ATC recording: #MH192 incident – ground vehicle clears runway seconds before emergency landing

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800(WL), aircraft registration 9M-MXJ performing flight MH192 from Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia to Bangalore, India faced some anxious moments when returning back to KL after suffering a burst tyre emergency.

Radar track of MH192

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As per an airline statement, soon after take-off at 10:09pm (14:09 UTC) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), airport operations found tyre debris on runway 32R. The air traffic control alerted the flight crew via Malaysia Airlines Operations Control Centre (OCC) at 10:25pm. The flight crew stopped the climb at FL140 (14,000ft) and performed in-flight checks. After about one hour the flight approached KLIA on a low pass to determine faults with the right hand main landing gear.

Suspecting the main gear was not properly down, the airport and crew started preparing for an emergency partial gear-up or belly landing. The flight crew continued to perform loops for about two hours in order to burn-off a near full load of fuel before landing. To prevent fire in case of a belly landing, the crew burnt off as much fuel as possible to keep the barest minimum fuel on board.

Scary moments prior to landing

Readers of Bangalore Aviation know we do not try to over-dramatise emergency events, but the flight crew of MH192 had, what we would consider, scary moments just before landing. While on final approach to runway 32L, KLIA Tower informed MH192 that foaming of the runway was still in progress, to which MH192 responded they had insufficient fuel for the flight to perform another go-around. There was still at least one ground vehicle, call-sign Oscar 3, on the runway. As this recording of the Tower communications with MH192 shows, with less than three miles to go and at 1,000 feet altitude, the flight crew warns the Tower “Get them off the runway now we’re at 1,000ft” still no action. 30 seconds later the flight crew broadcasts a dire warning

“I have no fuel to Go Around. You better get off the runway”

After repeated warnings to Oscar 3 the KLIA tower finally gave MH192 landing clearance seconds before landing.

Update 2 – Apr 22, 2014. We found the audio of the MH192 landing emergency

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Just listening to the recording makes one anxious. Hats off to the flight crew who maintained their calm and professionalism in the midst of all this tension, and keeping in mind they were already dealing with this emergency for three hours prior.

Video of MH192 landing

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The passengers disembarked normally, and were accommodated at nearby hotels. The flight was re-scheduled to depart KLIA at 3.30pm (07:30 UTC) the next day, April 21, 2014 and arrive at Bangalore at 5.00pm (11:30 UTC).

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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