Passenger makes safety call

Not all passenger reports are as reliable as that given by the experienced aviation professional on AirAsia flight FD-608. (Image: CBS, The Twilight Zone)

A sharp-eyed passenger at a window seat has alerted an airline crew to a potentially dangerous problem on the aircraft’s wing.

The Aviation Herald reports an AirAsia Airbus A320, flying from Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, on 25 August, had been airborne for five minutes when a passenger told the cabin crew that the spoilers were half way extended.

The aircraft continued the climb and levelled off at flight level 310 (about 31,000 feet). About eight minutes after levelling off the crew decided to return to Bangkok where the aircraft landed about 70 minutes after departure.

The observant passenger identified themself in the reader comments as ‘a pilot for over 30 years and a former air safety investigator’.

‘At no time did any of the pilots come back to check the spoiler visually,’ the passenger wrote.

The aircraft returned to service after about six hours.


  1. Air Asia seems to provide the industry with all too many case studies of how NOT to do it.

  2. Perhaps the pilot/s noticed the extended spoilers from another window other than the passengers and the reporting passenger was not aware of this ?

  3. Can the pilots actually see half extended spoilers? On the other hand this would mean having to actually look OUTSIDE! I don’t have much faith in Air Asia or a lot of other Asian operators being an “old cynic.”

    • The deployment of the spoilers could be verified by the flight crew on the Flight Control ECAM system display page without leaving the flight deck.

  4. Is it possible to mount mini cameras on wing tips,tail fin And under nose in order for the crew to monitor the exterior of the aircraft including wheels. Would save a lot of guessing. Colin

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