Report: Incorrect take-off data causes A340-500 tailstrike and runway overrun at Melbourne

December 16, 2011

The incorrect entry of take-off weight data that resulted in the tailstrike and runway overrun of an Emirates Airbus A340 aircraft in 2009 was not a unique event. Similar events continue to occur throughout the world, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The ATSB published the final report of its investigation into a 20 March 2009 accident, when flight EK407, with 18 crew and 257 passengers, sustained a tailstrike and overran the runway end on departure from Melbourne Airport.  The aircraft became airborne in the grass clearway but struck a light and several antennae, which damaged and disabled the instrument landing system for the airport.
The flight crew climbed the aircraft to 7,000 ft and circled over Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, while jettisoning fuel to reduce the aircraft’s weight. The flight crew then returned the aircraft to Melbourne for an uneventful landing on runway 34.

The ATSB found that the accident resulted from the use by the crew of incorrect take-off performance parameters. The initial error was likely due to mistyping, when a weight of 262.9 tonnes, instead of the intended 362.9 tonnes, was entered into a laptop computer to calculate the aircraft’s take-off settings. The error passed through several subsequent checks without detection.

Although a number of contributing factors were identified, the ATSB determined that there were two primary factors in the development of the accident as follows:

  • the flight crew did not detect the erroneous take-off weight that was used for the take-off performance calculations, and
  • the flight crew did not detect the degraded take-off performance until very late in the take-off roll.

More information:

ATSB animation of the occurrence.


NTSB issues safety recommendations following B737 tailwind landing accident

December 11, 2011

The NTSB has issued four safety recommendations and reiterated one older recommendation to prevent runway excursion accidents following tailwind landings.

On December 22, 2009, American Airlines flight 331, a  Boeing 737-800, N977AN, ran off the departure end of runway 12 after landing at Kingston-Norman Manley International Airport (KIN), Jamaica. The aircraft landed approximately 4,000 feet down the 8,911-foot-long, wet runway with a 14-knot tailwind component and was unable to stop on the remaining runway length. After running off the runway end, it went through a fence, across a road, and came to a stop on the sand dunes and rocks above the waterline of the Caribbean Sea adjacent to the road. No fatalities or postcrash fire occurred.

The investigation, being conducted by the Jamaica CAA, is still ongoing. The NTSB, being part of the investigation, decided to issue the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

 

Require principal operations inspectors to review flight crew training programs and manuals to ensure training in tailwind landings is (1) provided during initial and recurrent simulator training; (2) to the extent possible, conducted at the maximum tailwind component certified for the aircraft on which pilots are being trained; and (3) conducted with an emphasis on the importance of landing within the touchdown zone, being prepared to execute a go-around, with either pilot calling for it if at any point landing within the touchdown zone becomes unfeasible, and the related benefits of using maximum flap extension in tailwind conditions. (A-11-92)

Revise Advisory Circular 91-79, “Runway Overrun Prevention,” to include a discussion of the risks associated with tailwind landings, including tailwind landings on wet or contaminated runways as related to runway overrun prevention. (A-11-93)

Once Advisory Circular 91-79, “Runway Overrun Prevention,” has been revised, require principal operations inspectors to review airline training programs and manuals to ensure they incorporate the revised guidelines concerning tailwind landings. (A-11-94)

Require principal operations inspectors to ensure that the information contained in Safety Alert for Operators 06012 is disseminated to 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K instructors, check airmen, and aircrew program designees and they make pilots aware of this guidance during recurrent training. (A-11-95)

The National Transportation Safety Board also reiterates the following recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration and reclassifies it “Open—Unacceptable Response”:
Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K operators to accomplish arrival landing distance assessments before every landing based on a standardized methodology involving approved performance data, actual arrival conditions, a means of correlating the airplane’s braking ability with runway surface conditions using the most conservative interpretation available, and including a minimum safety margin of 15 percent. (A-07-61)

This recommendation, A-07-61, was issued following the December 2005 runway excursion accident involving a Boeing 737-700 at Chicago-Midaway Airport.

More information:


Boeing 757 runway excursion incident at Jackson Hole, WY

December 30, 2010

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB ) has opened an investigation into an incident in which a Boeing 757 passenger jetliner departed the runway while landing at Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming.

At about 11:38 am MT on December 29, American Airlines flight AA2253, inbound from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, ran off the end of runway 19 while landing at Jackson Hole Airport. No injuries were reported among the 181 passengers and crew on board.

The aircraft came to rest in hard packed snow about 350 feet beyond the runway overrun area. The weather was reported to be snowing at the time of the incident. No damage to the aircraft has been reported. Runway 19 is a 6300 ft asphalt runway.  A video made by a passenger (note: the video is no longer online) during landing shows the thrust reversers were deployed when the airplane was approximately abeam the terminal building, which is about 4000 feet down the runway.

The airplane involved in the mishap was N668AA.

More information:


NTSB opens public docket on January 2010 Charleston, WV runway overrun

April 8, 2010

The CRJ200 came to rest in the EMAS area (Photo: NTSB)

As part of the NTSB’s investigation into the runway overrun at Charleston-Yeager Airport, WV (CRW/KCRW), the NTSB opened a public accident docket.

On January 19, 2010, PSA Airlines d.b.a. US Airways Express flight 2495, a CRJ 200, registration N246PS, rejected the takeoff and ran off the end of the runway at Yeager Airport, Charleston. The airplane stopped in the engineered materials arresting system (EMAS). There were no injuries to the 31 passengers or 3 crew members onboard and the airplane received minor damage. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 121 and its intended destination was Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT/KCLT).

The information being released is factual in nature and does not provide any analysis. It will include investigative group factual reports, photographs, and other documents from the investigation. Additional material will be added to the docket as it becomes available. Analysis of the accident, along with conclusions and a determination of probable cause, will come at a later date when the final report on the investigation is completed.


TSB Canada launches watchlist of safety issues

March 16, 2010

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released a “Watchlist” that points to nine critical safety issues troubling Canada’s transportation system. The TSB Watchlist took shape after analysts found troubling patterns in their work.

Three safety issues related to aviation:
Problem: There is ongoing risk that aircraft may collide with vehicles or other aircraft on the ground at Canadian airports.
Solution: Improved procedures and the adoption of enhanced collision warning systems are required at Canada’s airports.

Problem: Fatalities continue to occur when planes collide with land and water while under crew control.
Solution: Wider use of technology is needed to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain.

Problem: Landing accidents and runway overruns continue to occur at Canadian airports.
Solution: In bad weather, pilots need to receive timely information about runway surface conditions.
Airports need to lengthen the safety areas at the end of runways or install other engineered systems and structures to safely stop planes that overrun.


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