Wizz A321 at Sofia on Feb 26th 2018, rejected takeoff due to unreliable airspeed
Last Update: February 13, 2022 / 19:03:57 GMT/Zulu time
The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground for about 8 hours before returning to service.
Two other company A321 needed to divert to Budapest due to unreliable airspeed indications the same day, see Incident: Wizz A321 at Sofia on Feb 26th 2018, unreliable airspeed and Incident: Wizz A321 at Sofia on Feb 26th 2018, unreliable airspeed indications.
On Mar 8th 2018 Bulgaria's AAIU reported the aircraft had been parked at the apron for more than 6 hours in low temperatures and snow fall. The aircraft was subsequently de-iced. During the takeoff roll the airspeed indicators showed a wide range of unreliable values and variations prompting the crew to reject takeoff. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by Bulgaria's AAIU.
On Feb 13th 2022 the Bulgarian AAIU released their final report into all three occurrences at Sofia of Feb 26th 2018 concluding the probable causes of the serious incidents were:
Based on the analysis performed, the Commission points out that the serious incident resulted from the following causes:
1. Non-compliance with the adverse weather conditions of snowfall by the ground crews performing and participating in the preparation of the aircraft for the flights related to the serious incident.
2. Admission to flight of the aircraft with the presence of ice after De-icing procedure with anti-icing fluid by the ground crew, organizing and performing the treatment.
The AAIU analysed that there were no deficiencies in the contracts regarding de-icing procedures carried out by the contracted ground handling operator. There also were no deficiencies in the task cards with respect to de-icing at Sofia Airport that day.
The AAIU also analysed that there were no deficiencies in the flight crews' flight preparations and actions. The AAIU wrote:
The Commission did not detect the weaknesses in the actions of the flight crews, errors and deviations from the prescribed procedures. Pre-flight preparation has been thoroughly conducted, severe weather and RWY conditions have been foreseen. It is a pilots responsibility to reject or to continue take-off and the decision to ensure safety has been taken in time deficit.-Thanks to the pilot’s skills, they have coped with the difficult situation and the flights have ended uneventfully.
The AAIU wrote however:
There is no evidence of snow removal and De-icing protective spraying on the front of the fuselage of the aircraft. The terms and responsibilities of the contract between the aviation operator and airport operators are set out in the ground handling agreement cover sheet in force at the time of the event.
The AAIU wrote:
The aircrafts of WIZZ AIR landed the day before at Sofia Airport and during their stay were covered with a significant amount of snow, and the fuselage of the aircraft has cooled to temperatures below 0°. According to the explanations of the ground crew during the preparation, the aircraft were treated with Type II liquid in the areas of the wing and tails, but not in the area of the front part of the cabin above the receivers for dynamic and static pressure.
In preparation for the flight, the cockpit and passenger cabin are heated, as a result of which the snow accumulated on the aircraft of the aircraft melted and running down, which in this area has a lower temperature for obvious reasons and the melted water freeze in the form of ice ridges. Such ice ridges are often observed on the lateral and lower surface of the fuselage of aircraft when the snow in the upper part of the fuselage is not removed and melted after warming the aircraft cabins during parking on apron, taxiing or waiting for De-icing procedure or other delay before takeoff. (Editorial note: watch the similiarities to this serious incident: Incident: S7 A21N at Magadan on Dec 2nd 2021, unreliable airspeed).
The AAIU continued analysis:
All aircraft of the "family" of Airbus A320 - (A318, A319, A320 and A321) are similar in appearance, with small differences in dimensions. The procedures for anti-icing and de-icing of the different operators are similar. Quality control of the completed activity is performed in the De-icing Pads by a ground crew who reports by the radio to the flight crew about the results. In all three cases, the inspections were carried out by three different personnel who did not detect the untreated lower nose fuselage of the aircraft.
The lack of adequate training of the staff performing the work directly and of the controlling personnel’s after that has significantly contributed to the poor quality and incomplete de-icing/anti-icing procedure. As a result, pilots are unprepared for the difficult situation of running take-off in bad weather and poor surface friction on RWY.
LBSF 261000Z 12012KT 2500 SN FEW010 SCT027 OVC035 M09/M10 Q1007 R99/490293 TEMPO 1500 SN BKN010=
LBSF 260930Z 12010KT 3500 -SN FEW010 BKN032 OVC039 M07/M09 Q1007 R99/490293 TEMPO 1500 SN BKN010=
LBSF 260900Z 12010KT 3200 -SN FEW009 OVC034 M07/M09 Q1008 WS ALL RWY R99/490293 TEMPO 2000 SN BKN010=
LBSF 260830Z 07007KT 2200 SN SCT009 OVC034 M07/M08 Q1008 WS ALL RWY R99/490293 TEMPO 1200 SN BKN008=
LBSF 260800Z 05007KT 2200 SN FEW010 BKN031 OVC039 M07/M09 Q1008 WS ALL RWY R09/490293 TEMPO 1200 SN BKN008=
LBSF 260730Z 05007KT 2400 SN SCT010 OVC035 M07/M10 Q1008 WS ALL RWY R99/490093 TEMPO 1200 SN BKN008=
LBSF 260700Z 05007KT 2800 SN FEW009 SCT024 OVC030 M07/M09 Q1009 WS ALL RWY R99/490093 TEMPO 1200 SN BKN005=
LBSF 260630Z 04007KT 2000 SN FEW007 SCT009 OVC027 M07/M09 Q1009 WS ALL RWY R09/490093 TEMPO 1200 SN BKN005=
LBSF 260600Z 04006KT 1800 SN FEW009 BKN015 OVC025 M08/M09 Q1009 R09/490292 TEMPO 0600 +SN BKN003=
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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