Fed­eral re­port blames pro­ce­dures, vis­i­bil­ity for 2015 crash at Hal­i­fax air­port

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NATIONAL -

HAL­I­FAX — Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors say ap­proach pro­ce­dures, poor vis­i­bil­ity and light­ing is­sues led to the 2015 crash land­ing of an Air Canada jet that skid­ded along a Hal­i­fax run­way and in­jured 25 peo­ple on board.

The Trans­porta­tion Safety Board re­port says the crew aboard Flight 624 had set the au­topi­lot at the cor­rect an­gle of de­scent dur­ing a March 29, 2015, bl­iz­zard, but they did not no­tice wind had pushed the plane off its flight path.

The re­port says the crew re­quested that run­way lights at Hal­i­fax Stan­field In­ter­na­tional Air­port be ad­justed to their max­i­mum set­ting, but the tower con­troller was “pre­oc­cu­pied” with snow­plows on the run­way and nearby air­craft on the taxi­way.

“When the air­craft reached the min­i­mum de­scent alti­tude for the ap­proach, the flight crew saw some lights, which they in­ter­preted as suf­fi­cient vis­ual cues to con­tinue the ap­proach be­low the min­i­mum de­scent alti­tude, ex­pect­ing the lights to be­come more vis­i­ble as they got closer to the air­port,” the TSB says.

The re­port says “many fac­tors” caused the crash.

The flight crew was slow in rec­og­niz­ing the plane was too low be­cause of “plan con­tin­u­a­tion bias.” Air Canada pro­ce­dures did not re­quire the flight crew to mon­i­tor the air­craft’s alti­tude and dis­tance to the run­way, the TSB says.

“It was only in the last few sec­onds of the flight, af­ter the pi­lots dis­en­gaged the au­topi­lot to land man­u­ally, that they then re­al­ized that the air­craft was too low and too far back. Al­though they ini­ti­ated a go-around im­me­di­ately, the air­craft struck ter­rain short of the run­way,” it says.

The plane bounced into the air and crashed near the run­way thresh­old be­fore ca­reen­ing along the tar­mac. An en­gine and the plane’s land­ing gear were ripped from the air­frame amid a shower of sparks and leak­ing fuel.

The plane was “de­stroyed,” the TSB says.

The TSB says that dur­ing the crash land­ing, the cap­tain’s head struck the glare shield, while the first of­fi­cer suf­fered se­ri­ous dam­age to the right eye when he struck the glare shield, be­cause their shoul­der har­nesses never locked in. It noted a flight at­ten­dant was in­jured by a cof­fee maker that came free of its base be­cause its lock­ing sys­tem was not cor­rectly en­gaged.

“Be­cause no emer­gency was ex­pected, the pas­sen­gers and cabin crew were not in a brace po­si­tion at the time of the ini­tial im­pact,” the re­port says. “Most of the in­juries sus­tained by the pas­sen­gers were con­sis­tent with not adopt­ing a brace po­si­tion.”

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