Flightradar24 Blog


PIA A320

Pakistan International Airlines flight 8303 crashes near Karachi

Share this article

Pakistan International Airlines flight PK8303 crashed while attempting to landing in Karachi on 22 May. Flight 8303 was en route from Lahore when it crashed near the airport after conducting a go around and during its second landing attempt. The flight was operated by A320 AP-BLD.

Update 24 June: Pakistan’s Air Accident Investigation Board released a preliminary report on 24 June detailing the initial findings of the investigation, including Flight Data Recorder data showing the final minutes of the flight (Fig 21 below) and footage from a CCTV camera at the airport that captured the moment the aircraft’s engines scraped along the runway (Fig 22 below). Read the full report.

Selected data from the PK8303 Flight Data Recorder
Selected data from the PK8303 Flight Data Recorder, Fig 21 in the Pakistan AAIB preliminary report
CCTV screen captures and photos demonstrating runway scraping by the engines.
CCTV screen captures and photos demonstrating runway scraping by the engines.

Update 2 June: The BEA reports that data from the recorders has been downloaded successfully and analysis is proceeding.

Cockpit Voice Recorder from PK8303
The memory module of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from PK8303 at the BEA lab in France. | Image courtesy BEA

Update 28 May: The French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation civile (BEA) announced that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) has been recovered. It, and the previously recovered Flight Data Recorder (FDR), will be analyzed in France by the BEA at the request of Pakistani authorities.

Update 27 May: Raw receiver data from the final 12 minutes of flight containing Calibrated altitude, barometric and inertial vertical rates and indicated and true airspeed is now available for download below.

Update 25 May: Extended Mode S data, which includes Indicated airspeed and True airspeed data now available for download below.

This aircraft is tracked via MLAT, which means it did not broadcast position information via ADS-B. Flightradar24’s position data for MLAT tracked flights is calculated by the time difference of signal arrival to four receivers. If fewer than four receivers see the aircraft, position data cannot be calculated, thus limiting the positional data available for this flight. Altitude data is broadcast and altitude data was received from PK8303.

PK8303 Altitude Data

PK8303 Calibrated Altitude GraphAltitude data show climb, cruise, and descent, followed by a go around and at least one additional landing attempt.

As with all altitude data reported via Mode S, the altitude reported is calibrated altitude at standard pressure (1013.25 hPa). To ascertain the the corrected altitude, one must use the local pressure value. The local pressure at the time, as reported by METAR was 1004 hPa. Based on this, the lowest reported altitude value by the aircraft was 21.5 feet at 09:34:25.738 UTC. The graph below compares the reported calibrated altitude at Standard pressure and the corrected altitude given the local pressure. Both altitudes, however, are still reported in feet above mean sea level, not above ground level.

PK8303 Calibrated and Corrected Altitude

Additional Extended Mode S data decoded

Flightradar24 has now retrieved and processed extended Mode S data from individual receivers in the area. Unlike ADS-B data, which always contains the same known data points, Extended Mode S may contain data from a variety of fields like aircraft identification, meteorological data, heading, speed, and others. The data sent varies based on the fields requested by the Secondary Surveillance Radar ground stations used by air traffic control.

The data sent via Extended Mode S does not include the Binary Data Selector (BDS) identifying the type of data. Flightradar24 interprets this data using advanced scripts and historical comparative data, but there may be errors in individual frames due to misinterpreted data fields. Overall trends in the data are correct as reported. We have included the raw data, downloadable below.

Included in much of the Extended Mode S data sent by PK8303 were data on Indicated airspeed. The below graph shows the aircraft’s calibrated altitude and Indicated airspeed from 10,000 feet to the final data received.

PK8303 Altitude and Indicated airspeed graphWe have now also decoded additional raw receiver data encompassing approximately the final 12 minutes of flight. The data displayed below and available for download has not been processed by Flightradar24 systems, just decoded.

Raw receiver data from PK8303

Download Flightradar24 data

Granular CSV file with full-flight altitude data

Granular Extended Mode S data

Raw Receiver data (final 12 minutes of flight)

Read more about tracking flights with MLAT

PK8303 limited position data

Near Lahore, data was received by at least four receivers allowing us to calculate positions for the flight for a short period of time.

PK8303 aircraft information

PK8303 was operated by A320 AP-BLD (MSN 2274). The aircraft is powered by two CFM-56 engines. Pakistan International Airlines acquired the A320 in October 2014. It was originally delivered to China Eastern Airlines in September 2004.

PIA A320

Featured image © M. Azizul Islam
On The Radar Logo

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so join more than 600,000 others who receive weekly aviation industry and flight tracking news from Flightradar24 direct to their inbox.

Share this article

Useful flight tracking glossary

View our glossary of terms which you may encounter either on our site or in aviation in general that we hope enriches your flight tracking experience.

About Flightradar24

Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.

Don't miss out on the latest Flightradar24 videos!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our latest videos as soon as they’re published!

Latest video
On The Radar Logo
Get weekly updates on Flightradar24 and have the latest aviation news land in your inbox.

How flight tracking works

Flightradar24 combines data from several data sources including ADS-B, MLAT and radar data.
Search the blog
Trending articles
Follow us
Latest AvTalk Podcasts
Related news

Russian Legacy 600 crashes near Tver

An Embraer Legacy 600 associated with Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin crashed Wednesday afternoon near Tver after departing from Moscow. Though this aircraft is equipped

Flight tracking top 10 aircraft

Explore the top 10 most tracked aircraft and find out why these particular aircraft draw so much interest.

Help to grow our flight tracking coverage

We are continually looking to improve our flight tracking and the airports below are where new receivers will add the most coverage. Apply for a receiver today and if accepted you’ll receiver a free Flightradar24 Business Subscription.

Free ADS-B Receiver
Flightradar24 logo
Try the full Flightradar24 experience free for 7 days
Remove ads and unlock over 50 additional features
On The Radar Logo

Get the Flightradar24 Aviation newsletter

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so we want to bring more of the aviation world to you with our weekly Flightradar24 aviation newsletter - On The Radar.

On The Radar Logo