Colombia DC3 at San Felipe on Jul 11th 2018, foreign object damage on landing causes runway excursion
Last Update: January 7, 2021 / 17:35:18 GMT/Zulu time
Colombia's Armada Colombia responded to the emergency, soldiers took care of the aircraft and cargo. The cargo was to supply San Felipe with food for the winter.
The captain reported the landing was normal, after about 300 meters roll there was damage at the left hand gear and the aircraft began to veer left and came to a stop off the runway. Colombia's Accident Investigation Board was notified and opened an investigation.
Colombia's GRIAA rated the occurrence an accident and opened an investigation. The GRIAA summarized the captain's testimony, that the aircraft landed on San Felipe's runway 18, after touch down the aircraft began to veer slightly to the left, the captain attempted to control the trajectory however without success. The aircraft veered towards the left edge of the runway, which was muddy, when the left main gear exerted a moment of force that caused the left wing and propeller to impact the ground. The aircraft came to a stop, was shut down and the passengers were evacuated. A technician on board sustained a minor injury. A fire indication for the left hand engine was cleared by the post impact emergency procedures. The aircraft came to a stop at position N1.916869 W67.077864 about 434 meters down runway 18 at the left hand edge at a heading of 058 degrees. A runway inspection showed the aircraft touched down about 44 meters past the runway 18 threshold, the tyre tracks showed the aircraft gradually drifted to the left. The width of the left main tyre tracks was 57 centimeters while the width of the right main tyres was 39 centimeters. The aircraft went off the left edge of the runway 320 meters past the runway threshold, an impact mark of the left hand wing was found 366 meters past the runway threshold, 21 meters further impact marks of the left propeller were found. This propeller impact caused the propeller to separate and the aircraft to pivot abruptedly to the right, the right hand propeller struck the runway surface causing it to separate too. As result of the left propeller detachment substantial damage was caused to the cockpit structure and the underside of the aircraft, in addition the aircraft suffered the fracture of the left wing tip and left aileron as result of the excursion. The left main tyre had been penetrated by an iron rod of about 15cm length, which remained embedded in the tyre. Another iron rod of 13cm length was found at the left runway edge, 21 meters from the center line, about 277 meters from the runway 18 threshold along the ground track of the left main wheel.
The GRIAA issued an immediate safety recommendation to the operators of San Felipe Aerodrome to ensure compliance with technical requirements and to ensure maintenance and vigilance with respect to the runway so that the safety of aircraft operations is guaranteed, in particular no foreign objects are present.
Colombia's GRIAA released their final report in Spanish only (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 Spanish 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 GRIAA concludes the probable causes of the accident were:
a lateral runway excursion as result of loss of control during landing, which was caused by the loss of air pressure from the left hand main tyre as result of foreign object damage penetrating the tyre during the landing run.
Poor risk management by the operator of San Felipe Airfield with respect to execution of operations at the airfield.
Contributing factor was:
Absence of foreign object on runway monitoring programme by the airport operator.
The GRIAA analysed that neither operational factors nor human factors associated with the operation of the aircraft contributed to the accident.
Inspection of the tracks of the aircraft left on the runway revealed that the left tyre had deflated while the right hand tyre had remained intact. Both tyres left marks of 39cm width at touch down, however, soon after the left main tyre track widened to 57cm while the right tyre track remained at 39cm. At the point of origin of the tyre deflation an iron rod used for construction was found, it was highly likely the iron rod was already on the runway when the DC-3 was in the landing roll. A runway inspection by the GRIAA identified further such iron rods on the runway. Therefore there is no doubt that during the landing roll the left main tyre interacted with such an iron rod causing the tyre to be punctured and suffer a sudden loss of pressure causing the aircraft to veer left.
Earlier in the year San Felipe had performed construction work to enhance safety areas, wind sock, manual compaction of the runway surface among other activities. While the contractor carried out the works to improve the runway, more oversight and monitoring of the maintenance as well as monitoring the runway surface for foreign objects would have been needed.
The aircraft operator had a working safety management system, which had already identified and warned of such risks at San Felipe. However, these warnings are set aside by airfield operators who do not accept such risks exist but instead pressure operators to perform such flights for humanitarian aid. While aircraft operators facilitate assistance to such remote parts of the country, even accepting some risks, it is clear that safety is a priority and members of the aeronautical system (Aviation Authority, Aircraft Operators, Airfield Operators) must engage in proactive synergy to mitigate risks.
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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