Report: Poor CRM, violation of procedures caused fatal A321 accident in Pakistan

December 22, 2011

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) completed its investigation into the accident involving an Airblue Airbus A321 in July 2010 that killed 152 all occupants.

Flight ABQ202 had departed Karachi International Airport (KHI) on a domestic service to Islamabad, Pakistan. Weather at Islamabad was poor with deteriorating visibility. A PIA flight had landed on the third attempt to land and a flight om China had returned. ABQ202 was cleared for a Runway 12 Circling Approach procedure. During the approach the captain descended below Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) (i.e. 2,300 ft instead of maintaining 2,510 ft), losing visual contact with the airfield. The captain then decided to fly a non-standard self-created PBD-based approach, thus transgressing out of the protected airspace by an distance of 4.3 NM into the Margalla Hills area.
The captain did not take appropriate action following calls from Air Traffic Controller. He also did not respond to 21 EGPWS warnings related to approaching rising terrain and pull up.
The airplane flew into the side of a mountain. The First Officer remained a passive bystander in the cockpit and did not participate as an effective team member failing to supplement and compliment or to correct the errors of his captain assertively due to the captain’s behaviour in the flight. The report said that during initial climb, the captain tested the knowledge of the First Officer and used harsh words and a snobbish tone, contrary to the company procedure/norms. The question/answer sessions, lecturing and advices by the captain continued with intervals for about one hour after takeoff. After the intermittent humiliating sessions, the FO generally remained quiet, suffered from underconfidence, became submissive and subsequently did not challenge the captain for any of his errors, breaches and violations.

Source:  Dawn,  The Express Tribune, The News International


Report: hard landing and pitch-up after touchdown factors in A321 tailstrike accident

April 22, 2011

The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) released the final report of their investigation into a tailstrike accident involving an Airbus A321 at Osaka-Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB), Japan. An improper flare, hard landing and pitch-up after touchdown  were factors.

On October 28, 2009, an Airbus A321-200, registered HL7763, operated by Asiana Airlines, took off from Seoul-Gimpo International Airport (SEL), the Republic of Korea, as a non-scheduled flight OZ1125.

The first officer was pilot flying during the approach to runway 06L of Kansai International Airport. The descent rate of 544 ft/min at the time of touchdown was high and the aircraft contacted the runway hard with a vertical acceleration of 1.91G. The nose-up stick input  was continued after touchdown, while the extension of the spoilers further produced a nose-up effect. As a result the aircraft’s pitch angle of 4.6 degrees at the time of touchdown increased to 10.2 degrees. This angle was in excess of the maximum allowable pitch attitude of 9.7 degrees.

The first officer decided to make a go-around and moved the thrust lever in the TOGA position about four seconds after touchdown. The airplane circled and landed safely eleven minutes later. There were 147 persons on board, consisting of the Captain, 8 other crewmembers, and 138 passengers. No one was injured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, but there was no outbreak of fire.

JTSB concluded:

In this accident, it is considered highly probable that, during the landing on Kansai International Airport, the Aircraft sustained damage in the aft part of the fuselage which contacted the runway, since the pitch angle became excessively large after the touchdown on the runway.
It is considered highly probable that the Aircraft’s pitch angle became excessive because the First Officer continued inputting pitch-up signals even after touchdown.
The flare by the First Officer was inappropriate and as a result, the sink rate of the Aircraft did not fully decrease, causing the Aircraft to land with a strong impact on the ground. It is considered probable that, that the First Officer became upset by the impact contributed to his continuous input for pitch-up after touchdown.

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