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