboard on the engine cowling covering to protect it from the wind and rain and intended on retrieving it but forgot.

To make matters worse, a second set of eyes noticed the clipboard as an aircraft dispatcher walked around the plane for final checks but he assumed the safety-checker would pop back to get it.

However, the safety-checker assumed the dispatcher would grab it before dispatching the plane, perfectly illustrating the famous saying of, “assuming makes an ass out of you and me”.

While taxiing, other more vigilant members of the ground crew noticed scraps of the checklist paper on the wet ground. As the plane took off, the pilots were notified. It was then discovered that while the engines had churned out the paper, the metal clasp was still whirling around in there.

A short while after take-off, the pilots and ground crew made the decision to return to the airport.

“The presence of foreign object debris poses a significant threat to aircraft safety,” officials said in the report. “It has the potential to cause aircraft damage during critical phases of flight, costing airlines and airports millions of dollars each year,” they added.

The report also noted that since the incident, Jetstar has formally updated its dispatch procedure.