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22nd of May 2020

A BAe ATP was operating a cargo flight between Guernsey Airport (Channel Islands) and Birmingham International Airport on this day in aviation history. Onboard the flight were the crew of two and cargo. The aircraft's total weight was approximately 30% below the aircraft's maximum weight. (The Maximum Take-Off Weight {MTOW} for a BAe ATP is 22930 kg).

The aircraft leaving the paved area of the runway (source: AAIB)

At 11.42 the aircraft lifted off from the runway at Guernsey Airport and set a course for Birmingham. The weather for the time of arrival at Birmingham was forecasted as a TAF (Terminal Area Forcast);

  • Wind - South-westerly at 16 knots gusting at 24 knots

  • Visibility - excellent

  • Clouds - Scattered at 4000 feet.

The co-pilot was the pilot flying for the flight, and the crew received radar vectors for a localiser DME approach to Runway 33 and flew a stable approach to the runway. During the flare, the aircraft drifted to the right of the centreline with the nose ~20º to the left of the runway. A go-around was initiated and ATC provided vectors for a second Localiser DME approach to Runway 33. At the request of the co-pilot control of the aircraft was handed over to the captain for the second approach. 2 miles from the runway, on the second approach, ATC provided the latest wind as 230º/14 gusting at 27 knots. After a stable approach, the aircraft touched down and started the track to the left and shortly afterwards left the paved area of the runway, 450 meters later the aircraft returned to the paved area of the runway.

The aircraft returning the paved surface of the runway (Source: AAIB)

After a short stop to facilitate a inspection by ground operations the crew taxied the crew taxied the aircraft to it sparking stand. After coming to a stop and after the engines were shutdown an inspection by the airlines maintenance staff revealed no damage to the aircraft. Although one mainwheel was replaced as a precaution. There were no injuries to the occupants, the crew. {A video of the landing can be found at the end of the blog!}

The incident was investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch, and in their report (available by clicking here) the drew the following conclusion (copied from the AAIB report);

"Despite the challenging conditions, the crew did not discuss the conditions in any detail. They did not brief who would be holding the control column during either landing roll, or what actions they would take if they were required to abandon the approach or landing. The first approach resulted in confusion between the crew over going around which could have itself resulted in an incident or accident. The confusion was eventually overcome by the commander calling for a go-around. The second approach resulted in a significant runway excursion due to the use of incorrect crosswind technique and the application of full right aileron. It is likely that the crew’s inexperience of landing in strong crosswinds contributed to the misalignment at touchdown. It is likely this application of right aileron was as a result of an inappropriate motor programme to steer the aircraft right. Neither attempt at landing used the crosswind technique as laid down in the manufacturer’s and operator’s manuals."

Video of the second landing (Source: ©flugsnug)

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