A Boeing 737 aircraft worth up to £ 90 million was written off after a powerful landing at Exeter Airport. The plane l was left leaning on one side with the fuselage bent, Devon Live reports.
A new government report on the incident in January last year says it was a result of the crew continuing their landing approach early in the morning after the plane had become “unstable”. The damage could have been reduced, the report said, if the co-pilot in control had decided to interrupt the landing and go around again.
She could also have handed over control to the plane’s boss, who in hindsight said he should have walked around for another attempt at landing. Since the landing, new rules have been introduced that include only the chief of the aircraft landing the aircraft.
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After the hard landing, the plane was heading to the left and the crew realized that there was something “seriously wrong” with it. The hull skin behind the wings was cracked and tense, and the rear hull was bent downward. Oil dripped from several areas and the landing gear was distorted, giving the plane a tilt to the left. Waste and hydraulic oil were left on the runway.
The jet engine was operated by Swedish-based West Atlantic and was transporting cargo at the time, with only two crew members on board. The incident happened when the plane came in to land in Exeter just after noon. 02.30 on 19 January 2021.
The plane was built in 1994 and is said to have been “damaged without financial repair” after the landing, where no one was injured. A new 737 could cost up to £ 90m.
The investigation was conducted by the government’s air accident investigation department, which investigates all incidents involving aircraft and helicopters of all sizes.
The report, just released by AAIB, says the plane was on an instrument landing approach to Exeter and became “unstable” after the crew declared it stable and decided to continue their approach. In the last 500 feet, the speed of the plane’s descent exceeded the maximum limits four times, three times with an alarm in the cockpit.
The crew was scheduled to make two cargo flights from Exeter to East Midlands Airport near Nottingham at night. The plane’s chief, who had put 9,000 of his 15,000 flight hours on Boeing 737s, said the plane had “stopped flying” and “fell” onto the runway so quickly that he felt it was too late for him to call for a go-around. and try another landing, or take control.
He added that in hindsight, a go-around should have been initiated at the time, but the plane would most likely have landed during the maneuver. The co-pilot, whose 19,000 flight hours covered more than 5,500 on 737s, said she did not know what had caused the hard landing, but did not believe there was a technical problem.
She had no problems operating in Exeter before, and operating in Exeter was not a rarity. The report sums up: “The commander had confidence in the co-pilot’s abilities and had flown with her on many occasions.
“It is possible that this may have led to him feeling that the co-pilot was unable to handle the situation and therefore did not call a go-around or take control.” It also points out that the co-pilot had had a similar experience of a “Sink Rate” alarm during a training flight
The report concludes: “The aircraft was hit by a hard landing as a result of the approach continuing after it became unstable, after the aircraft had passed the point where the crew had declared the approach stable and continued. Despite high descent rates were observed beyond the stable point, along with associated alarms, the crew chose to continue landing.
“If the approach had been interrupted and a go-around flown, even at low altitude, while the aircraft may have crashed, the damage may have been less. The commander may have given the co-pilot the benefit of the doubt and thought she had the ability to correct an approach that became unstable in the last few hundred feet of the approach. But had there been any doubt, a go-around would have to be carried out. “
Since the incident, West Atlantic has instructed the crews that only the commander of the aircraft can land an aircraft at Exeter Airport. Its operating instructions have been modified and “robust mechanisms” have been put in place to monitor trends in pilots’ performance.
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