• STV
  • MySTV

Glasgow-bound passenger plane plunged 500ft in 18 seconds

44 passengers and four crew were on flight when it plummeted shortly after take-off.

44 people were on the Flybe plane.
44 people were on the Flybe plane. PA

A Flybe flight plummeted 500ft in 18 seconds after an incorrect autopilot setting caused it to aim for the ground, an investigation has found.

Forty-four passengers and four crew were on board the flight from Belfast City Airport to Glasgow Airport when the incident occurred shortly after take-off on January 11.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) stated that autopilot was engaged when the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop plane reached an altitude of 1350 feet.

The aircraft continued to climb to 1500ft but it "pitched nose-down and then descended rapidly" because autopilot was mistakenly set with a target altitude of zero feet. Cockpit alarms alerted the captain and first officer to what was happening.

They later reported they had "become visual with the ground". The captain disconnected autopilot and recovered the aircraft, having dropped to 928ft.

The maximum rate of descent of 4,300 feet per minute during the event suggests the aircraft may have hit the ground just a few seconds later if the crew had not intervened. They continued the flight to Glasgow and landed without incident.

The AAIB concluded that the crew's selection of a particular autopilot mode before take off led to the zero altitude target. Autopilot systems are used to automatically control aircraft. Flybe has taken several safety measures in response to the incident, including revisions to simulator training and amendments to pilots' pre-take off checklists.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Flybe maintains a rigorous approach to ensuring the very highest flying standards are maintained.

"As reported by the AAIB, Flybe implemented remedial actions quickly in response to the incident and our training and procedures have been amended to minimise the risk of a reoccurrence.

"Flybe operates over 158,000 flights a year and the safety of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.