WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday cited United Airlines (UAL.O) crew failure in a December 2022 flight that sharply lost altitude before recovering shortly after departing Kahului, Hawaii.
The Boeing 777 (BA.N) jet lost altitude about one minute after departure in heavy rain, descending from 2,100 feet to about 748 feet above the water before the crew recovered from the descent. The NTSB cited “the flight crew’s failure to manage the airplane’s vertical flight path, airspeed, and pitch attitude following a miscommunication about the captain’s desired flap setting during the initial climb.”
United Flight 1722, which was bound for San Francisco with 271 passengers and 10 crew, safely landed after the captain recovered from the descent.
Both pilots recalled hearing initial warnings from the ground proximity warning system (GPWS), the NTSB said. The first officer recalled announcing “Pull up,” repeatedly as the GPWS alarmed, according to a statement given to investigators.
The first officer recalled as the captain was performing the recovery, the GPWS alerted again as the descent began to reverse. The NTSB said the reversal occurred about 748 feet above the water.
After the plane began climbing again the remainder of the flight was uneventful, the NTSB said.
United said “there’s nothing more important than the safety of our crew and customers, which is why we’re drawing on the lessons learned from this flight to inform the training of all United pilots.”
United noted its “pilots voluntarily reported this event and United fully cooperated with the independent investigation so that insights could be used to enhance the safety of the entire industry.”
The NTSB said United issued an “awareness campaign about flight path management at their training center.” Boeing did not comment.
Because the NTSB did not learn of the incident for two months, there were no records from the cockpit voice or flight data recorder from the flight.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis
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