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8th of April 2022, Foreign Object Debris, Blog #646

With a crew of two, 12 passengers and some cargo a Douglas DC3T was scheduled to operate a flight from Inírida-César Gaviria Trujillo Airport to San Felipe Airport, both in Columbia. At 12:30 lt (local time) the aircraft took off from Puerto Inírida-César Gaviria Trujillo Airport.

The aircraft in its final position (Source & © DIACC)

The take-off, cruise and descent phases were all uneventful and at approximately 14.30 lt the aircraft was approaching its destination airport. A visual approach was flown and with the aircraft fully configured for landing the aircraft touched down at 14:34 lt on runway 18 at San Felipe. During the roll-out, the left main landing gear tyre failed explosively. This caused the aircraft to roll left wing down and start deviating to the left of the runway centerline. The pilot attempted to return the aircraft to the runway centerline with the use of the brakes and differential power. This was unsuccessful and the aircraft left the runway. It entered the flooded safety zone adjacent to the runway, causing it to pivot to the left. The resulting forces were high enough to fail the right-hand main landing gear. As the aircraft came to a stop the crew completed the emergency shutdown checklist and initiated the evacuation of the passengers. All occupants evacuated the aircraft unharmed, the aircraft sustained substantial damage, and there was no post-accident fire.

The aircraft in its final position, note the tyre tracks (Source & © DIACC)

The Autoridad AIG de Colombia – Dirección Técnica de Investigación de Accidentes, (DIACC) was alerted shortly after the occurrence and initiated an investigation.

During the investigation, it became apparent that the left main landing gear tyre had failed due to a Foreign Object. A subsequent inspection of the runway revealed several Foreign Objects on the runway, varying from concrete and rebar to munition cartridges. People and vehicles frequently crossed the runway, taxiways and apron, causing FOD (Foreign Object Debris) to be deposited on the runway It became clear that the airport was not properly fenced off, leaving the airport vulnerable to FOD.

The flat left main landing tyre (Source & © DIACC)

The left main tyre was removed from the aircraft and sent to the operators' maintenance base for a thorough inspection. There it was found that the tyre suffered a 9 cm cut.

A search of the runway area and the aircraft's track revealed an object that most likely caused the puncture. It was an iron rod, found in the path of the aircraft,

The DIACC concluded that the probable cause for the accident was;

"A lateral runway excursion, following the loss of control of the aircraft as a result of the sudden loss of inflation pressure (explosion) of the left main gear tyre, due to a puncture of the tyre by an iron rod (FOD). This iron rod was located on the runway surface.

The suspected cause of the tyre failure, on the runway in the aircraft tyre marks

(Source & © DIACC)

Several safety recommendations were made in the DIACC report, which served as a source for this blog. The report (in Spanish) can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;

8Apr2022 DC3T FOD
Download PDF • 1.69MB

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