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Unstable approach preceded Dash 8 crash landing

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posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 01:23 PM
The pilots of an Air Iceland Dash 8-100 failed to stabilize their approach into Greenland's Nuuk airport before the aircraft made a hard landing, on March 4, 2011.

The crew had received reports of strong winds, so they made the decision to a 15 degree flap approach, instead of a 35 degree setting, and approach from a higher altitude, making a steep fast approach.

Once they had visual contact with the runway, they elected to offset their approach to the right of centerline. During approach they received reports of crosswinds gusting to 42 knots, which exceeds company specs for landing. They then decided to fly a 35 degree flap setting, in spite of already agreeing to a 15 degree setting, and engaged the flaps at just over 700 feet.

They entered an area of moderate turbulence, and approached the runway from a lateral angle of 25 degrees and began a right turn to line up on the runway. They were descending at 780 fpm, and were 144 feet over the runway at this point, and were travelling at 115 knots (published airspeed at this point is 92 knots.

The crew then overshot the centerline on their turn, and touched down on their right main, in a 12 degree bank, descending at 810 fpm, impacting at 3.9Gs. The right main shock strut fuse pin sheared under the impact forces, causing the right main landing gear to collapse. The aircraft slid off the runway, suffering significant damage to the fuselage, but no injuries to any of the 34 occupants.

Pilots of a de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 had not stabilised the turboprop's approach to Nuuk in Greenland before the aircraft landed hard and suffered a main gear collapse.

The aircraft, operated by Air Iceland, had been arriving after a service from Reykjavik on 4 March 2011.

It was attempting an approach to Nuuk's runway 23 in strong winds. Owing to the wind conditions the crew agreed to use a 15° flap setting, rather than 35°, and fly a steep approach from high altitude.

Having made visual contact with the runway the pilots also opted, crucially, to offset their approach to the right of the runway centreline. The crew noticed that a stretch of sea leading towards the airport appeared calm, and chose to follow this approach path.

The aircraft (TF-JMB) descended towards the threshold from the right of the centreline. While 3nm out the crew received an automated weather update which indicated strong variable crosswinds and gusts up to 42kt - under which the operator's procedures prohibited a landing.

posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 06:35 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Investigators believe the pilots were "solely focused on landing" and that the workload "mentally blocked" any go-around decision.
I think I read somewhere that "go arounds" can be perceived as black marks on the pilot's record, a situation which can be made even worse because some airports are already at or even over their capacity for landing approaches without any go-arounds, so go-arounds can create problems for the entire airport landing schedule in some cases.

While I don't doubt that workload was a factor as suggested, I wonder if the negative consequences of doing go-arounds was a factor too.

posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 09:32 PM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

I'm sure that it played a role in the back of their minds. Not all airlines make a big deal out of go-arounds, but some do. If theirs did, then I'm sure that it played a role, even if unconsciously.

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 03:46 AM
Should it not be the souls on-board that are in the front of their minds? Non the less I am not a pilot, and thankfully no one was injured or died in the landing. Only equipment was harmed, and can be replaced. My father flies frequently and has been in some hairy landings and hit air pockets, it can be scary, I am glad they all survived. I have seen also some crazy landings on youtube that they are landing huge jets in insane crosswinds sideways and it is amazing. It is a miracle crash landings do not happen more often, planned or un-planned.

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