Wizz Air Airbus A320 Returns To Bucharest Over Disagreeing Airspeeds

A Wizz Air Airbus A320-200 en-route from Bucharest to Skavasta on May 22 asked to return to the Romanian capital after reporting problems with the airspeed indicator. Wizz Air flight number W6-3201 was climbing out of Bucharest’s Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP) after having just taken off from runway 08L when the crew asked to remain in contact with the tower.

Wizz Air Getty
Wizz Air is a Hungarian low-cost airline. Photo: Getty Images

After stopping the climb at 3,000 feet, the Wizz Air pilots informed Otopeni tower that they had problems with the aircraft’s airspeed indicators. The crew then asked for permission to fly to 6,000 feet and enter a holding pattern while burning off fuel. The Wizz Air jet, registration number HA-LWI, made its approach to runway 26R one hour after takeoff only to abort the landing and perform a go-around. The pilots informed ATC they would explain the go-around by telephone once on the ground rather than over the radio.

A replacement A320 took the passengers to Sweden

The just over nine-years-old European-built jet landed safely on Otopeni’s runway 26R some 15 minutes after the go-around.

A replacement Wizz Air Airbus A320-200 registration HA-LYV was brought in to transport the 152 passengers to Sweden, arriving at Stockholm’s Skavsta Airport (NYO) with a delay of 4h 15m.

The Wizz Air A320 burnt off fuel before returning to Bucharest. Image: Flightradar24

According to The Aviation Herald, the Airbus A320-200 with the faulty airspeed indicators remained on the ground in Bucharest some 60 hours after the incident.

What is an airspeed indicator?

An airspeed indicator is an instrument that measures the speed of an aircraft in miles, kilometers, and knots per hour. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends that airspeed is measured in km/h, yet knots remains the preferred choice. The airspeed indicator fitted to aircraft measures the pressure from the static port and the total pressure from the pitot tube. The airspeed indicator pointer shows the difference in pressure between the two tubes.

Wizz Air Airbus A320
Wizz Air has a fleet of 111 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

When the aircraft is stationary on the ground, both the static port and the pitot tube should show a zero reading. When the plane moves forward, air enters the pitot tube, moving the ASI pointer. Causes for false readings or the ASI not working at all can be attributed to dirt, insects, and water getting into the tube or a failure to remove the pitot tube cover.

Who is Wizz Air?

Established in 2003, Wizz Air is a Hungarian low-cost airline based at Budapest at Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD).

Despite not being a national flag carrier, Wizz Air has more aircraft than any other Hungarian airline. According to the aviation website, Planespotters.net Wizz Air has a fleet of 111 aircraft that include 69 Airbus A320s and 42 Airbus A321s. Currently, Wizz Air flies to 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Have you ever flown with Wizz Air? If so, let us know what you thought and how they compare to other European low-cost airlines.