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Report: Irish AAIU issues preliminary report on fatal Metro III accident at Cork
16 March 2011

The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) released its preliminary report of the investigation into the fatal accident at Cork Airport, February 10, 2011.

A Swearingen SA-227BC Metro III passenger plane, registered EC-ITP, was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident at Cork Airport (ORK), Ireland. There were 10 passengers and two crew members on board. Both crew members and four passengers were killed.

The AAIU report documents the circumstances in which the flight crew attempted three approaches in low visibility conditions. The AOC of the operator contained approval for the aircraft to operate CAT I approaches only. At Cork Airport this meant a decision height of 200 feet at an RVR (touchdown) minimum of 550 m for runway 17 and 750 m for runway 35.

The aircraft first established on the ILS approach to runway 17 at 08:58.  RVRs passed by Cork Tower were 300/400/375.   A missed approach was carried out at 09:03 hrs, the lowest height recorded on this approach was 101 ft radio altitude.

A second ILS approach was then flown, to the reciprocal direction runway 35.  At 09:10 the flight crew reported established on the ILS runway 35.  The RVRs passed by the Tower at this time were 350/350/350.  A missed approach was carried out at 09:14, the lowest height recorded on this approach was 91 ft radio altitude.

The crew then decided to enter a holding pattern to see if the weather would improve. Meanwhile the crew inquired about weather conditions at other airports. Waterford, their alternate, as well as Shannon and Dublin were at or below minima. Weather at Kerry was favourable.

At 09:45 the aircraft reported established on the runway 17 ILS . The RVR (touchdown) improved to 550 m, which was passed to the flight crew by Cork Approach. The final RVRs passed to EC-ITP at 09.46 were 500/400/400 when the aircraft was 9.6 nm from the threshold of runway 17.  At approximately 400 ft radio altitude, recorded data shows the aircraft deviated to the right of the runway centreline, paralleling the centreline track.
The descent was continued below Decision Height (DH).  Power was reduced momentarily before being re-applied. Just below 100 ft radio altitude, a go-around was called by the PNF and was acknowledged by the PF. Recorded data shows that the aircraft rolled significantly to the left as the aircraft tracked towards the runway centreline.  This was immediately followed by a rapid roll to the right which brought the right wingtip into contact with the runway surface. Runway surface contact was made with a roll angle of 97 degrees to the right.  The initial impact mark was located 86 m from the runway threshold, and 2 m left of the centreline.  The aircraft continued to roll rapidly to the right and struck the runway in the fully inverted position 25 m beyond the initial impact point.

The investigation is on-going.

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