French probe Onur A321's low approach

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French investigators are looking into a low-altitude incident involving a Turkish-registered aircraft which descended to less than 50ft above runway height while still 3nm from landing.

The Onur Air flight, operated by an Airbus A321, had been approaching the French coastal city of Deauville after a service from Izmir on 26 September.

Deauville has a single runway designated 12/30. The A321 had initially approached on a heading of around 300° but French investigation authority BEA says the crew carried out a visual manoeuvre for runway 12.

During the final turn, while still 3nm west of the runway threshold, the aircraft descended to a minimum altitude of 528ft above sea level.

BEA says this equated to just 49ft above the runway height at Deauville, although it has not specified whether the aircraft was over water or land at the time. On a normal 3° glidepath an aircraft would typically be about 1,000ft above the runway at 3nm.

Investigators have not detailed whether the crew received any warnings, either from cockpit systems or air traffic control, but state that the crew “regained altitude” and subsequently landed on runway 30.

Meteorological data from the airport at the time of the approach – which was during daylight – indicates mist and visibility of around 5km.

BEA describes the event as a “near collision with terrain” during visual manoeuvres. It says 220 people were on board the jet (TC-OBZ) at the time, but none was injured.