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Report: Hard landing and tailstrike of Canadian DHC-8-300
9 August 2014
Damage observed under the fuselage (TSB)

Damage observed under the fuselage (TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) published the final report of their investigation into a hard landing and tailstrike accident of a DHC-8-300 at Gaspé, Canada.

On September 10, 2012, flight JZA8721, a DHC-8-301 operated by Jazz Aviation, was destined for Gaspé Airport (YGP), Quebec, from Îles de la Madeleine Airport (YGR), Quebec. The co-pilot was the pilot flying (PF), and the pilot-in-command was the pilot monitoring (PM).
The crew received clearance from air traffic control to perform a contact approach on runway 29 at Gaspé. At 14:03 local time the pilot flying began the descent and headed directly toward the OVUBI final approach fix, located 5.5 nautical miles (nm) from the threshold of runway 29.
At 14:10, the aircraft intercepted the final approach 5 nm from the runway, at a height above touchdown zone elevation of about 2400 feet and a speed of 138 knots. The aircraft reached the optimum descent angle of 3° from above and continued its approach, descending gradually below the slope indicated by the precision approach path indicator (PAPI). At approximately 170 feet, when the aircraft descended below the lower limit of the PAPI range (with 4 red lights visible), the pilot flying reduced power; the rate of descent increased, and the aircraft was aiming for the runway threshold. At about 45 feet, when the aircraft was 700 feet from the runway threshold, power was reduced to idle, and speed dropped to VREF +3 in deceleration.
At 14:12, the aircraft made a hard landing, during which the lower part of the aft fuselage came into contact with the runway and the “Touched Runway” indicator came on. The first wheel marks of the right main gear appeared at 109 feet from the threshold of runway 29.
After landing, the aircraft backtracked normally on the runway, taxied, and parked in front of the air terminal.
An examination of the aircraft revealed traces of the impact and scuff marks on the skin, structural stiffeners and longerons of the lower portion of the fuselage.
Depressions and deformations of the skin were observed on the lateral surfaces of the fuselage under the wings and under the tail unit.

Findings as to causes and contributing factors:

  1. The application of a pronounced nose-up control to reduce the rate of descent resulted in a nose-high attitude. This attitude, combined with a hard landing that compressed the oleos, resulted in the aft part of the fuselage striking the runway, causing significant damage to the aircraft structure.
  2. The pilot monitoring was focusing attention outside and did not identify the loss of energy in time to notify the pilot flying or to intervene and thereby prevent the hard landing.
  3. The aircraft crossed the runway threshold with insufficient energy to stop the rate of descent with only an increase in the nose-up attitude at the time of the flare.
  4. The crew had not received training on the technique recommended by the manufacturer in the event of a higher than normal rate of descent near the ground. As a result, the pilot flying did not limit the nose-up attitude or increase power to reduce the rate of descent, and the aircraft fuselage struck the runway.


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