Shenzhen A320 at Jingdezhen on Jan 29th 2014, runway excursion on landing

Last Update: September 30, 2020 / 14:35:14 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 29, 2014

Classification
Incident

Flight number
ZH-9605

Aircraft Registration
B-6312

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

A Shenzhen Airlines Airbus A320-200, registration B-6312 performing flight ZH-9605 from Guangzhou to Jingdezhen (China) with 156 passengers and 9 crew, veered off runway 04 while landing in Jingdezhen at 22:53L (14:53Z).

The return flight ZH-9606 to Guangzhou was cancelled, the incident aircraft positioned out of Jingdezhen three days later on Feb 1st and resumed service afterwards.

The French BEA reported in their weekly bulletin that the aircraft experienced a lateral runway excursion while landing in Jingdezhen (giving the date erroneously as Jan 30th). There were no injuries and no apparent damage to the aircraft.

No METARs are available for ZSJD, the local weather station reported at 20:00L: mist, visibility 2.4km, winds from northeast at 3.6kph, 11 degrees C, dew point 9 degrees C. At 23:00L the local weather station reported: mist, visibility 1.3km, winds calm, 9 degrees C, dew point 8 degrees C.

On Sep 30th 2020 The Aviation Herald received the Chinese final report, however, with the restriction to not publish it (only summarize it). The final report reported that another flight immediately prior to the arrival of ZH-9605 had gone around due to the weather conditions, the crew decided to return to their point of departure advising all listeners on frequency including ZH-9605 about a very thin layer of fog over the runway which prevented them to see anything.

The controller queried ZH-9605 and the crew advised they wanted to give the approach a try.

The aircraft established on final approach, while descending through 914 AGL the controller queried whether they could see the runway, the crew replied in the affirmative.

Descending through 738 feet AGL the crew discussed amongst themselves the very low layer of mist and via radio requested landing clearance, which was issued. Descending through 628 feet AGL the autopilot was disconnected.

Descending through 533 feet AGL both crew called out they were seeing the runway.

Descending through 483 feet AGL the observer in the cockpit said he couldn't see the runway, the first officer reported "invisible".

When the GPWS made the automatic call 100 feet, the first officer commented the runway was visible.

At the 50 feet automated call the aircraft was aligned with the runway and on glide path, however, at 30 feet the aircraft developed a slight drift to the right and reaches up to 2 degrees right bank. Descending through 5 feet AGL a left bank up to 6.9 degrees develops and the aircraft drifts to the left. The left main wheels touch down at 635 meters past the runway threshold already to the left of the runway center line and crossed the runway edge line about 750 meters past the threshold, followed by the nose wheel, the right hand main wheels crossed the runway edge 795 meters past the threshold. The aircraft rolled over soft ground for about 700 meters before it returned onto the runway surface. A number of runway edge lights were damaged, the aircraft received damage to its tyres.

The crew reported in their interviews that it was the first officer's leg to fly, however, when it became clear they were landing in fog, the captain took control of the aircraft on approach. The first officer reported that descending between 300 and 250 feet AGL he could clearly see the entire runway. Around 50 feet AGL however, with the landing lights turned on, he could only see 3-4 edge lights ahead, he could clearly identify the runway markings at the threshold however. When the first wheels touched down, he could only see 1-2 edge lights ahead. About 1-2 seconds later it became clear they were running towards the left edge, 5-6 seconds after touch down it became bumpy as the aircraft went off the runway surface.

The final report states the weather reports indicated 2km visibility in light fog. However, although the airport featured an automated weather station it did not feature an automated weather observation system. Runway visibity thus could not be objectively established by the local observer.

The final report analyses (and at the same time concludes, there is no formal separate conclusion):

the approach was normal and stable until 50 feet AGL. Between 50 and 12 feet AGL the approach became unstable with slight bank although main direction and position in relation to the runway was still normal. Due to a patch of fog the captain, now pilot flying, lost sufficient visual reference with the runway, now only seeing one or two runway edge lights, misjudged the situation taking the left edge lights as center line lights and applied incorrect corrections. As the captain thus did not apply right hand rudder, the aircraft went off the left edge of the runway.

The first officer called out "left! left!" contributing to the misjudgement by the captain to identify the edge as center line lights. After the aircraft had gone off the runway already the first officer ceased the calls when he became unsure of the position of the aircraft.

Due to the layer of fog as well as a patch of fog it was easy to misjudge the situation and commit errors in decision making.

After the decision to continue the approach the expectation to actually land increased, the crew clearly had sufficient visual references at and above decision height and thus did not decide to go around, but then lost visual references and did not engage in a go around or balked landing.

The investigation concluded the actual runway visibility was 600 meters due to the layer of fog and patches of fog obscuring the runway at the time of touchdown at 53 minutes past the hour. The local observer could only manually determine the visibility from his stand point through his targets, in addition the observations are being made on top of every hour only. It is such not possible to identify changes in between two observations.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 29, 2014

Classification
Incident

Flight number
ZH-9605

Aircraft Registration
B-6312

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

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