CAL final crash report confirms pilot error

CAL final crash report confirms pilot error

The Ministry of Public Works and other aviation bodies hope that the findings of the 2011 Caribbean Airlines flight crash will aid in preventing aircraft accidents.

Findings of the investigations which took place immediately after the CAL aircraft crashed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), revealed a lack of effective communication in the cockpit as one causes of the crash which is believed to have led to the aircraft running off the CJIA runway after midnight on July 30.

It was found that the crew did not command maximum brake pressure of 3000psi until the aircraft was 250 feet away from the end of the runway. This led to the conclusion that under the event conditions, the aircraft could have been brought to a safe stop on the remaining pavement if maximum braking pressure had been applied. These findings were gathered from the aircraft cockpit voice recording, lead investigator Paula McAdam said.

            Another probable cause for the accident was that the aircraft touched down at approximately 4700 feet beyond the runway threshold some 2700 feet from the end of the runway. As a result of the captain maintaining excess power during the flare, and upon touching down, failure to utilise its full deceleration capacity resulted in the aircraft overrunning the remaining runway and fracturing the fuselage.

            McAdam said the flight crew’s indecision as to the execution of a go-around, failure to execute a go-around after the aircraft floated some distance down the runway and their diminished situational awareness contributed to the accident as well.

            Other findings of the investigation in the aircraft (BW523 – Boeing 737-800) crash includes: the increase of power by the pilot on short final to maintain glide path and did not considerably reduce power when crossing the runway threshold. Based on the findings put together from information provided to the investigation team, the pilot’s failure to considerably reduce power resulted in the 4700ft touchdown.

            It was stated that immediately after the crash both the pilot and co-pilot were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and tested for alcohol and drugs levels. They were both drug and alcohol free.

            The report said the wet runway surface did not inhibit the braking capacity of the aircraft.

The investigation crew made recommendations to Caribbean Airlines Ltd, Trinidad and Tobago Aviation Authority (TTCAA) and CJIA to prevent aircraft accidents based on their findings.

            Training for the flight crew to ensure they confirm with and operate within the standard operating procedures, training for flight crew in the use of blow out panels to facilitate quick escape among others were recommended to CAL.

            The investigation team suggested to TTCAA to carry out full review of the CAL flight and crew training programme to ensure it is in compliance with the Boeing programme.

            For CJIA, a planned extension of the runway is in the horizon and the Government is looking into relocating persons squatting on the airport land to Kuru Kururu. This is expected to be a new housing development, according to Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn.

            It was further recommended to CJIA to provide an easily identifiable area for the comfort to passengers and their relatives, who may be in distress during an emergency.

            The CAL flight departed the Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad with 157 passengers and a crew of six and was destined for CJIA. No one on the flight was severely injured and there were no significant complaints of lost baggage.

            The investigation team comprised Zulficar Mohammed, head of GCAA, Captain Patrick Nichols and Michael Charles – Guyana Defence Force, Bill English,National Transport Safety Board among other international officials.

The full report can be seen on the Ministry of Public Works’ website. (GINA)


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