Jet2 B738 at East Midlands on Feb 9th 2020, rejected takeoff above V1

Last Update: December 10, 2020 / 12:22:00 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Feb 9, 2020

Classification
Report

Airline
Jet2.com

Flight number
LS-633

Aircraft Registration
G-DRTN

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

Airport ICAO Code
EGNX

A Jet2.com Boeing 737-800, registration G-DRTN performing flight LS-633 from East Midlands,EN (UK) to Tenerife South,CI (Spain) with 193 passengers and 6 crew, was accelerating for takeoff from East Midland's runway 27 at 11:22L (11:22Z) in gusty conditions with the first officer being pilot flying and the captain (45, ATPL, 12,300 hours total, 893 hours on type), when at about reaching V1 the airspeed dropped significantly due to a gust and the aircraft began to veer right, estimated about 20-30 degrees off the runway centerline, prompting the commander to reject takeoff, take control of the aircraft and bringing it to a stop on the runway about 600 meters/2000 feet short of the runway end.

On Dec 10th 2020 the UK AAIB released their bulletin concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:

The commander had a high workload managing the departure and, to give himself time, decided that the co-pilot should fly the take off. In very gusty wind conditions, the aircraft encountered a windshear event near V1 which caused a 13 kt reduction in airspeed. Additionally, the strength of the crosswind during takeoff caused the aircraft to veer right. Concerned that the aircraft might leave the runway, and considering the situation to be unsafe, the commander initiated an RTO five seconds after V1. The crew had not called V1, although the automatic callout had sounded. The SOP is to continue a takeoff when V1 has been reached because, as the manufacturer commented, successful outcomes are more likely when a takeoff is continued rather than rejected. In this case, the aircraft stopped on the runway with 600 m of runway remaining.

The No 4 wheel and brake unit suffered heat damage from the full braking being applied during the RTO.

The AAIB summarized the sequence of events:

During the cockpit brief the crew refreshed the actions for the Windshear Escape Manoeuvre and a Rejected Takeoff (RTO). The calculated performance figures for the departure were V1 134 kt, VR 149 kt, VRMAX1 158 kt and V2 156 kt. Actions in the event of windshear at various stages of the takeoff were discussed along with the implications of windshear performance calculations. The aircraft had fuel loaded in excess of the planned requirement, so the crew decided to start and taxi to the departure end of the runway to await a suitable weather opportunity for takeoff. They had seen similar aircraft from other operators departing. The wind direction was relatively steady, and the pilots had calculated the maximum wind speed and direction that would give a crosswind component of 25 kt, which was 210⁰ at 29 kt. They passed this figure to ATC.

As the aircraft approached the A1 holding point for Runway 27, the pilots were cleared for takeoff and were passed a wind of 220⁰ at 32 kt. The pilots confirmed that this was in limit by referring to their Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). The aircraft lined up on the runway without stopping and takeoff thrust was selected.

At approximately 120 kt, the commander recalled a transitory reduction in airspeed of between 10 and 15 kt. He called this to the co-pilot but, as the acceleration resumed, decided to continue. The commander stated that approaching V1 (134 kt) the aircraft deviated dramatically from the centreline to the right. He estimated the deviation was between 20° and 30° of heading. The commander saw a large downtrend on his airspeed indication and felt that the co-pilot’s attempts to control the heading were ineffective. He stated to the investigation, “as PM, my instant snapshot was that indicated airspeed was reducing and we were below V1, so I called Stop.” During this sequence of events both pilots recalled hearing the automated V1 callout. The commander took control in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), the RTO actions were carried out and the aircraft stopped on the runway centreline between M and H taxiways (Figure 1), with approximately 600 m remaining.

Once the aircraft stopped, the commander made a public address announcement to alert the cabin crew, and the pilots had a brief discussion regarding subsequent actions. They decided that they were able to vacate the runway and informed ATC of that decision, while also suggesting a runway inspection because the commander was concerned the aircraft may have struck runway edge lights. ATC did not deploy the airport fire service and the pilots did not ask for such assistance. The pilots decided to return to stand and were cleared by ATC to do so. After the RTO, the commander was concerned about the co-pilot, who appeared to be preoccupied about what had happened during the takeoff. During the taxi in the commander believed that at least one brake was “binding” and that greater than normal thrust was required to taxi.

On the stand the aircraft was shut down as normal with the exception that, as soon as a tug and towbar were connected, the commander released the parking brake. He liaised with the cabin crew, company operations and the duty Pilot Base Manager, and the decision was taken to disembark the passengers because company engineering advised it would require a wait of one hour before they could commence work on the wheels. An engineering investigation revealed damage to the No 4 wheel and brake unit. The damaged brake unit was replaced, as were all wheels and tyres in accordance with the operator’s maintenance manual.

The AAIB analysed:

The weather conditions during the event were severe and the aircraft was being operated to the limits in the operator’s documentation. The operator’s guidance states that the commander should take account of wind/gust conditions, pilot experience, runway width and surface conditions in deciding who should operate. In this case the co-pilot had three times more hours on type than the commander, was more familiar with EMA, and was permitted to operate to the same limits as the commander. The commander considered that allowing the co-pilot to operate the aircraft was within the operator’s guidance and would allow him to focus more of his attention on managing the preparation for departure.

During the aircraft’s takeoff roll, there was a 13 kt reduction in airspeed prior to V1. The commander noted the reduction and informed the co-pilot. It was short lived and as the acceleration in airspeed resumed the commander decided to continue. At this stage of the takeoff, windshear is not one of the manufacturer’s RTO criteria and neither predictive nor reactive windshear warnings or cautions would be expected.

As the aircraft passed V1 the automated callout sounded, but immediately thereafter the airspeed decayed, the aircraft yawed rapidly right away from the centreline and there was a noticeable change in the lateral g. The commander was concerned the aircraft could exit the runway and considered the situation to be unsafe. He had seen the reduced airspeed with the associated downward trend indication, which occurred approximately five seconds before V1, and called “Stop” to reject the takeoff. The RTO actions were promptly and correctly carried out along with rapid control inputs to return the aircraft to the centreline.

There are many factors to be considered by crews in deciding whether to continue or reject a takeoff in windshear conditions, but the manufacturer’s comments show that successful outcomes are more likely when the takeoff is continued rather than rejected. Windshear causes the relationship between airspeed and distance travelled along the runway to be altered unpredictably leading to doubt about the continued validity of performance calculations.

In this case, in addition to windshear, the commander had to contend with the fact, and the startling effect, of the aircraft swinging off the centreline immediately after V1. Both pilots recalled hearing the V1 auto callout, but they did not call it themselves, and the operator wondered whether the lack of a spoken cue might have meant the pilot’s hand remained on the thrust levers. Removing the physical connection to the thrust levers at V1 is intended to remove the possibility that pilots will instinctively or impulsively close the levers in response to an adverse event. If the pilot did keep his hand on the thrust levers, it might have made it more likely that he would take the option to reject the takeoff.

The manufacturer commented that the commander has sole responsibility for a decision to reject or continue a takeoff and must determine the safest course of action based on many factors. It was also stressed that guidance in the QRH was not intended to imply that ‘stopping could be initiated above V1’. In this case, however, although the RTO commenced above V1, the commander brought the aircraft under control and stopped on the runway with 600 m remaining.

Following the RTO, the brakes would have been in the caution band for temperature. In these circumstances, the QRH Non-Normal Manoeuvres section contains guidance for pilots, such as to review the brake cooling schedule and consider whether there is a need for remote parking. In the event, however, this information was not considered, and the aircraft taxied to a normal stand despite there being slight binding in the brakes. It appeared likely that preoccupation with what had just happened and concerns for the co-pilot’s wellbeing distracted the commander from considering the QRH guidance.

Metars:
EGNX 091320Z 25043G58KT 3500 R27/0050 +RAGS TS SQ SCT010CB BKN013 06/06 Q0979 RETS=
EGNX 091250Z 20031G43KT 9999 -RA BKN015 13/10 Q0977=
EGNX 091220Z 21033G46KT 9999 BKN015 13/10 Q0978=
EGNX 091120Z 21037G48KT 9999 -RA BKN016 12/10 Q0980=
EGNX 091050Z 21040G56KT 9000 -RA BKN016 13/10 Q0981=
EGNX 091020Z 21039G57KT 9999 BKN017 13/10 Q0981=
EGNX 090950Z 20038G56KT 9999 -RA BKN015 12/10 Q0980 RERA=
EGNX 090920Z 20037G49KT 9999 BKN014 12/10 Q0981=
EGNX 090850Z 20036G52KT 9999 -RA BKN012 12/09 Q0983=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Feb 9, 2020

Classification
Report

Airline
Jet2.com

Flight number
LS-633

Aircraft Registration
G-DRTN

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

Airport ICAO Code
EGNX

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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