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Report: Fokker 50 runway excursion when tired crew lands outside crosswind limits
16 December 2014
The Fokker 50 came to rest off the side of the runway (photo: Swedish Accident Investigation Authority)

The Fokker 50 came to rest off the side of the runway (photo: Swedish Accident Investigation Authority)

A Swedish Fokker 50 cargo plane suffered a serious runway excursion incident upon landing at Malmö Airport, Sweden when the tired crew carried out a landing under conditions that exceeded the operator’s crosswind limitations for the aircraft. This was concluded by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority in their investigation.

The flight took off from Sundsvall Airport, Sweden at 23:47 hrs local time. Take-off and climb to Flight Level 250 was performed according to normal procedures.

During the flight the crew received information on the latest current weather according to METAR at 00:56 hrs. The wind was stated to be 270 degrees, 25 knots and 39 knots in the gusts, and visibility to be 5000 metres in moderate rain.

Shortly thereafter, when the aircraft was abeam Jönköping, the warning for cabin pressure altitude was activated. The crew made an emergency descent to Flight Level 80 and performed the measures according to the checklist for emergency descent and cabin decompression. According to the CVR, both the crew members had begun to use oxygen masks within two minutes of the warning being triggered.

At the crew’s request to descend to Flight Level 80 or 90, air traffic control gave the clearance “descend to flight level 80” without any further information. Two and a half minutes later, air traffic control communicated “no traffic reported flight level 80”.
After this, the crew conducted an internal dialogue for just over ten minutes on the reduction of cabin pressure, which included reading the aircraft’s operating manuals and performing an inspection of the cabin space.

At 01:23 hrs, the crew noted an ATIS broadcast which, among other things, contained information that runway 17 was in use, wet runway, wind 280 degrees 21 max 33 knots and visibility 9 km in light rain and mist. The captain reported that the detail of the wet runway was not understood because of simultaneous communication on another frequency. After consultation with the co-pilot, the captain made the decision to use runway 35.

The crew carried out a briefing and subsequently commenced the approach and implemented the associated checklist. At 01:41 hrs, clearance was received to land on runway 35 with the wind stated to be 280 degrees 26 knots max 34. The landing clearance was acknowledged by the crew.

Shortly after touchdown, the engines were reversed. When the speed reduced, the aircraft began to yaw to the left. The captain used nose wheel steering to compensate the yawing tendency but the yaw continued towards the left, and the aircraft left the runway and stopped with the nose wheel and left main gear in the grass, with the right main gear on the asphalted runway shoulder. In connection with the excursion, the nose gear and left main gear each ploughed a furrow in the ground on the grass area with a depth corresponding to just under half the diameter of the wheels.

Factors as to Cause and Contributing Factors:
The incident was caused by the aircraft being suddenly subjected to a severe gust of wind during roll-out while maintaining thrust reversal.
Contributing factors were probably the crew’s lack of sleep, which probably affected decision-making and attention, which in turn led to the landing being performed under conditions that exceeded the operator’s crosswind limitations for the aircraft.

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