Ryanair is always trying wacky schemes to save money (including skimping on fuel, charging crazy fees, and trying to put pornography on planes), but now it seems that the notoriously stingy airline is also trying to save time, at the expense of safety.
The Daily Mail reports that a Ryanair plane with 141 passengers on board was flying from Manchester to Bavaria when it came within "seconds and feet of disaster." The pilots were reportedly trying to make up for lost time (due to a delay of about 30 minutes in Manchester), and attempted to descend the plane too quickly.
The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation looked in to the incident, and found that at one point, the plane was just 450 feet above the ground, while dropping at an unsafe rate of 500 feet per second. The auto-pilot was deactivated, and numerous automated alarms warned the pilots to "pull up, pull up."
The crew then initiated a "go-around" procedure, which involves pulling the plane up sharply, and reattempting the landing, and the flight landed safely.
The pilots had allegedly requested to change their arriving runway so that they would have a shorter taxi time on the ground, which involved approaching the airport from a different direction than originally planned. The German safety investigation stated that a tower controller at the airport had noticed that the airplane was "significantly below the regular approach height," but it was not clear why, although it was speculated that it was possibly due to incorrect auto-pilot settings.
Ryanair told the Daily Mail that it was disputing some parts of the report.
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