Stobart AT42 at Donegal on Sep 7th 2016, temporary runway excursion on landing

Last Update: July 13, 2018 / 17:59:03 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 7, 2016


Flight number

Donegal, Ireland

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type

ICAO Type Designator

A Stobart Air Avions de Transport Regional ATR-42-300 on behalf of Aer Lingus, registration EI-CBK performing flight RE-3408/EI-3408 from Dublin to Donegal (Ireland) with 17 passengers and 3 crew, landed on Donegal's runway 21 at about 20:12L (19:12Z) in strong winds but temporarily went off the paved surface of the runway before returning onto the paved surface of the runway. The aircraft taxied to the apron on own power.

The airline confirmed the aircraft carrying 17 passengers suffered a minor issue on landing at Donegal when strong gusts caused the aircraft to temporarily drift off the runway before returning onto the runway and making its way to the terminal normally.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Donegal 15 days later.

The Irish AAIU rated the occurrence a serious incident and opened an investigation.

On Jul 13th 2018 the AAIU released their final report concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

Runway excursion during the aircraft’s landing roll due to a strong gusting crosswind.

Contributory Cause(s)

- A narrow runway of 30 m in width.

- The susceptibility of high-wing aircraft to control difficulties during the landing roll in crosswind conditions.

The AAIU reported the aircraft temporarily veered left off the runway, the crew managed to steer the aircraft back onto the runway. After a brief discussion the crew decided to taxi the aircraft to the apron.

While on final approach the crew received landing clearance and was told the winds came from 160 degrees at 26 knots. The first officer (CPL, 1,177 hours total, 692 hours on type)
, pilot monitoring, told the captain (47, ATPL, 5,983 hours total, 4,373 hours on type) upon request by the captain, that the winds were within limits including cross wind limit, with the wind blowing from 50 degrees off the runway heading their limit was 32 knots. Shortly before touchdown ATC reported the wind from 160 degrees at 29 knots, which was still within limits. Within a few seconds after touch down the aircraft began to veer left, the captain applied full right rudder which had little effect initially however, the captain regained directional control eventually, but could not prevent the left main gear and both nose wheels from exiting the runway about 700 meters down the runway. The left main gear travelled briefly on the grass parallel to the runway edge over a distance of 62 meters before the aircraft returned onto the runway. The left main gear had been up to 23 meters left of the runway center line. No damage was reported, not to aircraft or runway lights.

The aircraft remained on the ground for three weeks nonetheless. The undercarriage manufacturer required both main gear struts were to be removed for inspection. The operator installed replacement gear legs.

A subsequent inspection of the removed gear legs confirmed there was no damage.

The AAIU analysed: "The crew statements and the CVR information indicated that the crew were aware of the wind conditions and had briefed accordingly. The technique used by the flight crew for the crosswind landing at EIDL complied with the guidance issued by the aircraft manufacturer in Safety Note #1: Be Prepared for Crosswind Landing."

The AAIU analysed the weather conditions:

The figures calculated during analysis of the FDR indicated that the crosswind dropped to 20 kts just prior to landing. It was not possible to accurately calculate the crosswind from FDR parameters after the aircraft touched down on the runway. However, based on the gust frequency during the approach and the flight control surface deflections recorded on the FDR immediately prior to the excursion, it is probable that there was a wind gust from the left side of the aircraft approximately 4-9 seconds after touchdown. The absence of nose wheel tyre marks at the initial point of excursion in the photographs indicates that the Commander had not transitioned from the rudder to the nose wheel steering for directional control. Furthermore, the absence of scuffing of the nose wheel would indicate that at touch down, the aircraft was aligned with the runway. Based on the measurements taken by the Airport Manager combined with the FDR data, it was estimated that the elapsed time from the loss of directional control until the aircraft left the tarmac was approximately 1.5 seconds.

The AAIU analysed with respect to the aircraft:

The transition from high speed to low speed can result in a momentary situation where there is insufficient rudder authority or nose wheel steering effectiveness to maintain directional control in crosswind conditions. This transition typically occurs approximately within the 70-80 kts airspeed range. In 2014, the manufacturer provided specific guidance for flight crews on appropriate techniques to be used during landing in crosswind conditions. These techniques were incorporated into the Operator’s published guidance for flight crews. In 2016, the manufacturer re-issued the guidance in conjunction with a FOIM on the subject of crosswind landings, noting “four runway excursions in recent months … In each case there was a crosswind component … each of which occurred at a speed of approximately 70 kts…”

This excursion occurred in weather conditions that were within the Operator’s published crosswind component limits of 25 kts for narrow runway operations, and well below the manufacturer’s demonstrated crosswind component limit of 35 kts. Nevertheless, this occurrence highlights the challenges presented to flight crews in controlling high-wing, turboprop aircraft when landing in blustery crosswind conditions, especially on narrow runways. It also demonstrates the potential difficulties that can be experienced during the transition from high speed to low speed handling during the landing roll after the aircraft touches down in crosswind conditions.

Metars (no data received past occurrence time):
EIDL 072000Z NIL=
EIDL 071930Z NIL=
EIDL 071900Z 16020KT CAVOK 20/16 Q1005=
EIDL 071830Z 14023KT CAVOK 20/16 Q1005=
EIDL 071800Z 15016KT CAVOK 20/16 Q1006=
EIDL 071730Z 17008KT 130V200 CAVOK 20/15 Q1007=
EIDL 071700Z 15019KT CAVOK 20/15 Q1008=
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
Country of Registration
Date of Registration
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Aircraft Model / Type
ATR 42-300
ICAO Aircraft Type
Year of Manufacture
Serial Number
Maximum Take off Mass (MTOM) [kg]
Engine Count
Main Owner
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 7, 2016


Flight number

Donegal, Ireland

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type

ICAO Type Designator

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