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ATSB releases preliminary report on hard landing accident of ATR 72-600 at Canberra Airport, Australia
23 January 2018

The ATSB released a preliminary report into a hard landing accident involving an ATR 72-600 at Canberra Airport, Australia on 19 November 2017.

The aircraft was being operated by Virgin Australia as flight VA646 on a scheduled passenger flight from Sydney to Canberra. On board the aircraft was the captain, first officer, a check captain, two cabin crew and 67 passengers.
The first officer was pilot flying, and the captain was pilot monitoring. The check captain was positioned in the observer seat on the flight deck and was conducting an annual line check of the captain along with a six month line check of the first officer over four flights on the day. The occurrence flight was the last of these flights.

At about 13:20 local time the flight crew were conducting a visual approach to runway 35 at Canberra. The calculated approach speed was 113 kt. At 13:20:52, nine seconds prior to touch down, the aircraft approached the runway at a height of about 107 ft, slightly above the desired approach path. The flight crew reported that at about this time, there was turbulence and changing wind conditions. Flight data showed that at this time, speed had increased to 127 kt. In response to the increasing speed, the first officer reduced power to near flight idle.
Over the next five seconds, the descent rate increased significantly and the speed reduced.
During the last 50 ft of descent, the captain twice called for an increase in power and then called for a go-around. The first officer responded by increasing the power at about the same time as the aircraft touched down.
At 13:21:01, the aircraft touched down heavily on the main landing gear and rear fuselage with a peak recorded vertical acceleration of 2.97G. Assessing that the aircraft was under control, the captain immediately called to the first officer to cancel the go-around and then took control of the aircraft. The flight crew completed the landing roll and taxied to the gate without further incident.

After shutting down the engines, the flight crew reviewed the recorded landing data which indicated a hard landing had occurred, requiring maintenance inspections. The captain then made an entry in the aircraft technical log, and subsequent inspections revealed that the aircraft had been substantially damaged. There were no reported injuries.

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