SATA A320 at Pico Island on Nov 16th 2015, hard landing

Last Update: December 1, 2015 / 13:47:51 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 16, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
S4-4043

Aircraft Registration
CS-TKJ

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

Airport ICAO Code
LPHR

A SATA International Airbus A320-200, registration CS-TKJ performing flight S4-4043 from Lisbon to Pico Island (Portugal) with 155 passengers and 7 crew, was on approach to Pico Island's runway 27 at 09:59L (10:59Z) when the crew went around at about minimum descent altitude. The aircraft climbed back to 5000 feet and entered a hold for about 10 minutes then commenced another approach to runway 27 and bounced on touchdown experiencing a vertical acceleration of +2.89G followed by a vertical acceleration of +0.44G around the time of touch down. The aircraft rolled out without further incident and taxied to the apron at about 10:18L (11:18Z). There were no injuries, the damage is being assessed.

The aircraft was unable to depart for its onward legs to Terceira (Portugal) and back to Lisbon, the flights were cancelled.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground at Pico Island about 30 hours after landing.

A passenger, with sufficient experience to be able to reasonably estimate vertical accelerations, reported they experienced a hard touch down at Pico Island, the passenger estimated the acceleration to be in the range of +3 to +4G. As result of the hard touchdown a number of oxygen masks fell down in the area of the aft galley. Both approaches to Pico Island had been turbulent with large changes in engine power.

Data transmitted by the aircraft's transponder suggest, that the aircraft was stable on its second approach in turbulent conditions until about 350 feet AGL, when the aircraft's vertical speed changed from about -900 fpm to +50fpm briefly. Until then the speed over ground down from about 1000 feet had been between 141 and 143 knots over ground, then changed to 139 knots over ground at 300 feet, 130 knots over ground at 150 feet and 128 knots over ground on touch down. The vertical speed at 150 feet AGL was transponded at -892fpm, at touchdown the transponder transmitted a vertical speed of -823 fpm, the average vertical speed from 150 feet down to touchdown was computed at -1000 fpm.

ACARS transmissions from the aircraft suggested that around the time of touch down the aircraft encountered a vertical acceleration of +2.89G followed by +0.44G.

In the evening of Nov 17th 2015 the GPIAA sent first information stating, that they are aware of the occurrence and are in the process of collecting information to establish the extent of the damage and rate the occurrence. More information is expected during Nov 18th 2015.

On Nov 20th 2015 Portugal's GPIAA told The Aviation Herald: "The data analyzed by AIRBUS do not substantiate a classificatiom of a severe incident. So we are waiting for the aircraft to fly to Lisbon in a ferry flight to get the report from the engineering to sustain our classification." The GPIAA added that the ferry flight will be decided by the airline based on their policy, the weather at Pico is currently unfavourable for the ferry flight.

Inquiries by the Aviation Herald with the press office of the airline remained unanswered so far.

On Nov 26th 2015, 10 days after the occurrence, the aircraft ferried from Pico Island to Lisbon (Portugal) as flight S4-9140 climbing initially to FL120, later FL130. The aircraft is still on the ground in Lisbon 26 hours after landing.

On Dec 1st 2015 the GPIAA added that the engineering examination following the ferry flight has not identified substantial damage, and wrote: "GPIAA will not classify this occurrence as an accident or even an serious incident, because this occurrence due to adverse weather conditions, caused a landing just above the normal operating standards resulting in a harder landing."

Pico Island offers a runway 09/27 of 1655 meters/5430 feet length. A non-precision locator instrument approach, offset by about 5 degrees, is published for runway 27.

No weather data are available for Pico Island, the Metars for neighboured Horta Island Airport, located 13nm west of Pico Island but on the south rather than north side of mountains, read:
LPHR 161230Z 22013KT 8000 SCT004 SCT012 BKN022 19/19 Q1017
LPHR 161200Z 22018KT 7000 VCSH SCT004 SCT012 BKN022 19/18 Q1017
LPHR 161130Z 22017KT 8000 FEW004 SCT012 BKN030 19/18 Q1017
LPHR 161100Z 20021KT 5000 -RA BR SCT004 BKN012 19/19 Q1018
LPHR 161030Z 21016KT 3000 -RA BR SCT003 BKN005 19/19 Q1018
LPHR 161000Z 24012KT 3000 -RA BR SCT002 BKN004 19/19 Q1018
LPHR 160930Z 23014KT 1500 -RADZ BR SCT002 BKN005 19/19 Q1018
LPHR 160900Z 23014KT 3000 -DZ BR SCT003 BKN006 19/18 Q1017
LPHR 160830Z 23014KT 8000 FEW003 BKN012 19/18 Q1017
LPHR 160800Z 24013KT 7000 BKN003 19/19 Q1017

Following the release of the coverage a reader forwarded the Metars for Pico Island:
LPPI 161300Z 22028G42KT 190V250 9000 SCT006 BKN011 FEW013TCU 20/19 Q1016 RMK WIND RWY27 21021G32KT 180V240
LPPI 161200Z 24021G34KT 210V270 6000 -RA FEW004 SCT006 BKN011 19/19 Q1016 RMK WIND RWY27 24024G36KT 210V270
LPPI 161108Z 22020G30KT 190V250 3000 -RA BR FEW004 BKN006 BKN010 20/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 21020G33KT 170V240
LPPI 161100Z 22022G32KT 190V250 6000 3000W -RA BR FEW004 SCT006 BKN010 20/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 20018G33KT 170V240
LPPI 161020Z 22020G34KT 190V250 3000 -RA BR FEW003 SCT006 BKN010 20/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 21020G33KT 180V240
LPPI 161000Z 22021G31KT 190V250 4000 -RA BR FEW003 SCT006 BKN010 20/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 21018G28KT 180V240
LPPI 160900Z 22018G28KT 4000 -RA BR FEW003 SCT005 BKN010 20/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 20018G28KT
LPPI 160800Z 23017KT 4000 -RA BR FEW004 SCT006 BKN012 19/19 Q1017 RMK WIND RWY27 23016G26KT

Ground observer video (Video: Natalia Bettencourt)
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 16, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
S4-4043

Aircraft Registration
CS-TKJ

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

Airport ICAO Code
LPHR

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