A Gulfstream IV was put at high risk when its flightpath was badly managed by the crew as they were turning back to Kerry airport with a minor fault, according to an Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit report.
The "serious incident" on 13 July 2009 began just after the GIV (VT-MST) took off from Runway 08 at Kerry, bound for London Luton, UK when the captain's windshield cracked and the crew requested a return to Kerry. The AAIU report criticises the pilots for poor crew resource management leading to a serious loss of situational awareness.
After being cleared to return to Kerry, the crew initiated what they thought was a descent for landing on Runway 26, but the aircraft was paralleling the instrument landing system approach path to that runway some 10km (5.4nm) to the south.
The crew had ignored the Kerry controller's advice for the return and did not provide its specific intentions nor a requested position report. Since Kerry does not have radar, the controller was unable to provide vectors. Intervention in the aircraft's 1,300ft/min descent with gear and flaps down came when a controller at Shannon radar called Kerry on the telephone and said the aircraft should be told to climb immediately.
As Kerry delivered that instruction, the aircraft's enhanced ground proximity system alerted the pilots. The minimum height above the ground that the GIV reached was 702ft (215m), still in cloud, says the AAIU.
Kerry handed the aircraft over to Shannon radar, and Shannon vectored the crew to intercept the ILS for Runway 26. It finally landed safely at Kerry, but not without having to carry out a 360° turn before the ILS approach because of confusion caused when the co-pilot programmed the approach to Runway 26 at Luton, instead of Kerry, into the flight management system.
The AAIU found that the No 1 engine had suffered severe damage to its fan and blades in both compressors from ingestion of an unidentified metal foreign object, but the crew had not reported this. The engine subsequently had to be changed.
After landing and disembarking the passenger, the crew had started up the engines again to test the No 1 because it was vibrating. The AAIU said this test served no purpose and caused more harm to the engine.
Flightglobal's ACAS database lists the aircraft as owned by Sunrise Air. It has been leased to Asia Aviation since May 2007.