Flight International — 22 August — 4 September 2017

(C. Jardin) #1


16 | Flight International | 22 August-4 September 2017 flightglobal.com


nvestigators have found that the
undetected release of the park-
ing brake and the premature re-
moval of chocks led to an EasyJet
Airbus A320 suffering damage as
it rolled backwards at Lon-
don Gatwick airport.
The crew had already carried
out cockpit preparation checks,
which included checking that the
parking brake was on.
Maintenance personnel subse-
quently probed a braking system
defect, which had occurred on
the previous sector, and this re-
quired the parking brake to be off.
But there was “no require-
ment” to put the parking brake
back on once the task was com-
pleted, the UK’s Air Accidents
Investigation Branch says, and
the crew was left “unaware” that
it had been released.

The A320 (G-EZTM) was
chocked at the time but, after a
tug was attached for pushback,
the chocks were removed – in
breach of the operator’s proce-
dures because the forward board-
ing stairs were still in position.
Investigators state that the tug
driver found that the radio was
not functioning and – without
communicating with the aircraft
crew – disconnected the tug with
a view to using a different vehicle.
This released the unchocked
aircraft and it rolled backwards,
sustaining damage to its forward
left-hand exit door as well as its
fuselage as it struck the stairs.
The crew halted the movement
with footbrakes.
None of the 168 occupants was
injured during the event, which
occurred on 26 March this year. ■


ussian investigators have de-
tailed the meandering flight-
path taken by a Polar Airlines
Antonov An-26 before it landed
outside the runway after a low-
visibility approach to Belaya
Gora in Russia’s north-east.
The aircraft (RA-26660) had
been conducting the OGBEN2 ar-
rival pattern to the airport follow-
ing a service from Yakutsk on
11 October 2016.
Its approach to Belaya Gora’s
runway 07 required travelling
downwind at a height of 500m
(1,640ft) before turning left on to
the base leg and descending to
400m, maintaining this height
while turning left on to the ex-
tended centreline, and then com-
mencing descent on the glide-
path at a distance of 4.64nm
(8.6km) from the runway.
But the crew opted to begin the
turn on to the base leg early, at a
height of 775m, cutting the cor-
ner, says Russia’s Interstate Avia-
tion Committee. This effectively
reduced the width of the arrival
pattern from 2.15nm to  1.97nm.
Instead of following a rectilin-
ear course, the turns on to the
base leg and the turn on to final
approach were “coupled”, says
the inquiry. But while the crew
selected the correct speed and
bank to reach the turn on to final,
the inquiry says they “did not
consider” the direction and
speed of the wind.
The An-26 overshot the centre-
line by 700m, some 6.2nm from
the runway, still flying at 575m.
As it continued its left turn, at-
tempting to establish itself on the
final approach, it overshot the
centreline a second time, also by
around 700m, before correcting
to the right and aligning on the
approach path.
Investigators determined that
the crew was using a Garmin GPS
satellite receiver for navigation,
rather than the ARK-11 naviga-

tion system on board the aircraft.
Weather conditions were de-
teriorating at Belaya Gora, but
the pilots were not told of the
visibility level, which was
below minimum requirements,
and opted to continue the ap-
The inquiry says the aircraft
had sufficient fuel to execute a
missed approach and proceed to
an alternate airport – either
Moma to the south or
Chokurdakh to the north.
The aircraft was 3.5nm from
the runway, at a height of 270m,
when the crew told air traffic con-
trol that they had the runway
in sight.
But the inquiry has queried
the crew’s claims that the run-
way was visible. While the in-
quiry believes the crew could see
the airport as the aircraft turned
on to final approach, the subse-

quent deterioration in visibility,
due to snow, meant the crew
could not have seen the runway
at that distance.
Some 1.88nm before the run-
way the An-26’s descent rate in-
creased to 4m/s (790ft/min) and
the aircraft began to dip below
the glidepath. It was about 10m
below the glidepath at 1.5nm.
The inquiry points out that the
aircraft’s position could have
been controlled on the final ap-
proach using the ARK-11 system
and the information relayed by
the navigator.
But the crew allowed the air-
craft to drift to the left and, at a
distance of 1.34nm and 100m
height, it was 50m off the centre-
line. The aircraft passed 190m to
the left of the non-directional
beacon, rather than over it, at a
height of just 20m, instead of the
required 70m.
As a result of being too low,
says the inquiry, the crew could
not see the airport’s lights –
which were at full intensity – and
the An-26 touched down 390m
short of the runway and 230m to
the left of its centreline.
Although the aircraft was sub-
stantially damaged, all 33 occu-
pants survived. ■

For the analysis of airline safety and
losses in the first half of 2017, go to:

Flightcrew failed to consider wind speed and direction during incident

Regis Sibille/Wikimedia Commons


Early turn in An-26 descent

behind Polar landing mishap

Turboprop touched down short and to right of the runway after low-visibility approach


EasyJet’s chock

horror as A

rolls backwards

Weather conditions
were deteriorating at
Belaya Gora, but the
pilots were not told of
the visibility level

The crew was left
unaware that the
parking brake had
been released
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