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AT43, vicinity Stansted UK, 2007

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Summary
On 18 January 2007 an ATR 42-300 freighter developed a control difficulty just after a night take off from Stansted UK, which led the flight crew to declare an emergency and undertake an immediate return to land. The landing was uneventful but the approach flown was unstable, with EGPWS warnings, and the origin of the handling difficulty was considered to be, in part, due to inappropriate control inputs by one of the pilots.
Event Details
When January 2007
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Human Factors, Loss of Control
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Aircraft ATR ATR-42-300/320
Operator Not Recorded
Type of Flight Public Transport (Cargo)
Origin Stansted
Intended Destination Dublin Airport
Actual Destination Stansted
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed Yes
Flight Phase Climb
ICL / ENR
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity Stansted
General
Tag(s) Approach not stabilised
HF
Tag(s) Ineffective Monitoring,
Manual Handling,
Inappropriate crew response (automatics)
LOC
Tag(s) Flight Control Error"Flight Control Error" is not in the list (Airframe Structural Failure, Significant Systems or Systems Control Failure, Degraded flight instrument display, Uncommanded AP disconnect, AP Status Awareness, Non-normal FBW flight control status, Loss of Engine Power, Flight Management Error, Environmental Factors, Bird or Animal Strike, ...) of allowed values for the "LOC" property.,
Temporary Control Loss,
Extreme Bank,
Take off Trim Setting
EPR
Tag(s) “Emergency” declaration
Safety Net Mitigations
Malfunction of Relevant Safety Net No
GPWS Partially effective
Outcome
Damage or injury No
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Airworthiness
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 18 January 2007 an ATR 42-300 freighter developed a control difficulty just after a night take off from Stansted UK, which led the flight crew to declare an emergency and undertake an immediate return to land. The landing was uneventful but the approach flown was unstable, with Terrain Avoidance and Warning System (TAWS) warnings, and the origin of the handling difficulty was considered to be, in part, due to inappropriate control inputs by one of the pilots.

Synopsis

This is an extract from the report published by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch (UK) (AAIB), UK:

"Soon after takeoff from London Stansted Airport the aircraft developed a yawing motion which persisted as a yawing/rolling motion of varying severity. The yaw damper could not be engaged. An emergency was declared and the aircraft returned to Stansted. No mechanical fault was found which would have caused the motion, although an undetected and intermittent fault affecting components within the rudder control system could have degraded the aircraft’s handling characteristics with the yaw damper not engaged, as could a takeoff with the rudder control system incorrectly configured. The nature of the motion and observed control deflections were such that an inadvertent and inappropriate rudder input by a pilot would have been required for the oscillations to persist.

Four Safety Recommendations were made, concerning operational advice to flight crews and ongoing serviceability checks for Flight Data Recorders (FDRs)."

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LOC

Further Reading

For further information see the full report published by the AAIB (UK).