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7th of April 2005

A Fokker F.28 Fellowship mk.4000 was operating a domestic flight in Ecuador between the airports of Quito-Mariscal Sucre Airport and Coca Airport. Onboard a crew of 5 and 60 passengers.

The aircraft after the evacuation of the passengers © Alejandro Labaka

After a 09.35lt departure from Quito, the aircraft only climbed to flight level 60 for the short flight to Coca (85 nautical miles / 157 kilometres). At 09.50 the crew contacted ATC at Coca Airport, reporting they were 20 miles out at FL60 and requesting a visual approach to runway 15. ATC cleared the aircraft for the approach and provided the latest weather details to the crew;

  • Winds calm

  • QNH 29.94 inHg

  • Temperature 26ºC

ATC subsequently instructed the crew to report when on finals. 4 minutes later (at 09.54 lt) the crew contacted ATC as instructed and reported they were on finals. ATC then cleared the aircraft to land on runway 15, a 2000 meter asphalt runway.

The crew were under the impression that the runway was short and decided that a touchdown as close to the threshold would be necessary to have enough runway length to stop the aircraft without having to use the brakes excessively.

Close up o the aircraft nose section © Alejandro Labaka

Instead of touching down on the threshold, the aircraft touched down 4.5 meters in front of the threshold of runway 15 causing both main gears to be torn off. The aircraft continued down the runway on its belly and the nose gear for a distance of ~112 meters before leaving the paved area of the runway and finally coming to a stop against a concrete wall.

7 of the 60 passengers on board got injured during the incident. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair after having flown 36.087 hours and 46662 flights since its first flight in 1986.

The aircraft is in better condition than previous pictures ©Ander Aguirre

The incident was investigated and part of the investigation was the aircraft landing performance. Based on the Aircraft Flight Manual the aircraft should have passed over the runway threshold at a height of 50 feet (~15 meters) and would have only needed a landing distance of 930 meters with the following variables taken into

account;

  • Airport pressure altitude

  • Temperature

  • Aircraft at maximum landing weight

  • Full flaps, 42 º

  • Speedbrake open

  • LIftdumpers armed (and deploying on touchdown)

  • antiskid operative

An investigation into the accident was launched by the Dirección General de Aviación Civil Ecuador, and they concluded that the probable cause was:

"The crew used techniques and procedures that were contradicting the techniques and procedures as laid down in the Flight Crew Operating Manual and the Standard Operating Procedures of the airline."

Contributing factors were;

  • Failure to perform a briefing prior to the approach and landing

  • Non-observance of the sterile cockpit principle

  • The mistaken idea of the crew that the runway was short for the F.28 mk.4000

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