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27th of May 1985

A Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar operated on a scheduled passenger flight between Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and Leeds-Bradford International Airport, West Yorkshire (England). Onboard a crew of 14 and 398 passengers. It was the second sector for the crew.

The aircraft shortly after the evacuation, with all slides still inflated. (© Steven Jones)

Neither one of the flight crew had landed at Leeds-Bradford before and the commander was the pilot flying. The crew contacted Leeds-Bradford ATC when 15 miles southwest of the airport while descending to Flight Level 50. The weather at that time was;

  • Wind 190º / 5 knots

  • Visibility 6 kilometers

  • 1/8 cloud at 1000 feet & 3/8 cloud at 2000 feet.

  • After moderate rain recently the runway was wet

The approach was briefed as a radar surveillance approach with the flap set to 42º and the autothrottle active for landing. Reverse to be selected to 90% N1 on touchdown by the co-pilot. The approach to runway 14 was flown as briefed and was stabilised with the aircraft on the correct glide path, in the right configuration and at the right speed.

The necessary call-outs were made and at 30 feet radio altitude the throttles were closed, shortly afterwards followed by a firm touchdown after a short flare. Touchdown occurred ~500 feet from the threshold of the runway at a speed of 144 knots, with ~1282 meters of runway and 137 meters of paved overrun area remaining. As briefed reverse was selected and brakes applied, 4 seconds after touchdown the crew commented "GOSH THE RED LIGHTS COME QUICKLY DONT THEY", at that time 993 meters of the runway were remaining.

Start of the recovery (Source: https://uk.flightaware.com © Unknown)


At 380 meters from the runway end the commanders stated "I''VE GOT MY FEET ON THE BRAKES AS FAR AS I CAN" in response to that statement the copilot increased the reverser thrust to the maximum. With the end of the runway approaching the commander applied full left nosewheel steering to avoid colliding with the runway 32 approach lights.

With a speed of ~30 knots, the aircraft left the paved area of the runway. The nose landing gear failed and folded back into the fuselage. Both main gears dug into the mud approximately 10 meters from the runway edge.


FDR Data of the accident (Source and © AAIB)


The aircraft had come to a halt at a 14º nose-down attitude and an evacuation was ordered, All doors and escape slides operated as designed and all passengers had left the aircraft in ~90 seconds. There were no serious injuries sustained during the evacuation. The accident was investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and on the 7th of July 1987, they issued their final report, available by clicking here. The report lists 15 findings and is concluded with the following statement on the cause;

"The accident was caused by the failure of the aircraft to achieve the expected level of braking effectiveness on the wet runway"
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