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22nd of February 1998

A Boeing 737-2k3 had completed an uneventful series of flights earlier in the day and was parked on the ramp at Kaduna Airport, Nigeria for over an hour. It was at this time, at 14.45 UTC, that the Chief Pilot of the airline requested ATC for clearance to fly a circuit with the aircraft. ATC denied the request as visibility was 600 meters which was below the landing minima.


The burned-out wreckage of the aircraft ©Srdjan

The Chief Pilot then suggested to ATC that he could carry out a "Rejected Take-Off" training on the runway, which was approved by ATC. This was approved by ATC and at 15.37 UTC the Chief Pilot requested clearance for the "Rejected Take-Off" which was granted and taxi instructions were issued. The aircraft taxied to the holding point for runway 05, onboard 24 persons, and fuel for a 4 hours flight.

Visibility at the time was 600 meters and the wind was 090º at 10 knots. After receiving the clearance to enter the runway and to start the training the following Rejected Take Off training runs were carried out;

  1. 16.01 UTC The first aborted take-off run was carried out along Runway 05, followed by a 180-degree turn for a second run down runway 23

  2. 16.06 UTC The second aborted take-off run was carried out along Runway 23, followed by a 180-degree turn for the third run down runway 05.

  3. 16.09 UTC The third aborted take-off run was carried out along Runway 05, followed by a 180-degree turn for the fourth run down Runway 23. Before the fourth run, the first officer took the left seat and the Chief Pilot (Captain) took the right seat in the flight deck.

  4. 16.13 UTC The fourth aborted take-off run was carried out along Runway 23.

The burned-out wreckage of the aircraft ©Srdjan

At the end of the fourth run, the left main landing gear #2 (inboard) brake unit had started to burn, causing a trail of molten rubber from the #2 mainwheel over a length of 270 meters along the runway centerline.

Fifty meters from the end of the runway the #2 (lefthand inboard) mainwheel failed and hydraulic oil started to leak from the brakes. Pieces of the wheel rim lay on the taxiway together with a hydraulic oil spill over a length of 150 meters.

The #1 (lefthand outboard) tire failed as well and this caused the aircraft to swerve to the right, this was corrected by the crew. The drag from the failed tires and the crew's corrections caused a nearly 700-meter long zigzag motion. At that point, the aircraft could not be moved easily as both rims on the lefthand main landing gear had failed.

The fire brigade had seen the aircraft in trouble and were already rolling when the crew requested their assistance.

However, the fire was so intense, fed by the large quantity of fuel onboard the aircraft, that the firefighters could not save the aircraft and it burned down Tire marks and scratches on the runway completely. (Source; investigation report) The incident was investigated by the Kenyan Federal Ministry of Aviation, (full report available by clicking here).

They concluded that (amongst others);

  1. The aborted take-off procedure used was not the standard recommended by the manufacturer.

  2. 24 passengers were carried illegally during the exercises.

  3. The pilot violated crew rest regulations

  4. Four aborted take-off runs were made in a 12-minute time frame. In the prevailing conditions (weather, aircraft weight, speeds used etc) the minimum cooling time for the brakes after the first run should have been at least 10 minutes.

In their report the investigators stated, quote; "With the foregoing, the Training Captain and Instructor on this flight is considered liable and totally blameworthy for the accident. They concluded their report by issuing a ban for the Chief Pilot to operate an aircraft in Nigerian airspace.

The burned-out wreckage of the aircraft (Source; investigation report)

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