It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday.
Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said.
The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said.
When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain normal speed and rate of descent by utilizing the aircraft pitch control and power lever, it said.
Because he failed to determine the error in time it led to a hard landing of the aircraft on the pre-threshold area, the report said, adding that the copilot had yet to reach the flight safety standard for landing an the aircraft safely using the manual control system.
The pilot was insufficiently alert when the less-experienced copilot was approaching the runway and attempting to land the aircraft, it said. As such, the pilot was not able to take over or abort the landing.
After conducting an interview with the pilot, investigators found that his lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child.
After the hard landing, the pilot and copilot failed to report the incident to the air traffic control tower or to China Airlines, which could have exposed other flights to risks, the report said.
To improve the flight safety, China Airlines should enhance its training of less-experienced copilots, particularly their ability to land aircraft using manual control systems, the report said.
Pilots and copilots must be on high alert whenever an aircraft is about to land, it said, adding that the pilot must be able to take over or abort a landing in an abnormal situation.
China Airlines must also enforce its program to upgrade the skills of less-experienced pilots and copilots, the report added.
As the regulator of the nation’s airlines, the Civil Aeronautics Administration should ensure that the airline implement all of the safety-enhancement suggestions in the report, the board said.
In addition to board investigators, representatives from the US National Transportation Safety Board, China Airlines, the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Taoyuan International Airport Corp also participated in the investigation.
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