Poor Visibility A Cause Of Air Canada Crash Landing

May 18, 2017

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The crash landing of an Air Canada flight at Halifax Airport in 2015 was caused by approach procedures, poor visibility and airfield lighting, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said in its accident report.

Air Canada flight AC624 from Toronto to Halifax on March 29, 2015, had 133 passengers and five crew on board when it hit the ground short of the runway. Twenty-five people sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.

The Airbus A320 severed power lines and then struck the snow-covered ground approximately 740 feet (225 m) before the runway threshold, the TSB said. The plane struck the ground twice more before sliding along the runway and coming to rest about 1900 feet (580 m) beyond the runway threshold. The aircraft was destroyed.

“The investigation found that the flight crew had set the autopilot to fly the appropriate constant descent flight path angle. Because company procedures did not require the flight crew to monitor the aircraft's altitude and distance to the runway, the crew did not notice that wind variations had caused the aircraft's flight path to move further back from the selected flight path,” the report states.

The runway lights at Halifax/Stanfield International Airport were not set at their maximum brightness, despite the Air Canada pilots’ requests during the approach. The crew did see some lights, but only determined that the aircraft was too low and too far from the runway when it was too late. They initiated a go-around but the plane hit the ground short of the runway.

The Transportation Safety Board said the airport and airline had taken steps to address the deficiencies in the report, and Air Canada has provided its pilots with more specific guidance on required visual references for landing approaches.

(Airwise)