Report: poor runway friction and aquaplaning caused E135 excursion

The Embraer 135 came to rest across a road

The runway excursion accident involving an Airlink (South Africa) Embraer RJ135LR passenger jet in Decemer 2009 was caused by aquaplaning due to poor runway friction, according to the second interim report published by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

SA Airlink flight SA 8625 departed Cape Town International Airport (CPT) on a domestic scheduled flight to George Airport (GRJ). The aircraft was cleared for an instrument landing system (ILS) approach runway 11. The prevailing weather conditions at the time were overcast in light rain. The aircraft touched down in the area of the fourth landing marker. At the end of the runway veered to the right and went past the ILS localizer. The aircraft collided with eleven approach lights before it burst through the aerodrome perimeter fence, with the aircraft coming to rest in a nose down attitude on a public road.
Runway 11 is a 2000 x 45 meters asphalt runway. At the time of this accident it was the first time that the George area had received a proper rain shower following the rehabilitation of the runway, which was concluded on 6 November 2009. It would appear that the application of the fog spray sealant extensively used during the runway rehabilitation works degraded the surface friction coefficient of the runway surface during wet conditions. This allowed the onset of aquaplaning and thereby inhibited the application of adequate braking pressure by the anti-skid system to stop the aircraft within the certificated distance.

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4 Responses to Report: poor runway friction and aquaplaning caused E135 excursion

  1. Is it known if this model of Embraer has or lacks thrust reversers, and only relies upon wheel brakes for stopping?

    At least one incident in Mexico similar to this has been recorded, and that RJ145 (which is very similar) had only wheel brakes.

  2. AHA!!

    There could be a trend. Lets see how many accidents/incidents this lack of Thrust Reversers… Does the reduced maintenance really compensate for the lack of them in critical situations?

    • I mean: EMBRAER’s decision to offer “only wheel brakes” option to airlines presuming “reduced maintenance” as an “advantage”, when in reality it is a compromise. A wet and short runway coupled to some crosswind and you have an interesting situation when you only have wheel brakes and no thrust reversers!

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