Serve Cargo B733 at Lubumbashi on Mar 4th 2018, nose gear collapse and runway excursion

Last Update: April 13, 2020 / 23:41:33 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 4, 2018


Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-300

ICAO Type Designator

A Serve Air Cargo Boeing 737-300 freighter, registration 9S-ASG performing a freight flight from an unknown origin to Lubumbashi (DR Congo) with 6 crew, landed on Lubumbashi's runway 07 but veered left off the runway and came to a stop with a collapsed nose gear, both nose and left main gear on soft ground, the right main gear remained on the paved surface of the runway beyond the edge of the runway.

On Mar 23rd 2018 DR Congo's AIB reported the aircraft exited the runway during the landing roll and received substantial damage. The occurrence was rated an accident and is being investigated by DR Congo's AIB.

DR Congo's Bureau Permanent d’Enquêtes d’Accidents /Incidents d’Aviation (BPEA) released their final report in French (Editorial note: to serve the purpose of global prevention of the repeat of causes leading to an occurrence an additional timely release of all occurrence reports in the only world spanning aviation language English would be necessary, a French only release does not achieve this purpose as set by ICAO annex 13 and just forces many aviators to waste much more time and effort each in trying to understand the circumstances leading to the occurrence. Aviators operating internationally are required to read/speak English besides their local language, investigators need to be able to read/write/speak English to communicate with their counterparts all around the globe).

The report concludes the probable causes of the accident were:

Actions taken on the rudder before it lost effectiveness caused the aircraft to deviate from the runway center line and subsequent loss of control.

Contributing factors were:

- Reduction of simulator training hours for economic reasons for someone who has never performed the duties of having control of the aircraft on the ground

- The shoulders of the Lubumbashi runway do not have the same characteristics with respect to bearing strength.

The BPEA reported the left hand seat was occupied by the captain under training (42, ATPL, 7,400 hours total, 710 hours on type) on his 5th line training flight being pilot flying, the right hand seat by a training captain (45, ATPL, 18,700 hours total, 1,100 hours on type) being pilot monitoring. A safety pilot occupied the observer seat.

The BPEA described the captain under training above average, however, with long times of inactivity. He had been flying as first officer on Boeing 727-200s prior to starting his Boeing 737-300 command course.

The captain under training briefed the approach, a landing with flaps 30 was prepared and Vref was computed at 146 KIAS.

The crew performed an instrument approach to Lubumbashi's runway 07 in calm winds, the aircraft touched down in the touch down zone of the runway, auto brakes occurred. When the aircraft slowed through about 80 knots, about 2010 meters/6600 feet down the runway and about 1800 meters/5900 feet past the touch down point, the aircraft began to veer left, the crew disengaged auto brakes and attempted manual braking to no avail however. The aircraft went off the left edge of the runway about 2360 meters/7740 feet down the runway, the left main gear as well as the nose gear went off the runway surface, the nose gear collapsed, the left main gear sank into the ground so that the left engine contacted the ground. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. There were no injuries.

The BPEA analysed that the engines and aircraft systems were not "implicated" in the occurrence. The aircraft landed above maximum landing weight. After touch down the aircraft was not rolling straight along the runway center line, the captain under training suspected the training captain applied manual brake inputs before the aircraft slowed to taxi speed. As result autobrakes 2 were disengaged. The responses by the training captain were inconsistent with the actions on the controls, as result the aircraft veered to the left and exited onto the runway shoulder of runway 07. Over a period of 18 seconds after touchdown the remarks by both pilots indicated that their actions were uncoordinated.

Autobrakes were computed to stop the aircraft within 2008 meters after touchdown (runway length 3200 meters and width 50 meters).

The strength of the runway shoulders did not meet the standards, otherwise the aircraft would not have suffered as much damage.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 4, 2018


Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-300

ICAO Type Designator

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