Plane crashed after trying to land too fast

An attempt to land a plane too fast and without full control of its approach angle in strong winds were the probable causes of a crash at Shannon Airport, an investigation has found.

Plane crashed after trying to land too fast

The 21 passengers and four crew of the Sunday morning flight from Manchester were uninjured and evacuated safely after the incident in Jul 2011.

On its second approach, the aircraft hit the runway nose-down after a number of bounces, causing the nose gear to collapse. It then skidded along the runway before coming to a stop.

The report by the Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit found that inexperience of the commanding pilot, incorrect power handling technique during landing, confusing wording about how to calculate wind factor in the flight crew operational manual, and inadequate information for crews about crosswind landings also contributed to the crash.

The accident happened during a second attempt at landing in very blustery conditions, after the ATR 72 aircraft bounced and damaged the nose gear first time around.

The scheduled passenger service was operated by Aer Arann on behalf of Aer Lingus and the aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair.

In a statement yesterday, Aer Arann said it accepted the findings and has implemented the report’s recommendations. It included a review of the training given to its pilots about crosswind landings and standard speed call-outs during approach and the institution of a flight data monitoring programme across its fleet.

A preliminary report published five weeks after the accident recommended the airline review the maximum crosswind limits for approaches to the runway at Shannon, and it has since reduced those limits.

The 29-year-old commander had been recently promoted and the vast majority of her almost 2,300 hours flying experience were on this type of aircraft. Her 37-year-old first officer had been working with Aer Arann since Apr 2010, had previously been employed by the company for five months in 2008, and she had almost 1,700 hours of flying experience.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit recommended that manufacturers ATR should improve guidance on landing for the different models of this aircraft in turbulent crosswinds, and that it change its flight manual to help prevent miscalculation of wind factors when determining approach speeds.

During the investigation, it emerged that Aer Arann had experienced two other landings on its fleet of ATR 72 aircraft that resulted in nose gear damage. A survey of landing techniques used by its pilots on this type of plane found a misconception about the particular model involved in the Shannon incident in relation to a requirement for a short application of power immediately before touchdown to smoothen the landing.

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