If you wish to contribute or participate in the discussions about articles you are invited to join SKYbrary as a registered user

 Actions

Contribution of Unstabilised Approaches to Aircraft Accidents and Incidents

From SKYbrary Wiki

Article Information
Category: Toolkit for ATC - Stabilised Approach Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC
Content source: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL
Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL

Description

The Flight Safety Foundation established that unstabilised approaches were a causal factor in 66 % of 76 approach and landing accidents and incidents worldwide between 1984 and 1997.

It was found that many low and slow (low energy) approaches have resulted in controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) because of inadequate vertical position awareness. Low energy approaches may also result in "loss-of-control" or "land-short" events.

High energy approaches have resulted in runway excursions and also have contributed to inadequate situational awareness in some of CFIT accidents.

It was found that a crew’s inability to control the aircraft to the desired flight parameters (airspeed, altitude, rate of descent) was a major factor in 45 % of 76 approach-and-landing accidents and serious incidents.

Flight-handling difficulties have occurred in situations which included rushing approaches, attempts to comply with demanding ATC clearances, adverse weather conditions and improper use of automation.

Consequences

Unstabilised approaches can be followed by:

  1. Runway excursions
  2. Landing short
  3. Controlled flight into terrain
  4. Hard landings
  5. Tail Strike

Contributory factors

Weather conditions or approach types which can increase the chances of an unstabilised approach are:

  1. wake turbulence
  2. strong winds
  3. low visibility
  4. heavy precipitation
  5. an approach with no visual references (e.g. night or IMC)
  6. visual approach
  7. circling approach

Aircraft Accidents and Incidents Related to Unstabilised Approach Listed on SKYbrary

  • F50, Groningen Netherlands, 2007 (On 18 May 2007, a Fokker 50 being operated by Belgian airline VLM on a passenger flight from Amsterdam to Groningen landed long and at excessive speed after a visual day approach to runway 05 at destination and ran off the end of the runway onto grass. None of the 14 occupants were injured and the aircraft suffered only minor damage with two runway lights being damaged.)
  • A320, Khartoum Sudan, 2005 (On 11 March 2005, an Airbus A321-200 operated by British Mediterranean Airways, executed two unstable approaches below applicable minima in a dust storm to land in Khartoum Airport, Sudan. The crew were attempting a third approach when they received information from ATC that visibility was below the minimum required for the approach and they decided to divert to Port Sudan where the A320 landed without further incident.)
  • T154, vicinity Smolensk Russian Federation, 2010 (On 10 April 2010, a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M on a pre-arranged VIP flight into Smolensk Severny failed to adhere to landing minima during a non precision approach with thick fog reported and after ignoring a TAWS ‘PULL UP’ Warning in IMC continued descent off track and into the ground. All of the Contributory Factors to the pilot error cause found by the Investigation related to the operation of the aircraft in a range of respects including a failure by the crew to obtain adequate weather information for the intended destination prior to and during the flight.)
  • JS32, Torsby Sweden, 2014 (On 31 January 2014, an Estonian-operated BAE Jetstream 32 being used under wet lease to fulfil a government-funded Swedish domestic air service requirement landed long at night and overran the end of the runway. The Investigation concluded that an unstabilised approach had been followed by a late touchdown at excessive speed and that the systemic context for the occurrence had been a complete failure of the aircraft operator to address operational safety at anything like the level appropriate to a commercial operation. Failure of the responsible State Safety Regulator to detect and act on this situation was also noted.)
  • B738, Sint Maarten Eastern Caribbean, 2017 (On 7 March 2017, a Boeing 737-800 crew making a daylight non-precision approach at Sint Maarten continued it without having established the required visual reference to continue beyond the missed approach point and then only realised that they had visually ‘identified’ a building as the runway when visibility ahead suddenly improved. At this point the approach ground track was corrected but the premature descent which had inadvertently been allowed to occur was not noticed and only after the second of two EGPWS Alerts was a go-around initiated at 40 feet above the sea.)
  • … further results


Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC

Further Reading

CANSO

Part of the Stabilised Approach Awareness Toolkit for ATC