Crew unable to shut down engine during Shannon airport landing

Aug 23 2011

An initial report into what caused a flight to get into difficulty while landing at Shannon airport last month has found that the crew were unable to shut down the engines.

The aircraft, operated by Aer Arann, was travelling from Manchester with 21 passengers and four crew when the accident happened on 17 July.

No-one was hurt.

Air crew were forced to pull emergency fire handles to cut off power.

The flight, operated by an ATR 72-212 aircraft, had departed Manchester Airport at 08:50 BST and had been due to arrive in Shannon Airport at 10:15 BST.

As the aircraft landed on its second approach at 10:30 BST, it got into difficulty.

The Irish Air Accident Investigation unit found that after landing, the plane skidded out of control on its nose for more than a kilometre before finally coming to a halt on a grass verge.

"The flight crew had no directional control of the aircraft from the initial runway impact to the final stopping point, as the nose wheel steering was inoperative due to the collapsed nose wheel and the rudder was jammed in the mid position," investigators said.

Smoke or steam was seen billowing from the front of the 17-year-old aircraft, as it skidded over the ground.

Engines failed

The initial report also found that the plane's left propeller crashed through and demolished a sign on the runway, damaging one of the propeller blades, as it careered off the runway.

Investigators discovered that the normal levers that are used by crew to shut down the engines failed to work.

They were forced to pull the emergency fire handles to cut off power instead.

There were turbulent weather conditions at the time of the landing and investigators said this was expected to be a "significant focus" of their continuing inquiries.

Investigators were also told that a different crew on the same aircraft on the previous night had reported "difficult conditions" approaching Shannon Airport on two separate flights.

They found that in both cases, the wind strength, direction, and gusts were similar to those at the time of the accident.

It was also revealed that flight crew had initially decided not to carry out an emergency evacuation but had later decided to after detecting the smell of burning.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC


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