On 18 May 2007, a Fokker 50 being operated by Belgian airline VLM on a passenger flight from Amsterdam to Groningen landed long and at excessive speed after a visual day approach to runway 05 at destination and ran off the end of the runway onto grass. None of the 14 occupants were injured and the aircraft suffered only minor damage with two runway lights being damaged.
An Investigation was carried out by the Dutch TSB. Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) recordings were available. It was established that the aircraft commander, with 5000 hrs on type and a Training Captain, had been PF. The aircraft had been levelled at 5 nm from the airfield at 2000 feet aal whilst still at a speed of 220 KIAS. After slowing down to configure for landing, descent from 2000 feet did not recommence until 2.1 nm.
Black line - reconstructed flight vertical profile using airspeed and altitude data from the FDR
Green line - the normal 3.0 degree ILS approach profile
The approach vertical profile taken from the Official Report
by which time the aircraft was (see the illustration) well above anything that might be regarded as a normal descent profile. The aircraft was descended at a rate that led to activation of the Terrain Avoidance and Warning System (TAWS), first with the annunciation of two ‘sink rate’ warnings and then by a prolonged series of ‘Pull Up’ warnings, all of which were ignored. By 800 feet aal, the sink rate had reached 4000fpm and pitch angle during the final approach was found to have varied between -2° and -20°. The runway threshold was crossed at a height of 300 feet agl at a speed of 150 KIAS and with a pitch of -12° and the eventual touchdown was nosewheel first at 118 KIAS in a position 910 metres along the 1800 metre-long runway. With the main landing gear still in the air, the aircraft continued along the runway on its nose wheel until, with 320 metres remaining, the left main gear, quickly followed by the right main gear, touched down. Directional control was lost during deceleration and there was a partial excursion off the left hand side of the runway and re-entry before the aircraft overran the end of the runway on the left hand edge and came to a stop 60 metres further on.
It was established that the actual Reference Speed (Vref) at which the runway threshold should have been crossed by the accident aircraft at its prevailing landing weight was 97 KIAS (with a corresponding Vapp of 107 KIAS). It was noted that the choice of Runway 05 for the landing had been made in the knowledge that there was a possibility of a tailwind component near the maximum AFM-permitted 10 knots. FDR data indicated that the actual tailwind component had been 10 knots. The Investigation noted that the final approach had clearly not been stabilised on any common criteria and also that the VLM Operations Manual did not contain any ‘stabilised approach’ criteria. It was further noted that VLM did not have an OFDM programme in place at the time of the accident.
The Investigation concluded that the Cause of the overrun was “the decision of the PF to land the aircraft while the aircraft was not in a stabilised condition” and that Contributing factors were as follows:
- The crew was not aware of the prevailing tail wind component during their (initial) descent (to destination). This resulted in a delayed descent and a steep approach, which was not perceived as unusual by the crew. Eventually the approach did not meet the stabilised approach criteria (recommended by the aircraft manufacturer).
- The crew should have treated the continuous EGPWS warnings as hazardous and executed a go around.
- The PF misjudged the landing on runway 05. Eventually the landing distance required exceeded the landing distance available.
The Final Report of the Investigation: Serious Incident Report 2007044 was published on 10 January 2011. No Safety Recommendations were made.