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22nd of April 2008

A British Aerospace BAe-146-200 was operating a domestic flight between Craiova Airport and Bucharest-Otopeni International Airport (both in Romania) on this day in aviation history in 2008. Onboard a crew of 6 and 67 passengers.

The aircraft at its final position, shortly after the accident (Source & © www.aias.gov.ro)

After an uneventful flight, the aircraft was stabilised on the approach for runway 08L at Bucharest when the crew contacted ATC at 18.13 local time. Runway 08L is 3100 meters (10170 feet) long, however, due to work in progress, the last 1400 meters (~4600 feet) of the runway were not available. ATC cleared the aircraft to land on runway 08L, providing the crew with the latest wind information, 280º at 8 kts. During the latter stage of the approach (after receiving the landing clearance) the weather deteriorated rapidly, with heavy rain and gale like winds from varying directions. At 18:15 local time, the aircraft touched down on the centerline of runway 08L, but well down the runway, ~1100 meters (3600 feet) from the threshold. At the time of touchdown, the aircraft had a tailwind and the runway was contaminated with water. With the engines at idle the brakes were applied (the BAe-146 series aircraft is not equipped with reversers), the pilots observed that the deceleration was insufficient to stop the aircraft before the displaced threshold. The captain at this point decided to use the highspeed turn off to vacate the runway. This was done at high speed and with a large turn radius, this caused the #1 mainwheel (left-hand main landing gear outboard wheel) to burst.

The left-hand main landing gear (L) and the failed #1 Main wheel (R) (Source & © www.aias.gov.ro)


While the aircraft was still travelling at a relatively high speed the crew attempted to turn the aircraft on the taxiway. This caused the aircraft to spin 120º to the left around the yaw axis and drift towards the edge of the taxiway. Shortly before coming to a stop the right-hand main landing gear failed and folded under the fuselage. At 18:16 lt, the captain gave a MAYDAY call to ATC informing them they were evacuating the aircraft. There was no fire and all occupants safely evacuated the aircraft, without injuries being sustained.


Estimated ground track of the aircraft (Source & © www.aias.gov.ro)

Damage to the aircraft was so extensive it was considered, Damaged Beyond Repair.

The Romanian authorities investigated the accident and on the 25th of January 2022 published their report, 13 years and 9 months after the incident! Their report (in Romanian) is available by clicking here. They identified the following cause;

  • The runway was vacated at high speed after landing

As contributory causes the following findings were given;

  • Sudden worsening of weather during final approach and landing

  • Late touchdown

The aircraft in its final position, showing the right main landing gear missing. (Source & © www.aias.gov.ro)




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