TransAsia pilots tested after crash
The pilots who operate TransAsia Airways' ATR propeller-jets have started proficiency tests, three days after one of the carrier's planes crashed into a Taiwan river, killing at least 39 people.
The airline said it had cancelled 90 flights over the next three days to accommodate the requirement by Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration that the 71 ATR pilots be retested.
Preliminary investigations indicate the pilots of Wednesday's doomed flight shut off a running engine of the ATR 72 after its other engine went idle, and aviation experts say the move was an error.
"It's a mistake," said John M Cox, a former US Airways pilot and now head of a safety consulting company. "There are procedures that pilots go through - safeguards - when you're going to shut down an engine, particularly close to the ground. Why that didn't occur here, I don't know."
Local prosecutors have said they will be looking into the possibility of "professional error".
Thomas Wang, head of Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council, said it was too early to reach conclusions about pilot error.
Pratt & Whitney Canada, the plane's engine maker, and the safety council has begun to examine both of the aircraft's engines, a process that can take four months, Mr Wang said.
The crash into the muddy Keelung River in Taipei minutes after take-off killed at least 39 people and left four missing, according to Taipei City Fire Department.
Fifteen people were rescued with injuries after the accident, which was captured in a dramatic dashboard camera video that showed the aircraft banking steeply and scraping a highway flyover before it plunged into the water.