Greenland DH8B near Narsarsuaq on Nov 14th 2016, finds and guides private plane to safety

Last Update: November 22, 2016 / 23:53:13 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 14, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
GL-415

Aircraft Registration
OY-GRH

ICAO Type Designator
DH8B

An Air Greenland de Havilland Dash 8-200, registration OY-GRH performing flight GL-415 from Nuuk to Narsarsuaq (Greenland) with about 27 passengers and crew, was enroute to Narsarsuaq when a private twin Cessna aircraft enroute from Goose Bay,NL (Canada) to Narsarsuaq with 4 people on board declared emergency reporting an engine was losing oil and had to be shut down about 45 minutes prior to estimated arrival in Narsarsuaq. The Joint Arctic Command, responsible for rescue activity, dispatched a helicopter and a Hercules towards the Cessna. Due to weather the Dash 8 entered a hold at Narsarsuaq a couple of minutes later. While the Dash was holding the Cessna, about 30 minutes after the initial emergency call, reported their navigation equipment had failed, too, they were in instrument meteorologic conditions with no sight to ground. The Dash 8 crew chimed in and advised that due to weather in Narsarsuaq it was not prudent to continue to Narsarsuaq, it was decided to reroute the Cessna to Paamiut (Greenland), about half way between Nuuk and Narsarsuaq. The Dash crew informed their passengers about the ongoing rescue activity, left the hold at Narsarsuaq heading west towards the Cessna, found the Cessna and navigated and accompanied the Cessna to Paamiut, where the Cessna was able to land safely about 90 minutes after declaring emergency. The Dash landed in Paamiut as well, refueled, and headed off to return to Nuuk for a safe landing about 4:50 hours after departure from Nuuk and about 1:50 hours after the Cessna made the safe landing in Paamiut.

Greenland's Joint Arctic Command published the event at their Facebook page stating a "Well Done" to the Air Greenland crew and thanking all parties involved in the rescue of the Cessna.

The captain of the Dash gave an interview to a Greenlandic newspaper on Nov 16th 2016 reporting, that their aircraft had received information about a Mayday flight towards Narsasuaq. When they were holding over Narsasuaq the Cessna came on the same frequency about 50nm out, at that point they learned that the Cessna had an engine shut down. The Cessna crew advised that they were having problems with their navigational equipment, they were flying on GPS (unknown what type of GPS) only, that they had available on board. The captain stated that it was clear they were in serious trouble whether they had navigation problems or not, they were not able to land in Narsasuaq. The captain believed the Cessna still had working altimeters. The Cessna crew, performing a ferry flight, was indicating they needed to divert to an alternate as far as Kangerlussuaq (Sondrestrom), about 380nm northnorthwest of Narsarsuaq. The Cessna pilot was not aware of a number of smaller airfields available in the region including Paamiut about 130nm northwest of Narsarsuaq, he knew nothing about the airfield. The Dash captain located the Cessna on their TCAS screen, they were descending to 9000 feet which was still safe and above terrain, no visual contact between the aircraft could be established until about 15 minutes out of Paamiut. The Cessna pilots were calm and collected but a bit uneasy. Another staff of the airline, holding a PPL and AFIS license and travelling as passenger, came to the Dash cockpit and assisted the flight crew, who were busy concentrating on the situation and radio traffic with the Cessna. Paamiut Airport, the closest suitable available, had been closed with only automatic ATIS due to weather before the aircraft set off for Paamiut, the Dash captain requested Narsarsuaq tower to call Paamiut for an accurate weather report and to make sure the runway was clear for landing. The weather report indicated a lot of snow but otherwise the weather was fine, Paamiut Airport would have the runway clear until arrival of the aircraft and be open for the arrivals. The crews decided to divert to Pammiut, the Dash captain suggested headings to the Cessna taking the aircraft to the west initially clear of terrain and over the Ocean, the Dash crew did not know how much fuel was left with the Cessna. The Dash 8 followed 3000 feet above the Cessna with flaps extended to slow the aircraft down and match their speed with the Cessna, there was sufficient fuel on board so that this was not a concern to the Dash. While heading north towards Paamiut the aircraft finally became visual with each other. While descending towards Paamiut the Cessna developed another problem with one of the VHF radios, the Cessna pilot had initially requested the Dash should land first then his Cessna, but with the developing communication problem the Dash decided to stay up and communicate directly with the Cessna and be available as a relay. The Cessna landed safely in Paamiut, the Dash followed into Paamiut afterwards.

The Dash captain stated that it was quite likely that the Cessna crew received the same weather forecasts that the Dash crew had received for their flight preparation, they should never have departed for Greenland with such weather reports. Based on that weather report the Dash was prepared to hold at Narsasuaq and return to Nuuk, located about 250nm northnorthwest of Narsarsuaq. Most likely many pilots from outside Greenland, in particular performing ferry flights across Greenland, underestimate the difficulties with the weather and situation in Greenland being largely unknown.

On Nov 22nd 2016 Canada's TSB reported the Cessna 421 was enroute at FL210 when the crew reported they lost oil from the left hand engine. The left hand engine lost power at position N59 W48 - about 150nm southwest of Narsasuaq -, the pilot shut the engine down and declared emergency. The TSB wrote: "The pilot continued on to Greenland but diverted to Paamiut airport (BGPT) due to poor weather at BGBW and landed safely." The occurrence was rated an incident and will not be investigated.

Metars Narsarsuaq:
BGBW 141950Z 06012KT 7000 SN BKN020 M04/M07 Q0986 RESN
BGBW 141850Z 06012KT 0600 SN VV004 M04/M06 Q0987
BGBW 141750Z 07010KT 0600 SHSN VV008 M04/M06 Q0987
BGBW 141650Z 16002KT 5000 -SHSN VV012 M04/M07 Q0987
BGBW 141550Z 16004KT 7000 -SHSN FEW015 SCT015 BKN028 M04/M07 Q0988
BGBW 141450Z 16004KT 9999 FEW010 BKN048 BKN057 M03/M06 Q0988
BGBW 141350Z 16004KT 9999 SCT012 SCT022 BKN044 M03/M06 Q0988
BGBW 141250Z 23003KT 9999 FEW018 SCT030 BKN050 M02/M06 Q0988
BGBW 141150Z 21005KT 9999 -SHSN FEW020 SCT028 BKN038 M02/M05 Q0987

No weather data are available for Paamiut.

Metars Nuuk:
BGGH 141950Z 08007KT 040V100 9999 FEW030 BKN065 M02/M10 Q0986
BGGH 141850Z 10011KT 9999 FEW030 BKN050 M03/M10 Q0985
BGGH 141750Z 09009KT 9999 SCT030 BKN050 M03/M10 Q0984
BGGH 141650Z 09008KT 9999 SCT030 BKN045 M02/M10 Q0983
BGGH 141550Z 07006KT 9999 SCT050 BKN070 M02/M10 Q0983
BGGH 141450Z 08008KT 9999 FEW050 SCT100 M02/M10 Q0983
BGGH 141350Z 08008KT 070V130 9999 FEW070 M03/M11 Q0982
BGGH 141250Z 10007KT 060V210 9999 FEW071 M03/M11 Q0982
BGGH 141150Z 13008KT 9999 FEW071 M02/M10 Q0981
BGGH 141050Z 14014G24KT 120V190 9999 FEW040 SCT071 M02/M10 Q0981
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 14, 2016

Classification
Incident

Flight number
GL-415

Aircraft Registration
OY-GRH

ICAO Type Designator
DH8B

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