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B742, Brussels Belgium, 2008

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Summary
On 25 May 2008 a Kalitta Air B747-200F, which was departing Brussels on a cargo flight to Bahrain, overran Runway 20 at Brussels Airport, Belgium during a rejected take-off. The aircraft came to a stop 300m beyond the end of runway 20 and broke into three parts. The crew of four and one passenger safely evacuated from the aircraft and suffered only minor injuries.
Event Details
When May 2008
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Bird Strike, Human Factors, Runway Excursion
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Aircraft BOEING 747-200
Operator Kalitta Air
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Cargo)
Origin Brussels Airport
Intended Destination Bahrain International
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne No
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Take Off
TOF
Location - Airport
Airport Brussels Airport
General
Tag(s) Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures,
Inadequate Airport Procedures
BS
Tag(s) Engine damage,
Engine Ingestion
HF
Tag(s) Ineffective Monitoring,
Violation,
Procedural non compliance
RE
Tag(s) Overrun on Take Off,
RTO decision after V1
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Injuries Few occupants
Fatalities None"None" is not in the list (Few occupants, Many occupants, Most or all occupants) of allowed values for the "Fatalities" property. ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation,
Airport Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 25 May 2008 a Kalitta Air B747-200F, which was departing Brussels on a cargo flight to Bahrain, overran Runway 20 at Brussels Airport, Belgium during a rejected take-off. The aircraft came to a stop 300m beyond the end of runway 20 and broke into three parts. The crew of four and one passenger safely evacuated from the aircraft and suffered only minor injuries.

The Investigation

The Belgian AAIU carried out the Accident Investigation and noted that the initial phase of the take-off run had occurred normally with the speed increasing under a constant acceleration until one of the engines experienced a bird strike. This caused a momentary loss of power, accompanied by a loud bang, which was heard by the crew and external witnesses, and by flames which were seen from the Control Tower. The bang and the loss of power occurred 4 seconds after the V1 speed call had been made. Two seconds after the bang, all four engines were retarded to idle and braking action was initiated. The aircraft crossed a small embankment and dropped approximately 4 metres onto the perimeter road, which caused it to break into three parts. It continued moving and subsequently came to a stop just before a 20 metre deep railway cutting was encountered.

Boeing 747 crash bxl
source: Simon Schoeters

The Final Report was published on 10 July 2009 and found that “the accident was caused by the decision to reject the take-off 12 knots after passing V1 speed” and that “the following factors contributed to the accident:

  • Number 3 engine experienced a bird strike, causing it to stall.
  • The aircraft lined up at the B1 intersection although the take-off parameters had been computed using the full length of the runway.
  • The limited situational awareness of the crew.
  • Less than maximum use of deceleration devices.
  • A RESA which, although it conforms to the applicable International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards, does not also conform to the ICAO Recommendation for length.”

Safety Recommendations

Four Safety Recommendations were made:

  1. The Kalitta Air Fight Crew Training Program and related documentation should be modified for both initial and recurrent types qualification to highlight the risks involved in rejecting TO around V1, as well as the importance of respecting procedures.
  2. The RESA for Runway 20 should be extended to the minimum length recommended by ICAO, either through physical extension or by the use of the EMAS system or by any other suitable means and that the case for applying this recommendation to other runways at Brussels and to runways at other Belgian Airports should be evaluated.
  3. The Bird Control Unit at Brussels Airport should be reinforced with its’ leader being dedicated to the task. Bird Control Unit staff training should be improved to include all topics related to wild life in an airport environment and a request for a waiver for restrictions which currently apply to control by lethal methods should be considered.
  4. The Belgian AIP should be revised to include the same requirement for flight crew to notify the Tower when the use of the full runway 20 length is required as applies for Runway 25R departures.

Related Articles

Further Reading

The full Belgian AAIU Report.