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Report: Yemenia A310 stalled into the sea during unstabilized circle-to-land approach
4 July 2013
Approach pattern flown by IY626 up to the accident.

Approach pattern flown by IY626 up to the accident.

Investigators concluded that a Yemeni Airbus A310 stalled into the sea off Moroni, Comoros in 2009 during unstabilized  maneuvering at night. 

On June 30, 2009, Yemenia Flight 626 from San’a, Yemen, crashed into the sea some 20 km from the Moroni Airport. Just one passenger survived the accident, 152 occupants were killed. The flight conducted a night-time approach to runway 02. At 5.2 DME the A310 was  supposed to fly a visual circle-to-land procedure and land on runway 20.

The crew continued past the 5.2 DME point. After turning left the flight continued north over sea without making the procedure turn to finals for runway 20. The airplane entered a stall, from which it did not recover. It struck the surface of the sea and broke up.

The investigators concluded that the accident was caused by “inappropriate actions of the crew on the flight controls which brought the aircraft into a stall that could not be recovered”.

The circle-to-land procedure was flown unstabilized and different alarms sounded, like the GPWS,  aircraft configuration alarm and approach to stall. The crew was pre-occupied by the management of their flight path and the location of the runway, and  “probably did not have enough mental resources available in this stressful situation, to respond adequately to different alarms”, according to the investigation report.

Contributing to the accident were the weather conditions at the airport, which included wind gusts around 30 kts. Also, the crew were not trained sufficiently in the circle-to-land procedure.

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