Investigation after Ryanair Boeing 737 plunges 2,000ft in 17 seconds reaching 321mph

A Ryanair Boeing 737-Max airliner is under investigation after it descended at high speed on approach to Stansted Airport last year.

Flight FR1269 dived at 321mph after a two-hour journey from Klagenfurt, Austria to London on 4 December 2023.

According to flight data, the Boeing 737-Max made a steady descent to 2,350ft to prepare for landing in light rain at Stansted, but aborted the approach to climb for a go-around.

During the second landing attempt, the plane plunged from 4,425ft to 2,300ft in just 17 seconds with a speed increase from 226mph to 321mph.

Investigating the “serious incident”, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) logged the aircraft’s steep decline as a “high speed and high nose down pitch attitude” during a go-around procedure.

The Ryanair Boeing made the “unstable approach” far faster than the acceptable descent rate rules, after aborting the original landing.

Assisting the AAIB, Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit described this as a “level bust” – this is when an aircraft fails to fly at the level it has been cleared to.

The aircraft landed safely at London Stansted 10 minutes after the unsteady go-around.

No passengers on the 197-seat aircraft were injured during the abrupt descent, but flight records show that the Boeing 737 airliner did not take off in the two days following the incident.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “This was a case of an unstable approach. The crew performed a ‘go around’ and landed normally on the second approach in line with Ryanair procedure.

“Ryanair reported this matter to the AAIB in compliance with our operating manual and we have provided full details to, and are cooperating fully with, this routine AAIB investigation.

“We can make no further comment until such time as the AAIB have completed their review of this flight.”

A full investigation by the AAIB into the rare incident is ongoing – flight FR1269 is one of just six airline incidents in the UK to prompt such a probe last year.

The AAIB said: “The serious incident is still under investigation and so we can’t provide any further detail at the moment.

“The aircraft landed safely and there were no reported injuries to passengers or crew. The investigation is nearing completion and likely to be published sometime in the autumn.”

Just last week, a Korean Air flight had to be diverted due to a severe fault after it descended 26,900ft in just 15 minutes, resulting in the hospitalisation of 17 passengers.

According to report, passengers on the Korean Air flight KE189 experienced hyperventilation and ear pain, with 17 people requiring hospitalisation upon landing in Taichung, Taiwan.