Fast landing a factor in Aer Arann nose-gear collapse

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Irish investigators have concluded that excessive approach speed and inadequate pitch control, during a crosswind landing, led to the gear-collapse on an Aer Arann ATR 72-200 at Shannon.

The aircraft, having already executed a go-around after a bounced landing, was conducting a second approach to runway 24 in blustery and turbulent conditions.

It bounced several times before striking the runway nose-down, causing the nose-gear to fail. The ATR skidded along the runway and, although no-one on board was injured, the turboprop was written off.

Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit inquiries determined that the crew had not evaluated the initial aborted approach, or the weather conditions, before making the second attempt.

The inquiry states that wording in the ATR operating manual led the crew, when considering the gusts, to miscalculate the approach speed as 114kt rather than 107kt.

But the investigation also found that both approaches had, in any case, been flown at speeds some 20-25kt higher and that, while the flare had been correctly initiated at 20ft, the aircraft had touched down at about 140kt.

"Incorrect power handling technique caused difficulty in getting the aircraft to touch down during both landings," the AAIU adds in its final report into the 17 July 2011 accident.

The inquiry notes that the captain, who had been the flying pilot, had been newly promoted to command just two months before the event.

It has recommended that Aer Arann institutes a flight-data monitoring programme across its fleet, and improve crosswind training for pilots, while ATR should revise its landing guidance for the turboprop in turbulent conditions.