Avianca Costa Rica A319 near Panama City on Jan 23rd 2020, upset injures 8
Last Update: February 6, 2020 / 17:01:06 GMT/Zulu time
The airline reported the crew had received an alert on one of the aircraft systems. During the flight an abrupt movement of the aircraft occurred. The crew diverted to Panama City, 6 passengers and 2 cabin crew were treated by paramedics after landing in Panama City.
On Feb 6th 2020 Costa Rica's AIB reported the aircraft was enroute at FL370 with the captain being pilot flying and the first officer beinng pilot monitoring, when attitude, speed and vertical accelerations varied resulting in a loss of 2500 feet of altitude as well as in exceeding the maximum operating mach number. A hydraulic system low quantity indication activated. There were minor injuries. An investigation has been opened into the occurrence rated a serious incident.
Mode-S data transmitted by the aircraft show the aircraft at FL370 at about 488 knots over ground as it crossed the coast into Colombia. Within a minute the aircraft turned about 25 degrees to the right and descended to below FL350, another minute later was in a significant climb above FL350 to near FL360 at 410 knots over ground, before settling on FL350 another minute later, the speed over ground continued to fluctuate between 412 and 516 knots until it settled at 449 knots about 6 minutes after the upset, when the aircraft had turned 180 degrees to the left and was on course to Panama City.
Passenger photos show a cabin ceiling cracked by impact, blood stains on the cabin ceiling, a destroyed lavatory and debris all across the cabin.
A meteorologist reported there was a lot of gravity wave turbulence in the area. There were pilot reports in the hour prior and after the occurrence indicating moderate turbulence. The meteorologist commented this looks like a pretty big altitude deviation due to the turbulence alone, but not impossible.
A good explanation of gravity waves and their impact on even large aircraft has been compiled by the Flightsafety Foundation in February 2010.
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This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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