7th of December 1997
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
It was on this day that G-BNCY, an Air UK Fokker F.27 overran Runway 27 at Guernsey.
G-BNCY in the field after the runway overrun
At 17.23 the aircraft had taken off from Southampton Airport, after previously arriving there from Guernsey. Onboard besides the crew, 50 passengers and 2 kilograms of freight, Enough fuel was carried (1745 kg) for the flight to Guernsey, with enough reserves to return to Southampton should the need arise.
The commander was the Pilot Flying, while the first officer was the Pilot Monitoring on the sector.. During the cruise phase the weather for Guernsey was obtained from the ATIS;
Wind 170/19 gusting 32kt
Visibility 5 km in rain
Clouds scattered at 600 ft, broken at 800 feet
Temperature 11 °C.
Dewpoint 9 °C
QNH 1004 mb
Turbulence and windshear below 200 feet AGL
The approach was briefed by the commander, stating his intention to fly an ILS approach to Runway 27, flaps would be set to 26.5°, for greater roll control (full flap on a Fokker F.27 is 40°), with Vref of 106 knots +10 as approach speed (116 knots), Vref for flaps 40° landing was 96 knots, this was noted on the landing Data Card.
The first approach was aborted as it became clear the aircraft would not touchdown in the touchdown zone of the runway. ATC vectored the aircraft for a second approach to runway 27. The second approach was more stable and on the glide path, at a big drift angle (30° - 40°) due to the crosswind. Three minutes before touch down the aircraft was cleared to land with wind reported at 180°/18. Shortly before touchdown, ATC provided a wind update, stating the wind was 190°/20 kt.
FDR Data from the approach and runway overrun (Source UK AAIB)
Over the threshold on the second approach, the speed was 110 knots. All looked set for a touchdown in the touchdown zone of the runway. When the aircraft was flared both crew noticed the aircraft began to float. Torque was reduced to zero and the aircraft touched down, just outside the touchdown zone. External observers (firefighters) referenced the touchdown zone from their position and based on their estimate the aircraft touched down 750 to 900 meters from the runway end. With full into the wind aileron and fine pitch selected on the propellers, full right rudder was applied. The crew became aware of a skidding sensation. Sixteen seconds after touchdown the aircraft started to drift to the left and it became clear they would not come to a stop on the runway. At a speed of 60 knots the aircraft left the paved runway surface. The first officer issued a mayday call on instruction od the captain. After some distance, the aircraft came to a stop in a field adjacent to the extended centreline of the runway.
The aircraft was subsequently evacuated, resulting in minor injuries to the flight crew and two passengers.
The accident was investigated by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch. An on-site investigation of the aircraft revealed extensive damage revealed the damage was so great it was Beyond Economical Repair. The investigation into the accident concluded that:
The crew was unaware that the Crosswind component was 5 knots above the maximum allowed component 0f 29 knots.
The commander decided to continue with the landing knowing the touchdown was outside the touchdown zone
The application of maximum braking was not
possible due to the differential braking and full rudder application to maintain directional control.
The full accident report can be found by clicking here
The aircraft in February 1997