Spicejet DH8D at Tuticorin on Jul 28th 2013, tail strike on landing

Last Update: December 7, 2015 / 14:43:55 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 28, 2013

Classification
Report

Airline
Spicejet

Flight number
SG-3291

Destination
Tuticorin, India

Aircraft Registration
VT-SUH

ICAO Type Designator
DH8D

A Spicejet de Havilland Dash 8-400, registration VT-SUH performing flight SG-3291 from Chennai to Tuticorin (India) with 50 passengers and 4 crew, performed a visual approach to Tuticorin's runway 28 when upon touchdown the crew received indication the tail of the aircraft had contacted the runway surface. The aircraft rolled out without further incident and taxied to the apron, where an examination confirmed evidence of the tail contacting the runway surface.

India's DGCA released their final report into the incident concluding:

The probable cause of the incident is owing to improper handling of the flight & thrust controls by the First Officer while carrying out an unauthorized supervised landing on a Category C airport. The early reduction of power, high pitch attitude just prior to aircraft touchdown resulted into lower aircraft speed and tail strike.

Contributing factors to the incident are:

- Pilot’s failure to scan/monitor the flight instruments and take appropriate & early action to control the aircraft pitch attitude prior to touchdown on runway.

- Failure of the PIC to take over control from the Co-Pilot at an appropriate stage to correct the decaying speed while landing on the runway.

- Non-adherence to SOP.

The DGCA reported that Tuticorin is a category C aerodrome where supervised landings are not permitted.

The captain (52, ATPL, 11,833 hours total, 2,225 hours on type) was pilot monitoring, the first officer (37, CPL, 1,461 hours total, 413 hours on type) was pilot flying. The DGCA also stated: "The PIC was not approved by competent authority for instructional flying on Q400 aircraft."

The aircraft joined a right downwind for landing on runway 28, turned base and joined final, then received landing clearance on runway 28, winds from 300 degrees at 10 knots. The aircraft was configured with gear down and 35 degrees of flaps. Vref was determined to be 116 KIAS.

The first officer initiated flare at 52 feet AGL, pitch attitude 0.53 degrees nose up and 114 KIAS, and reducing engine power, descending through 22 feet AGL the power levers reached the idle stop at 3.16 degrees nose up and 109 KIAS. The pitch continued to increase, just prior to touch down the control column had been pulled "aggressively", the picth reached 7.38 degrees nose up at which point the aircraft touched down 70.6 meters past the runway threshold simultaneously on both main gear and the tail at 6.94 degrees nose up, 102 KIAS, 14 knots below Vref, and a vertical acceleration of +2.22G. The tail contacted the runway surface until 78.2 meters past the runway threshold, the scratch mark was 7.6 meters long.

The aircraft received abrasion damage to the aft belly section of the aircraft in addition to damage to the tail strike frangible switch and doublers.

The DGAC analysed that the aircraft loading was within specifications, the aircraft and its performance did not contribute to the incident, the weather also was no factor in the incident.

The DGAC analysed: "The CVR data analysis shows evidence of first officer handling the flight controls and making an unauthorized supervised landing on Category C airport and the PIC assisting him during approach and landing phases of the flight. The DFDR data analysis clearly indicates that the aircraft flare was initiated at 52 Ft and this was followed by reduction in Thrust. Aircraft pitch attitude continued to increase and speed continued to wash off. Moreover rapid pulling of Control Column prior to touchdown resulted in a pitch attitude of 7.38 degrees. This resulted in a rapid reduction in lift and a hard landing (2.2g) on the runway with its main Wheels and aft fuselage touching together. According to Airplane Flight Manual/Operations Manual, Pitch attitude greater than 6 Degrees nose up in the Landing Flare may cause the aft fuselage to contact the runway."

The DGAC further analysed: "As per Airlines Standard Operating procedures (SOP) supervised landing is not permitted in Tuticorin airfield due to it being a Category C airport. In addition, the DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements also prohibits supervised take-off and landing on Category C airports. There was no clear briefing/discussion by the flight crew on the procedures and responsibilities of Pilot Flying & Pilot monitoring during supervised approach and landing at Tuticorin Airport. As per SOP, the Pilot monitoring shall monitor the flight instruments continuously and make callouts during the final approach and landing to alert the Pilot Flying (PF) of any excessive deviation of flight parameters. The Call out by Pilot Monitoring of the flight parameters exceedances shall be acknowledged by the Pilot Flying (PF). In this case the Pilot monitoring did not monitor the flight instruments continuously and did not give high pitch call out at any time for increased pitch attitude(above 5 deg) during critical phase of the flight just prior to the touchdown. Pilot monitoring did not call out speed deterioration from 114 kts to 102 kts. In addition to the above, the CVR data revealed that the PIC’s concern was exiting of the Aircraft on the first intersection taxi exit thus saving of time on a back track. ... In this case during approach and landing an unintentional reversal of Command roles took place in the cockpit. The CVR analysis clearly reveals that when the PIC allowed the first officer for supervised landing at Tuticorin Airport, the first officer also seemed to eager to take on the responsibility without any refusal. There was no evidence about separate briefing given by PIC to the first officer prior to approach and landing. The PIC’s 13 instructions to reduce thrust and pulling of control column by the F/O ,just prior to touchdown during the flare led to increased pitch attitude. The increased pitch attitude was not properly monitored by both Pilots specially by the PIC."

The DGCA complained in their analysis: "The flight crew did not report any abnormality or tail strike incident immediately after landing to the ATC . The Aircraft Technician informed the ATC, Tuticorin regarding the tail strike incident after the post flight inspection by flight crew. The pilot did not carry out the deactivation of the CVR CB in order to preserve the CVR recording as is required by regulations in cases of incident/accident. Subsequently aircraft technician carried out the CVR deactivation on the advice of airline’s Engineering Base."
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 28, 2013

Classification
Report

Airline
Spicejet

Flight number
SG-3291

Destination
Tuticorin, India

Aircraft Registration
VT-SUH

ICAO Type Designator
DH8D

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