Several Factors Led to July 2011 Runway Overrun at the St. John's International Airport

GATINEAU, QC, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A11A0035) regarding the 16 July 2011 runway overrun of a Kelowna Flightcraft Boeing 727 cargo aircraft at St. John's International Airport, Newfoundland and Labrador. There were no injuries to the three crew members, and damage to the aircraft was minor.

TSB investigators found that the aircraft landed at a higher than normal speed and almost 2000 feet down the runway. This meant that there was less runway distance available to stop. A combination of worn tires and a wet runway caused the aircraft to hydroplane during braking, resulting in a loss of directional control and the runway overrun.

This accident underscores why the issue of runway overruns is on the TSB Watchlist and why action is needed to prevent future occurrences. Pilots need timely reports on runway surface conditions to prepare for safe landings. When an overrun occurs, longer runway-end safety areas, or engineered systems and structures designed to stop aircraft, can prevent injuries and aircraft damage.

At the time of the accident, the runway surface-condition reporting standards did not provide clear direction for rainy conditions or wet runways. The investigation found that some employees of the airline did not understand the obligations for reporting incidents under the safety management system (SMS)—SMS is also on the TSB Watchlist. Although training was provided on SMS and reporting requirements, there was no specific guidance on what may be considered a reportable hazard. If all employees do not fully understand their reporting obligations, some safety issues go unreported, which increases the risk that those issues might not be identified and mitigated.

Since the accident, Kelowna Flightcraft has improved training for its pilots on landing distances, braking, wet and contaminated runways, and crosswind landings. The St. John's International Airport Authority implemented an expanded runway-friction testing program to gain a better understanding of the overall condition of their runways when they are wet.

The Watchlist — based on an analysis of hundreds of TSB investigation reports, safety concerns and Board recommendations — identifies the transportation safety issues that pose the greatest risk to Canadians. In each case, the TSB has found that actions taken to date are inadequate, and that industry and the regulators need to take additional concrete measures to eliminate the risks.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

 

SOURCE: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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