Fast, unstable approach led 727 to overrun at Lagos

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Pilots of a Boeing 727-200 freighter continued with a high-speed, unstable landing in poor weather at Lagos, resulting in the trijet's being badly damaged when it overran the wet runway.

Nigerian investigators criticised the captain - who had logged over 7,800h on type - for allowing the first officer to fly the taxing approach, in a squall with 600m visibility, rather than taking control and aborting.

"The decision by the captain to go ahead and land under the severe weather condition was unprofessional," says the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau, in its belatedly-published report into the overrun.

Operated by DHL Aviation, the South African-registered 727 was verging on its maximum landing weight, and had still been travelling at 186kt while just 45ft above the ground. It touched down at 167kt, at least 30kt above its approach reference speed.

The jet landed some 1,426m (4,680ft) beyond the threshold of runway 18L, meaning it was halfway along the 2,745m runway before it made contact - contradicting the captain's statement which said touchdown was in the normal zone.

Flight-recorder data shows the thrust-reversers were immediately deployed. But the inquiry also says the captain ordered a late go-around after the landing.

Seventeen seconds after touchdown the reversers were stowed, but redeployed 5s later. The inquiry says this indicated poor co-ordination as well as "evidence of pressure on the crew and lack of total knowledge of what to do".

Continuous reverse thrust, however, would not have averted the overrun. The aircraft collided with the localiser antenna as it exited the runway, its nose-wheel sheared off and it continued travelling for 400m before coming to a halt. The 727 (ZS-DPF) also sustained damage to its main landing-gear and the leading-edge of its left wing.

During the instrument landing system approach the crew did not adhere to the checklist, nor did the pilots make standard call-outs.

Investigators also highlight instability in the flightpath, citing the momentary arrest of the descent at 550ft and again at 200ft. It says this indicates control problems arising from "probable excessive weight" as well as the weather conditions.

Cockpit-voice recordings also revealed the captain had replied to the tower controller using an "offensive word", it adds, suggesting the crew was under pressure.

None of the occupants was injured in the 7 September 2006 accident, involving flight DV110 from Accra. The final report is one of a batch newly-released by Nigerian investigators.