France A319 at Paris on Dec 13th 2011, hard landing at +2.66G

Last Update: December 18, 2016 / 17:11:58 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 13, 2011

Classification
Report

Airline
Air France

Flight number
AF-2511

Aircraft Registration
F-GRHS

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

An Air France Airbus A319-100, registration F-GRHS performing flight AF-2511 from Hamburg (Germany) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) with 114 passengers and 5 crew, was on an ILS approach to Charles de Gaulle's runway 27R in turbulence and winds from 220 degrees at 25 knots gusting 38 knots, due to the turbulence the captain (44, ATPL, about 10,000 hours total, about 2,700 hours on type), pilot flying, disengaged autothrust and autopilot about 9nm before touchdown, the aircraft encountered pitch variations between 1 and 6.5 degrees nose up, 80 feet below and 110 feet above glide path, as well as 6 degrees left and 6.5 degrees right bank with the stick reaching -20 and +20 degrees of roll and -16 and +16 degrees of pitch input. Vapp (Vref+11) was computed at 149 KIAS. The crew configured the aircraft for flaps configuration 3, landing gear was selected down. Descending through 1000 feet the aircraft was within all parameters for stabilized approach at 154 KIAS, 750 fpm rate of descent, heading at 252 degree and a drift angle of about 15 degrees. The wind increases blowing from 210 degrees at 45 knots, the indicated airspeed increases to 164 KIAS, the aircraft descends through 500 feet AGL at 148 KIAS on the glideslope. The wind changes to 195 degrees and 35 knots, the aircraft descends through 200 feet slightly below glide at Vref and 600fpm, descends through 150 feet AGL below the glideslope (0.7 dots below) at 750fpm and 151 KIAS. The pilot flying corrected, the rate of descent reduces to 375fpm at 110 feet AGL, the aircraft is on glideslope again and the rate of descent increases. The wind changes to 190 degrees and 25 knots. The aircraft is above glide at 90 feet AGL, the rate of descent increases to 800 fpm, the aircraft descends through 25 feet AGL at 152 KIAS with 7 degrees left bank and 2.1 degrees nose up, the pilot flying pushes the nose down to 0.4 degrees nose down and provides right roll inputs, at 20 feet AGL the thrust levers are moved to idle, the aircraft descends through 15 feet AGL at 155 KIAS, 4 degrees left bank, the pilot flying begins the flare bringing the flight stick to the mechanical aft stop and applies about half way right rudder, the thrust levers are slightly advanced, however, the aircraft touches down right main gear first at +2.66G, 3.5 degrees nose up, 2.5 degrees right bank and 800 fpm. The captain calls to stop control inputs in order to have the first officer (25, ?, 2,100 hours total, 1,660 hours on type), pilot monitoring, stop nose up inputs, the thrust levers are placed into TOGA, however, a second later the SRS mode activates, the thrust levers are placed into idle again and the aircraft rolls out without further incident. The crew informed air traffic control of a very hard touchdown.

The aircraft received substantial damage requiring both main landing gear struts to be replaced.

The French BEA released their final report in French concluding the probable causes of the occurrence rated an accident have been:

The hard landing is the result of excessive vertical speed because of:

- inputs to lower the nose close to touchdown (at 25 and 20 feet AGL)
- late flare starting at 15 feet AGL
- excessive airspeed (Vref+17 on touchdown) and excessive rate of descent

The pilot flying's high workload in manual flight in high turbulent winds and the lack of a go around call by the pilot monitoring despite objective criteria indicating unstable approach below 200 feet AGL prevented the crew to decide to discontinue the approach.

The BEA complained that the cockpit voice recorder suffered a malfunction which made any cockpit conversation illegible. The investigation thus had only flight data recorder and the testimonies of the flight crew available for the investigation.

Metars in effect at the time of landing were:

LFPG 130730Z 20026G38KT 8000 BKN011 10/09 Q0997 TEMPO 21025G45KT

The BEA analysed that the occurrence illustrated the difficulties of an approach in turbulent conditions in manual flight. The manual control required a considerable workload on behalf of the pilot flying, nonetheless the pilot managed to keep the aircraft within the stabilized criteria descending through 2000, 1000 and 500 feet, however, could no longer cope with the deteriorating conditions below 200 feet AGL, where despite large control inputs the aircraft went outside criteria for stabilized approach several times. While the initiation of the flare is expected at 30 feet AGL, the flare was initiated late at 15 feet AGL only, which did not permit to reduce the rate of descent sufficiently to avoid a hard touchdown.

The pilot monitoring did call out speeds, bank angles and pitch angles on short final, however, did not call for a go-around. The pilot flying however did no longer have the resources available to decide for a go-around.

France's DGAC highlighted the importance of the pro-active role of the pilot monitoring. The lack of action by the pilot monitoring is often a determining factor in the genesis of an accident.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 13, 2011

Classification
Report

Airline
Air France

Flight number
AF-2511

Aircraft Registration
F-GRHS

Aircraft Type
Airbus A319

ICAO Type Designator
A319

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