Indian investigators believe inadequate flare by the first officer of an IndiGo Airlines Airbus A320 led to a hard landing by the twinjet at Raipur.
The aircraft (VT-IGK), arriving from Delhi, had been conducting an ILS approach to runway 24 with the first officer – who was undergoing supervised line training – as the flying pilot.
India’s DGCA states that the twinjet was properly configured and carrying out a normal approach, with only minor deviations, until it reached a height of 50ft.
“The [captain] noticed weak flare and advised the first officer to correct it,” says the inquiry into the 14 December 2016 incident.
Flight-data recorder information shows that pitch stayed steady at 2.1° from 100ft down to just 10ft, and at 8ft the captain intervened to reinforce the flare, bringing the pitch up to 4.9° at the point of touchdown.
The aircraft was descending at 585ft/min and it contacted the runway with a 2.5g impact, bouncing to a height of 9ft over the next 2.1s.
Its descended again, with a higher rate of 668ft/min, and landed harder at 3.16g, above the manufacturer’s structural limit of 2.6g.
None of the 167 passengers and seven crew members was injured. While no damage to the A320 was observed, it was ferried to Delhi for further inspection and precautionary replacement of the landing-gear. The jet was released back to service 16 days after the incident.
The inquiry says the first officer had logged 69h on A320s – out of a total time of about 350h – and she informed investigators that she had been “totally focused on maintaining the centreline” and did not provide sufficient flare on the approach.
Investigators state that the captain noticed the weak flare but did not react quickly enough and order a timely go-around.