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A320, vicinity Addis Ababa Ethiopia, 2003

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Article Information
Category: Controlled Flight Into Terrain Controlled Flight Into Terrain
Content source: Skybrary skybrary
Content control: Eurocontrol Eurocontrol


On 31 March 2003, an AIRBUS A-320, operated by BMed, narrowly missed colliding with the ground during a non-precision approach to Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.


The following is an extract taken from the UK AAIB report into the incident:

"[The] A320..on a flight from Alexandria...to Addis Abeba, Eithiopia, carried out two approaches using Addis Abeba [VOR] and associated...DME. On the second approach the aircraft crossed over a ridge of high ground in...IMC and came within 56 feet of terrain at a location 5 nm to the northeast of the airport. As the aircraft croosed the ridge the crew, alerted a few seconds earlier by a radio altimeter (RA) height callout, carried out a go-around: at the same time the...EGPWS generated a "TOO LOW TERRAIN" aural alert.

The investigation determined that the antenna of the ADS VOR had suffered water ingress and was not functioning correctly. The correct maintenance procedures for the ADS VOR/DME and its associated monitoring equipment were not followed.

The aircraft received erroneous information from the ADS VOR which was fed to the flight deck VOR display, the FMS, the navigation displays and the EGPWS computer with its associated Terrain Awareness Display (TAD). A single common position source error thus adversely affected all these apparently independant navigation/situational awareness systems. The existing certification standards for the aircraft navigation systems were met but were not sufficient to protect against this problem."

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