Inadvertent sidestick inputs during the final stages of landing led to a China Airlines (CAL) Airbus A330-300 veering from the runway at Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport during an incident last year.
According to an investigation report from Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council (ASC), the A330, registered as B-18352, was operating a flight from Hong Kong to Taipei on 12 August 2012 with 306 people on board, including 13 crew.
During its approach to runway 23L at Taoyuan, the aircraft encountered "momentary heavy showers" which restricted the crew's visibility of the runway. The aircraft then landed on the right side of the runway centreline 1,470ft (448m) from the threshold and continued veering right. To counter this, the crew applied left rudder inputs but to no effect.
The aircraft's right landing gear exited the runway 2,200ft from the threshold, damaging two runway lights and rolling over an adjacent concrete manhole. The crew then used nosewheel steering and rudder inputs to manoeuvre it back on to the runway at 4,2200ft from the threshold.
The aircraft then decelerated and was able to vacate the runway via a taxiway. The crew then requested for the aircraft be towed to the ramp.
No passengers or crew were injured in the incident and the only damage reported were "several minor scratches" on the aircraft's belly skin.
The ASC says that the flightcrew was not aware that the aircraft's sidestick controller was "pressed rightwards intermittently" during the flare, causing the aircraft to veer away from the centreline.
"The flightcrew used immediately the left rudder to correct but did not continue using the left rudder or consider to initiate rejected landing; which made the aircraft veered [sic] off the runway rightward," it adds.
The ASC made several recommendations to CAL on improvements to its flightcrew training and procedures on situational awareness and reacting to sudden falls in visibility, correcting runway veer-offs and decision making for rejected landing when the crew is unable to recover from a veer-off situation. It also recommended that the country's civil aviation authority supervise CAL's reinforcement of its training regime.
The investigator also recommended that Taoyuan airport company review the manhole structures near the runway to ensure that they comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation aerodrome design standards.