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  • IN FOCUS: Accident reports published July-December 2011

IN FOCUS: Accident reports published July-December 2011

Pilots should be instructed in the science and practice of tailwind landings, according to a US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation from its study of the 22 December 2009 American Airlines Boeing 737-800 runway overrun at Kingston, Jamaica.

The NTSB says the crew decided to make a straight-in approach to the 2,713m (8,900ft) Runway 12, which had a tailwind of 12kt (26km/h), despite the ATC suggestion that the crew circle to land on Runway 30. The aircraft (N977AN) touched down some 1,200m into the runway, and also used a 30° flap setting, despite a company recommendation that full flap would be best for tailwind landings. There is no Federal Aviation Administration requirement at present that pilots should be specifically trained for tailwind landings.

The NTSB says that in this accident the aircraft would have been capable of stopping within the landing distance available using a 30° flap setting if the crew had managed the approach and landing better.

The French government is becoming impatient with its Comoros Islands counterpart because of its failure to ensure the completion and publication of the technical report on the 30 June 2009 Yemenia Airbus A310-300 accident.

The aircraft crashed into the sea at night while circling to land at Moroni, killing 152 of the 153 people on board. The aircraft made an ILS approach to Runway 02 on a stormy night but, because of the wind direction, had to break off and circle to land on 20. It was during the circling phase that the aircraft descended into the dark sea.

The recorders were recovered in 2009 and French investigator BEA, which has been closely involved in the probe, says a considerable amount of information has been known since then, but the investigation process stalled some time ago and appears to be going nowhere.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued an airworthiness directive ordering the modification of the Saab 340's stall warning systems following an accident to a Sol Líneas Aéreas Saab A340 crash in Argentina in May 2011 and numerous other incidents ­- all associated with icing-induced stalling.

The AD calls for improved logic in the system, enabling it to anticipate icing-induced stall conditions, and states it must be modified within two years.

The German investigator BFU has determined that a 19 November 2006 overrun on take-off by a Farnair Hungary Fokker F27-500 freighter at Monchengladbach could not rotate because ballast loaded in the aft end of the freight bay to put the centre of gravity within limits was only about half the weight it should have been. The crew aborted take-off when the aircraft refused to rotate, and overran by 55m.

The Australian Transport Safety Board has reported on the mysterious, but violent, inflight upset on 7 October 2008 involving a Qantas Airbus A330-300 en route from Singapore to Perth, Australia.

An erroneous air data inertial reference unit (ADIRU) signal spike caused the aircraft to pitch down violently in the cruise, injuring 119 of the 315 occupants. This was followed by a second significant, but less violent, pitch down.

The aircraft reaction was intermittent signal spikes indicating false, but extreme, angle of attack information. The ATSB says it has been unable to determine what caused the signal spikes in the Northrop Grumman ADIRU, but that it did not appear to be a hardware or software fault, and similar occurrences have been rare - three in 128 million hours of operation.

The problem is being dealt with by rewriting the computer algorithms to make it less likely that a signal spike - or series of spikes - will have the effect they did on the Qantas flight.

Russian investigator MAK says the Bombardier Challenger 604 operated by Jet Connection Business Flight that crashed on take-off from Almaty, Kazakhstan on 26 December 2007, did so because the captain failed to switch on the anti-ice systems for take-off despite snow and icing conditions.

The aircraft had undergone de-icing before taxiing out but the captain used an abbreviated pre-take-off checklist, which did not include selecting the anti-ice system as "on". The aircraft made an icing-induced uncommanded right roll just after lift-off and crashed, says the MAK, which has recommended that the use of an abbreviated pre-take-off checklist should be abandoned.

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