Friday, July 05, 2019

Reverser failure, wet runway caused Air India 737 excursion

A faulty thrust reverser and aquaplaning were the primary factors that caused an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 to overshoot the runway on 10 July 2018 at Mumbai airport, but the crew handled the situation well.

In its final report on the incident, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) says the incident involved the aircraft bearing registration VT-AXT (MSN 36331) operating flight IX-213 from Vijayawada.

At 09:20 local time, the aircraft touched down 962 metres from the threshold of runway 14 at Mumbai and travelled 5 metres before coming to a halt beyond the end of the runway and on the paved surface.

None of the 82 passengers and 7 crew sustained injuries. The tyres of the aircraft were worn out due to excessive braking, but suffered no other damage.

There was moderate rain at the time of the incident, and the crew was told at 09:18 when receiving landing clearance that wind speed was 12 kts at 270 degrees and the runway surface was wet.

Three seconds after touchdown, the crew found that one of the thrust reversers did not deploy and took steps to apply maximum manual brakes. This was insufficient to decelerate the aircraft, but they used the rudder to control direction.

This reduced nearly 40% of the available landing distance, DGCA says in the report, citing dynamic aquaplaning and prevalent weather conditions as other factors.

The report states that maintenance of the aircraft’s thrust reversers was conducted according to schedule and completed before the incident flight. The aircraft was considered airworthy and serviceable.

The regulator agrees with the crew’s course of action: the landing configuration was correct “as per briefing and landing calcuations,” and the crew followed standard procedures and checklists in all phases of flight.

“The decision to use maximum manual brakes was correct… Rudder input was used to effectively maintain the direction control of the aircraft post-touchdown,” it says.
05/07/19 Simin Ngai/Flight Global
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