Qatar Airways says it has opened an internal investigation after reports emerged of a near-catastrophic incident in which a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was accidentally launched into a steep dive shortly after takeoff last month.
The pilots of the nearly nine-year-old aircraft managed to recover the situation with just seconds to spare, according to information obtained by the Aviation Herald, but worryingly, sources claim the incident wasn’t initially reported to regulators.
At one point, the aircraft reached a descent speed of 3,000 feet per minute and according to data supplied by Flight Radar 24, the aircraft got within 800 feet above the Persian Gulf before the aircraft was brought back to safety.
As many as 252 passengers could have been onboard the aircraft.
Qatar Airways flight QR161 departed Doha Hamad International Airport bound for Copenhagen at around 2:00 am on January 10 and started its initial climb out over the sea, reaching about 1,800 feet.
At this point, however, the aircraft suddenly started a “stereo descent” and lost around 1,000 feet in just 24 seconds.
The First Officer is believed to have been flying the aircraft manually at the time without the use of flight director indications and lost ‘situational awareness’, causing the aircraft to enter a dive that exceeded the flap speed limits.
The Captain took control of the aircraft as the aircraft got within 800 feet of the sea, and the flight carried on to Copenhagen as if nothing had happened. Sources cited by the Aviation Herald claim the incident was not initially reported to aviation safety authorities.
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways said the carrier was aware of an “event” relating to flight QR161 and had passed relevant information to its national regulator. An internal investigation has also been opened.
In an emailed statement, the airline told us: “Qatar Airways is aware of an event relating to flight QR161 operating Doha to Copenhagen on 10 January 2023.”
It was immediately reported to authorities, and an internal investigation is being carried out. The airline follows the most stringent standards of safety, training and reporting and is working to address any findings in line with industry norms.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.