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21st of February 2007

A Boeing 737-300 was operating a domestic scheduled passenger service from Soekarno Hatta Airport, Jakarta to Juanda Airport, Surabaya, East Java in Indonesia. 7 crew and 148 passengers were on board the aircraft. The flight had progressed without any problems. The weather at Surabaya was not perfect, with thunderstorms and rain, the was 240/7 with visibility ~8000 meters.

The bent, buckled, twisted and torn fuselage (Source; NTSC, Indonesia)

During the approach to Surabaya, the crew had a conversation about the company fuel policy and its training program. This continued to 2000 feet AGL. No checklists were called for by the pilot flying or the pilot monitoring during the descent. When on final approach for runway 28 when passing 800 feet AGL the approach lights became visible through the rain and ATC transmitted the landing clearance to the aircraft. During the approach, the captain mentioned that the approach was too high on two occasions, first when the aircraft altitude was 1000 feet, and 200 feet. At 500 feet, the GPWS alert of ‘sink rate, sink rate’ was recorded. (The aircraft rate of descend was greater than 1500 feet).

The aircraft shortly after the evacuation (Source; NTSC, Indonesia)

After the PIC reminded the co-pilot that the approach was too high at 200 feet, the PIC decided to take over control. After the PIC had control of the aircraft, the GPWS issued a warning of ‘sink rate, sink rate’ and ‘whoop, whoop, pull up’ (this was 35 seconds prior to touchdown)

The aircraft touched down hard (vertical speed 2000 feet/min) with the right mainwheel of the paved surface of the runway. FDR data would later reveal the vertical acceleration at touchdown was 5G. The aircraft stopped 100 meters short of a taxiway exit. During the roll out the fuselage, aft of row 16, bent downwards causing a panic amongst the passengers. The cabin crew evacuated the passengers via the available exits using the slides, which were inflated when the doors opened. Two of the passengers received minor injuries.

The broken keel beam (left) and the view from the rear of the cabin looking forward (Source; NTSC, Indonesia)

The damage to the aircraft was severe;

  1. Aft of row 16 / the wheel well area the fuselage was bent

  2. The skin was buckled and twisted, torn in places

  3. The keel beam was bent an twisted, being displaced ~6 inches (15 cm)

  4. Wheel wells deformed

  5. Both landing gears had bottoming marks on the bottom of the shock struts.

  6. The right-hand nose landing wheel hub was cracked, wheel bearing was damaged.

The FDR data from the approach and landing (Source; NTSC, Indonesia)

The investigators concluded their report (Available by clicking here) that;

  • The approach was unstable, even below 200 feet

  • The aircraft had an excessive sink rate at touchdown

  • The crew did not adhere to several SOP's

  • The crew did not respond to GPWS warnings

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