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United Airlines plane departing Maui plunged to within 800 feet of the Ocean, flight data shows

A United Airlines flight took a frightful dive, plummeting to merely 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean shortly after taking off from Maui late last year, flight data shows. The drop unfolded just 71 seconds after United Airlines Flight UA 1722 took off from Kahului Airport in Maui bound for San Francisco on Dec. 18, 2022 according to data from Flight Radar, a flight tracking website. A safety report was filed and the pilots are receiving additional training. ( More...

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Mark Nunn 23
Aircraft was a 777-200, since it’s not mentioned in article
mimana 3
Thank you. MSNBC assumed the detail was not relevant.
Steven Palmer 14
Just a week or so after a B788 of Qatar airways had a similar experience on departure from DOHA for CPH.
He also dropped within 800ft of the warm waters of the Persian Gulf before recovery to normal climb parameters.
Warren Craycroft 12
Windshear / microburst / downdraft? Reminds me of an "elevator ride" that I took years ago along with a few dozen other passengers and crew in a PSA 737 on final approach to Oakland in stormy weather. We fell weightless for several hundred feet. The flight attendants were yelping, which is usually not a good sign. Anything not tied down was floating in front of us for about 3 seconds. Then we recovered and flew almost level with engines screaming for about another mile to touchdown. Got the left gear down on the runway but the right wing kept floating for about a thousand runway feet. Every spoiler and speed brake was deployed, and I think engines were reversed BEFORE the stubborn right wing finally settled softly to the runway. I would have kissed the flight crew on the way out but I think they were having skivvy issues.
Scumhook 2
hahaha skivvy issues :D :D :D
chugheset 26
25K hours between the two pilots! What was the additional training, "Uh guys, try not to dive so close the ocean next time. OK we're done here."
Phil Nolden 9
Given the wx, they could have hit a microburst out over the water just after takeoff. Reminds me of Delta flight 191 at DFW on August of 1985. I'd just passed directly over DFW about 20 minutes earlier and there wasn't a cloud in the sky around the airport. Not sure if their wx radar (or the airport radar) displayed anything before takeoff or not, but I'll bet they were doing all they could and praying hard :)
mbrews 0
I believe the 25000 combined flight hours was a claim from airline's public response, and may be a red herring.

I have not found any public report of HOURS ON TYPE for this 777 crew.

For all we know, many of the claimed flying hours were on Regional jet or narrowbody.
John Haller 4
There's a FAA rule which prohibits an under 100 hour captain on-type from being paired with a under 100 hour on-type first officer. At least one of those flights for someone new will be with a check pilot. Unless the captain transitioned from being a 787 FO or captain, they would have had a largish number of hours as a FO on a 777, as one can't get through the seniority ranks to captain of a widebody without waiting in line for some time as a widebody FO.
The fun part: est. 2.7g downforce on recovery from descent.
David Rice 2
Just .7 G more than a 60 degree bank (in any airplane). Not really that disruptive, I suppose ;-)
Greg Douglas 1
Not disruptive to anyone who has gone through spin or stall recovery. But to Grandma Gladys and her pet chihuahua in 1st class, I bet she said her lord's name way more times than usual. :)
Jaime Terrassa 6
I think there is more to it that thy are not saying.
jbermo 15
One rumor has it that the nonflying pilot had accidentally skipped a gate when retracting the flaps.
Myron Brokaw 5
If that's the case, the FDR should show it.
Ron Slater 2
That was my first thought
hwh888 4
Even with bad weather at TO it doesn't sound weather related else why the additional training? Sounds like a flaps up to soon or as one stated skipped a gate when retracting. That makes the most sense. Loss of lift.
William Ableman 3
I believe they put it on Autopilot shortly after takeoff, which I think caused the problem. I believe the pilot should fly hands-on until they get to cruise altitude. It comes back to the number one job that they have, and that is to...FLY THE AIRPLANE.
uapilot 3
Think about this possibility. TCAS RA! Descend, Descend NOW! Food for thought! Extra training because they continued to SFO when perhaps they shouldn’t have! Just saying!
sparkie624 5
I would love to to read the FDR and Hear the CVR on that one!- This article isn't exactly news anymore by today's standards, but it is a good read!
mary susan watkins 4
i saw an interview with a couple of passengers on the flight,and they said they thought it was "just a litle turbulence"..yikes..they did not state what was said by the captain or the crew,btu they did notice they were much closer to the water than they thought they should be!..
Matha Goram 2
When will we know what exactly happened?
thodgdon66 2
The CVR wouldn’t be helpful. It uses a loop to retain only the last XX minutes. I don’t know what the timeframe is, others have indicated that it’s a 2 hour loop, retaining only the last two hours of the flight and since they continued the flight, the interesting portion would have been overwritten.
uapilot 2
Second thought is a serious downdraft as there were thunderstorms in the area. Still they perhaps should not have continued to SFO!
Peter Fuller 2
Presumably after this incident the flight crew assessed the health of the airplane, before taking the decision to continue the flight to SFO? Perhaps whether that decision was wise or not was addressed in the reported additional training.
Yassine Cherfouni 2
Decision making, the take offs and landings are every pilot’s priority.there are meant to keep the crew and passengers safe.
“ you never know what you will experience or encounter while flying an airplane “
A 777-200 will not suddenly drop from the sky . Things happen, but the fact is the aircraft landed safely at SFO.
One cannot totally condemn , discourage or discredit the pilots. “ we all learn from our mistakes” perhaps it’s a good lesson to learn and to avoid an incident of what happened in the near future.
Paul Hughes 1
Engines need to run to get them ready to take off or you will have no thrust.
James Hopkins 1
Wind shear???
Charles Strong 1
I heard both pilots were suspended pending more flight traiining
Huck Finn 1
Ron Streetenberger 1
The altitude, airspeed, and flight director indicators must have all gone unnoticed by either pilot(?) for this to have gotten so far. Skipping a flap gate is a rare event. Additional training will not fix this problem. Additional time off might be better.
Bayouflier 1
At 2200 ft, I doubt the incident had anything to do with flaps. My money is on procedural error.
With all the auto systems WHAT IS THE RUSH TO ENGAGE THEM?? Hand fly to 4000" or 6000" then when all is stabilized " Auto pilot A to command" and then what ever is necessary on your type. 17,400 on 747 and more on her types.

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Gloria Johns 1
You haven't heard about Tucker?! You might want to get your info and have your discussion on another site. See ya.

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Stephen Leftly 14
Oh do give it a rest. At 25,000 hours these pilots (a) can't be considered unqualified (b) you have absolutely no evidence of exactly who these pilots are and their qualifications or backgrounds.

Thus you are spreading a racist dog whistle based on ZERO knowledge of the actual facts.

Also consider this : for literally hundreds of years white males were given positions that others were way more capable of simple because they were white males and not female/non-white.
Tim Dyck 3
Your post was good until you went into a bigoted rant at the end.
jim green 0
Looks a bit like the spatial disorientation that can occur taking off on a dark night over water, but this was mid afternoon. There have been numerous accidents like that over the years. I wonder if heavy cloud would have given the same illusion?
Howard Koor 1

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Torsten Hoff 17
Given that a safety report was filed and the pilots received additional training, it would seem the incident did occur.
mbrews 11
AND the NBC News reporter (Marlene Lethang per the story by-line) says that she got confirmation from United Airlines personnel about the incident.
mbrews 3
AND the NBC News reporter (Marlene Lethang per the story by-line) says that she got confirmation from United Airlines personnel about the incident.
btweston 7
Must not have bothered to read the article.
djames225 6
Look at the rate chart between 07:50:11 and 07:51:35
Mike Ziemann 6
I'm wondering the same thing. I too looked at, and fail to see, the descent. Also, a descent and then climb of 1500' in each direction in less than a minute, at rates of over 8000 fpm (roughly 20 degrees down attitude), would have thrown items all over the cabin, likely injured people, and would have had a few hundred passengers saying something to the media the second they walked off the plane at SFO. But I don't recall hearing a thing about this at the time. That doesn't mean nothing happened, or that the crew didn't do something wrong (hence the report). But it also doesn't mean the airplane really actually plunged that low. I'm wondering, and purely speculating, if they didn't like momentarily accidentally change their altimeter setting or something. That could both cause an errant ADS-B reading, and also start to command the aircraft (within normal, less aggressive, flight parameters) to start to try to "correct" to the perceived change in barometric altitude. They would be far from the first pilot to accidentally spin the wrong knob on the autopilot control panel. Not saying that's exactly what happened, but it provides a more plausible explanation as to how a crew error that was momentary and relatively benign could cause some flight trackers to show Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Mike Ziemann 4
To be clear, my response was to a comment by wx1996 that questioned whether the data from FlightRadar was simply in error. For some reason that boggles my mind, that comment got downvoted, and it now looks like I'm agreeing with a comment above it blaming airline hiring policies. Since FlightAware won't let me modify or move my comment, I want it to be very clear that my "I'm wondering the same thing" comment IS NOT in response to the diversity hire comment above.
Ron Wroblewski 1
I fully agree with this. Supposedly the aircraft experienced 2.7gs... We would def have been hearing numerous reports about it once it got to SFO... yet... I fully agree that the crew likely accidently spun the altimeter knob..
Torsten Hoff 3
Your track log is for the flight from the December 19th -- this is the correct flight:

But even that doesn't show a descent to 800 feet.

djames225 2
Actually yours is for the 17th and his is for the 18th. Flightaware is odd like that, possibly using UTC time.
Michael Hawke 1
No but it does show two minutes at level altitude around time it is estimated to happen. The reports say the loss and regain of altitude occurred in about a minute and flightaware data is at one minute intervals.
srobak 1
FA's data sample intervals are much longer than FR.

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horace vickery -7
I hope this is not an example of Woke trainees selection


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