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24th of March 1996

Updated: Mar 22

A Vickers 808C Viscount was scheduled for two training flights from Belfast on this day in aviation history, in 1996. Onboard a training captain and a first officer who had just completed the simulator part of the common course. The two flights were to complete the training program for the command upgrade and complete the base check and initial line check.

The damaged left-hand propellors.

The aircraft with all 4 propellors badly damaged.

The first of the flights started at 18.15lt when the aircraft taxied from its parking position towards the runway for take-off. At 18.27lt the aircraft took off and in the next hour and 43 minutes, the planned training items were successfully covered. At 20.10 the aircraft landed back in Belfast, after a short taxi the aircraft was back at its parking position, completing the first training flight, at 20.15lt. The crew left the engines running while they conducted a short briefing for the second training flight. At 20.31 the aircraft initiated take off from Runway 07 at Belfast. Just after the aircraft was rotated, an outboard engine failure was simulated by retarding the throttle for that engine. The appropriate actions were simulated and the aircraft was set up for a 3-engine ILS approach and go-around for runway 17, followed by a 3-engine VOR approach to Runway 07 for a full-stop landing. This full-stop landing was followed by a full-power take-off from runway 07.

After a short flight, the crew requested and were given clearance for a VOR/DME approach to runway 7 at Belfast. The 'Initial Approach' checklist was completed "down to the line' (The checklist is split up into two sections, "down to the line' and "below the line"). No additional checklists were called for or completed. The gear down selection was part of the "below the line" part of the Initial Approach Checklist, with a gear position confirmation during the Finals Checklist. The approach was stable and the flaps were selected as the speed reduced. As the throttles were retarded in the flare, the gear warning horn sounded and a short while later the aircraft settled on its fuselage on runway 07. After coming to a stop the necessary checks were performed and the crew evacuated the aircraft after securing the aircraft, Less than a minute later the Airport Fire FIghters were on the scene.

The aircraft in better shape, prior to the accident.

Damage to the aircraft consisted of;

  • Severe bending and damage to all four propellers.

  • Abrasion damage to the lower fuselage

  • Abrasion damage to the #3 engine (Righthand inboard)

  • Abrasion and distortion of the inboard flaps

  • Small fuel leak from the #3 engine.

Taking all the damage and the age of the aircraft into account, she was declared damaged beyond economic repair and broken up for scrap after useable parts had been removed,

The Air Accident Investigation Branch did not carry out a full investigation, only an AAIB Bulletin was issued, which can be read by clicking here. No probable cause was identified.

What was identified was the fact that this aircraft had a configuration warning system that would only give a gear warning based on throttle position (throttles at idle and gear not down), while on other aircraft also the flap position could trigger a gear warning if the gear was not down and locked with the flaps selected down to 68%. It was also noted that the aircraft was not fitted with a GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) as it had been granted an exemption to the requirement of having a GPWS installed as the aircraft was a freighter aircraft,

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