If you wish to contribute or participate in the discussions about articles you are invited to join SKYbrary as a registered user

Contribution of Unstabilised Approaches to Aircraft Accidents and Incidents

From SKYbrary Wiki
Article Information
Category: Toolkit for ATC - Stabilised Approach Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC
Content source: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL
Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL

Description

The Flight Safety Foundation established that unstabilised approaches were a causal factor in 66 % of 76 approach and landing accidents and incidents worldwide between 1984 and 1997.

It was found that many low and slow (low energy) approaches have resulted in controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) because of inadequate vertical position awareness. Low energy approaches may also result in "loss-of-control" or "land-short" events.

High energy approaches have resulted in runway excursions and also have contributed to inadequate situational awareness in some of CFIT accidents.

It was found that a crew’s inability to control the aircraft to the desired flight parameters (airspeed, altitude, rate of descent) was a major factor in 45 % of 76 approach-and-landing accidents and serious incidents.

Flight-handling difficulties have occurred in situations which included rushing approaches, attempts to comply with demanding ATC clearances, adverse weather conditions and improper use of automation.

Consequences

Unstabilised approaches can be followed by:

  1. Runway excursions
  2. Landing short
  3. Controlled flight into terrain
  4. Hard landings
  5. Tail Strike

Contributory factors

Weather conditions or approach types which can increase the chances of an unstabilised approach are:

  1. wake turbulence
  2. strong winds
  3. low visibility
  4. heavy precipitation
  5. an approach with no visual references (e.g. night or IMC)
  6. visual approach
  7. circling approach

Aircraft Accidents and Incidents Related to Unstabilised Approach Listed on SKYbrary

  • A346, Quito Ecuador, 2007 (On 31 August 2007 an Airbus A340-600 being operated by Iberia on a scheduled passenger flight from Madrid to Quito made a hard landing with drift /side slip after a circling approach in normal day visibility and was disabled on the runway after sustaining significant damage to the landing gear, particularly many of the tyres. There was no other damage to the aircraft and there were no injuries to the 320 occupants who eventually disembarked normally from the aircraft at its final resting position.)
  • T154, vicinity Smolensk Russian Federation, 2010 (On 10 April 2010, a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M on a pre-arranged VIP flight into Smolensk Severny failed to adhere to landing minima during a non precision approach with thick fog reported and after ignoring a TAWS ‘PULL UP’ Warning in IMC continued descent off track and into the ground. All of the Contributory Factors to the pilot error cause found by the Investigation related to the operation of the aircraft in a range of respects including a failure by the crew to obtain adequate weather information for the intended destination prior to and during the flight.)
  • CRJ7, Lorient France, 2012 (On 16 October 2012, a Brit Air Bombardier CRJ 700 landed long on a wet runway at Lorient and overran the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage but none of the occupants were injured. The Investigation attributed the accident to poor decision making by the crew whilst shoeing signs of complacency and fatigue and failing to maintain a sterile flight deck or go around when the approach became unstable. A context of deficiencies at the airport and at the Operator was also detailed and it was concluded that aquaplaning had occurred.)
  • A332, Jakarta Indonesia, 2013 (On 13 December 2013, an Airbus A330 encountered very heavy rain below 100 feet agl just after the autopilot had been disconnected for landing off an ILS approach at Jakarta. The aircraft Commander, as pilot flying, lost visual reference but the monitoring First Officer did not. A go around was neither called nor flown and after drifting in the flare, the aircraft touched down with the right main landing gear on the grass and continued like this for 500 metres before regaining the runway. The Investigation noted that prevailing SOPs clearly required that a go around should have been flown.)
  • C56X, Port Harcourt Nigeria, 2013 (On 14 July 2011, the crew of a Cessna Citation intentionally continued a night ILS approach at Port Harcourt below the applicable DA without having any visual reference with the runway and a crash landing and lateral runway excursion which severely damaged the aircraft followed. The Investigation did not establish any reason for the violation of minima but noted the complications which had arisen in respect of CRM because of two-Captain flight crew. Absence of two-way radio communications between the fire trucks and both ATC and the AFS Watch Room was noted to have delayed discovery of the crashed aircraft.)
  • … further results


Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC

Further Reading

CANSO

Part of the Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC