Non Revenue Flights

Definition

Flights which are conducted for non revenue purposes such as:

Description

Non Revenue Flights have often been identified as attracting a greater risk of an accident or serious incident than the revenue flights which form the main business of any operator of commercial aircraft. In many respects, the causes of increased risk for this type of flight are similar to those which have been associated with a slightly wider sub group of flights - Non Standard Flights.

 

Accident & Incident Reports

A selection of accidents and events which have occurred on non-revenue flights:

On 17 September 2020, a Bombardier Global 6000 which had completed a circling approach to land at Biggin Hill in day VMC touched down with an inappropriate pitch and roll attitude which caused the right wingtip to contact the runway surface. The Investigation found that the landing technique just before touchdown was not in accordance with the manufacturer’s crosswind landing technique although the roll rate achieved could not be accounted for by the roll control input alone and was probably increased by localised wind velocity variations despite the absence of any such variations being reported by ATC.

On 7 November 2018, a Boeing 747-400F overran wet landing runway 14 at Halifax at night and was sufficiently damaged as a result of exceeding the available RESA to render it a hull loss. The Investigation attributed the overrun to a combination of factors including use of un-factored landing distance, momentary mishandling of the thrust levers just after touchdown, a pilot-caused lateral deviation diverting attention from deceleration, inadequate braking and late recognition of an approach tailwind component. Poor NOTAM presentation of runway availability also led the crew to believe that the longer and more suitable runway 25 was not available.

On 12 September 2018, a Gulfstream G-IV overran the runway at Abuja after the air/ground status system failed to transition to ground on touchdown and the crew were slow to recognise that as a result neither spoilers nor thrust reversers had deployed. In the absence of recorded flight data, it was not possible to establish why the air/ground sensing system did not transition normally but no fault was found. The aircraft operator’s procedures in the event of such circumstances were found to be inadequate and regulatory oversight of the operator to have been comprehensively deficient over an extended period.

On 26 February 2020, after a difficult Airbus A321 left engine first flight of the day start, the same happened on the third sector with en-route engine abnormalities then affecting both engines. With no fault found during post flight maintenance inspections and despite similar engine starting problems, both engines then malfunctioned after takeoff from Gatwick. A MAYDAY return followed. Investigation found that the cause was fuel system contamination by addition of approximately 38 times the correct quantity of biocide during earlier scheduled maintenance and that the release of the aircraft to service for the flight had followed inadequate troubleshooting action.

On 24 April 2019, the engine of a Beech B200 en-route from Winnipeg to Churchill at FL 250 failed due to fuel exhaustion and the crew realised that they had forgotten to refuel before departure. An emergency was declared and a diversion to the nearest available airport was commenced but the right engine later failed for the same reason leaving them with no option but to land on a frozen lake surface. The Investigation concluded that confusion as to relative responsibility between the trainee Captain and the supervising pilot-in-command were central to the failure to refuel prior to departure as intended.

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