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 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 difficulty starting an Airbus A321 left engine for the first flight of the day, the same difficulty recurred on the third flight followed by subsequent en-route abnormalities affecting both engines. After no fault was found during post flight maintenance investigation, similar problems occurred starting the left engine and after takeoff from Gatwick, both engines malfunctioned and a MAYDAY return followed. The continuing Investigation has already found that the engine problems were attributable to fuel system contamination following the addition of 37 times the maximum permitted dosage of Kathon biocide during prior scheduled maintenance work.

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.

On 7 January 2019, a Saab 340B made a late touchdown during light snowfall at night close to the edge of the runway at Savonlinna before veering off and eventually stopping. The Investigation attributed the excursion to flight crew misjudgements when landing but also noted the aircraft operator had a long history of similar investigated events in Scandinavia and had failed to follow its own documented Safety Management System. The Investigation also concluded that there was a significant risk that EU competition rules could indirectly compromise publicly-funded air service contract tendering by discounting the operational safety assessment of tendering organisations.

On 11 November 2018, an Embraer 190-100LR just airborne on a post maintenance non revenue positioning flight became extremely difficult to control as it entered cloud despite the complete absence of any flight control warnings. After reversion to Direct Law, partial normal control was regained and, once visual, the flight was guided to an eventually successful landing. The Investigation found that the aircraft had been released from heavy maintenance with the aileron system incorrectly configured and attributed this primarily to the comprehensively dysfunctional working processes at the maintenance facility involved. Extensive airframe deformation meant the aircraft was a hull loss.

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