Only one TransAsia pilot fails latest safety test after crash

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2015 12:08 AM

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Only one of 53 pilots at TransAsia Airways Corp failed a second-round proficiency test held in the wake of a crash last month which killed 43 people, Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said on Tuesday.

A first round of testing saw 10 pilots out of 49 fail an oral test to evaluate a pilot's ability to handle an aircraft during engine failure and another 19 did not attend the test, leading to the suspension of all 29.

The oral technical proficiency test, immediately after the crash of the turboprop ATR 72 aircraft in Taipei, resulted in unacceptably poor results, TransAsia said at the time.

All pilots passed a retest in mid-March after undergoing airline-mandated retraining.

A second round proficiency test was completed on Monday.

The CAA said the one pilot who failed the latest test would be removed from active duty and his training re-evaluated.

Authorities ordered the tests after TransAsia's second deadly air disaster in just over six months.

TransAsia Flight GE235 lurched between buildings, clipped an overpass with one of its wings and crashed upside down into a shallow river shortly after taking off from a downtown Taipei airport in early February.

It was the fifth crash involving the airline since 1995 and raised questions about safety standards at Taiwan's third largest carrier.

Initial data indicated that the plane lost power in one engine after take-off from Taipei's Songshan airport. The power was then cut in the other engine.

The pilot, 42-year-old Liao Chien-tsung, had been praised by Taipei's mayor for steering the plane between apartment blocks and commercial buildings before ditching the stalled aircraft in the Keelung River.

(Reporting by Michael Gold; Editing by Michael Perry)