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A320, Ballykelly Northern Ireland UK, 2006

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Summary
On 29 March 2006, an Eirjet Airbus 320 was operating a scheduled passenger flight from Liverpool to Londonderry Airport in Northern Ireland for Ryanair in daylight. At 8nm from LDY, the operating crew reported that they were having problems with the ILS glideslope on approach to Runway 26. They judged that they were too high to carry out a safe landing from the ILS approach and requested permission from ATC to carry out a visual approach. The aircraft, with the commander as PF, then flew a right hand descending orbit followed by a visual circuit from which it landed. Upon landing, the crew were advised by Londonderry ATC, who had had the aircraft in sight when it called Finals and had then cleared it to land that they had, in fact, landed at Ballykelly airfield, a military helicopter base 5nm to the east-north-east of Londonderry.
Event Details
When March 2006
Actual or Potential
Event Type
HF, RI
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Aircraft AIRBUS A-320
Operator Eirjet
Domicile Ireland
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Intended Destination City of Derry Airport
Actual Destination Ballykelly Airfield
Flight Phase Landing
LDG
Location - Airport
Airport Ballykelly Airfield
General
Tag(s) Approach not stabilised
Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures
Approach to Wrong Airport
HF
Tag(s) Ineffective Monitoring
Procedural non compliance
Spatial Disorientation
RI
Tag(s) Wrong Runway
Safety Net Mitigations
Malfunction of Relevant Safety Net No
TAWS Available but ineffective
Outcome
Damage or injury No
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) None Made
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 29 March 2006, an Eirjet Airbus 320 was operating a scheduled passenger flight from Liverpool to Londonderry Airport in Northern Ireland for Ryanair in daylight. At 8nm14,816 m
14.816 km
48,608.924 ft
from LDY, the operating crew reported that they were having problems with the ILS glideslope on approach to Runway 26. They judged that they were too high to carry out a safe landing from the ILS approach and requested permission from ATC to carry out a visual approach. The aircraft, with the commander as PF, then flew a right hand descending orbit followed by a visual circuit from which it landed. Upon landing, the crew were advised by Londonderry ATC, who had had the aircraft in sight when it called Finals and had then cleared it to land that they had, in fact, landed at Ballykelly airfield, a military helicopter base 5nm9,260 m
9.26 km
30,380.577 ft
to the east-north-east of Londonderry. The positions of the two airports are shown on the map below:

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The Investigation

The Investigation was carried out by the UK AAIB. Their Report noted that after initially auto capturing the ILS LLZ and GS and tracking them for 2.5nm, the crew then disconnected the AP the aircraft was aligned to the left of the correct centerline with the contradictory ILS indications being attributed to false signals and advised as such to ATC, despite the fact that the ILS procedure was associated with an on-airport DME for range. EGPWS Terrain and Glideslope warnings were also noted to have been ignored during the latter part of the approach. The runway at Ballykelley, used only by military helicopters and light aircraft and not regularly inspected, was found to have met landing distance requirements. It was noted that the flight crew were unfamiliar with the intended destination airfield and had not been aware of the presence of another airfield near to their destination. The ATCO involved advised the Investigation that previous attempts to land both commercial and light aircraft at Ballykelly had been circumvented by ATC action. Noting that as a result of the incident, an additional alert to the existence of Ballykelly had been issued by NOTAM and would be added to the State AIP, the Investigation made no Safety Recommendations.


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Further Reading

  • The full Report of the Investigation may be seen at the Bookshelf