Pilots of a Lion Air Boeing MD-90 landing at Jakarta activated just one of the aircraft's two thrust-reversers in a failed bid to regain directional control before the jet skidded sideways and sustained serious damage.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee determined that the aircraft's approach to Runway 25L had not been stabilised. While the first officer had been flying, the captain took over the controls at a height of just 100ft from touchdown.

At 50ft the aircraft drifted to the right, the investigators stated, and the captain took corrective action. Weather conditions at the time were poor, with rain, a moderate crosswind and visibility of 1,000m.

Lion Air MD-90 graphic

Examination of the aircraft showed that the right wing-tip had been damaged, with evidence indicating the wing had struck the ground before the main landing-gear made runway contact.

NTSC investigators said this "showed the aircraft conducting an unstabilised approach before [it] touched the ground".

The MD-90 landed to the left of the runway centreline and began crabbing, with its tail to the right, and the captain used the thrust reverser to try to bring the aircraft under control - the starboard reverser was deployed but the port reverser was not.

But the aircraft's tail continued to slide to the right, rotating the aircraft by 90˚ to the left as it skidded along the runway for 1,095m (3,590ft), crossing the right shoulder and coming to a halt in the grass off the right-hand side.

"The [captain's] corrective actions to regain the [centreline] were not successful," says the NTSC report into the 9 March 2009 accident. It adds that the captain had 5,000h on type against the first officer's 800h.

None of the 166 passengers and six crew members was injured but the aircraft (PK-LIL), which had been arriving on a domestic service from Makassar, suffered a main landing-gear collapse and wing damage. The NTSC has recommended that Lion Air review its simulator and cockpit resource management training programmes.

Source: Flight International