A Ryanair flight approaching Bergerac airport in bad weather flew too low for more than 2 minutes and was ordered to ‘pull up’ by an automated safety system.

The Plane, which was travelling between London Stansted and Bergerac, France triggered several altitude warnings on its approach to the airport – which included the critical ‘pull up’ instruction when the jet was just 842 feet above the ground while it was eight miles from the airport’s runway.

Shortly before the ‘pull up’ alert sounded, the crew received a ‘terrain’ warning which warned them that they were flying too low.

At the time, the first officer, who was flying the aircraft, was conducting a turn in heavy cloud and did not have ‘any visual references’.

The 27-year-old first officer was flying a ‘non-precision approach’ although the crew had elected to use an automated system to regulate their aircraft’s descent.

The first officer, who had just 400 hours experience, had never flown a non-precision approach – which allows the pilot to follow a pre-determined course down to a minimum altitude. Pilots are not allowed to go below this minimum altitude unless they are able to see the runway.
An investigation by the French aviation regulator found it is likely the first officer and the captain had lost situational awareness during the approach.