Event Details


Title:Wiper failure, Accident involving aircraft SE-RDL at Londonderry/Eglinton Airport, U.K., on 18 July 2003
Micro summary:Wiper failure on this MD-83 on short final during foul weather.
Event Time:2003-07-18 at 2314 UTC
File Name:2003-07-18-SE.pdf
Publishing Agency:Swedish Accident Investigation Board (AIB)
Publishing Country:Sweden
Report number:RL 2004:30e
Pages:16
Site of event:Londonderry Airport, UK
Departure:Portela Airport, Portela (Lisbon Airport), Portugal
Destination:City of Derry Airport, Derry, Northern Ireland
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83)
Flight Phase:Landing
Registration(s):SE-RDL
Operator(s):Nordic Air Link
Type of flight:Charter
Occupants:149
Fatalities:0
Serious Injuries:0
Minor/Non-Injured:149
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:The aircraft, a Douglas DC-9-83, line number LF 8144, was going to land at Londonderry/Eglinton Airport, UK, after a charter flight from Lisbon. When the pilots reported the aircraft established on ILS (Instrument Landing System) runway 26 they were informed by the air traffic controller at the airport that it was raining very heavily and there were thunderstorms in the area.

When the aircraft was approximately 50 feet over the actual decision height, which was set to 400 feet, the pilot in command got visual contact with the approach lights. It was raining heavily and he switched on the aircraft’s windscreen wipers. However, after a few strokes the wiper blade on his side came loose, whereupon the wiper function was lost.

Shortly before touchdown, at an altitude between 30 and 60 feet over the ground, the pilots were surprised by the aircraft suddenly “drifting to the right”. The touchdown was to the right of the runway centreline and after a few seconds’ rollout the aircraft’s right main wheels and nose wheels came outside the runway edge. The right main wheels were off the runway for a large portion of the rollout before the pilot in command was able to steer the aircraft back onto the runway. There were no injuries to persons, but there was extensive damage to the aircraft.

Among other things the investigation has established that the weather information (METAR) available to the pilots was nearly four hours old and it was not until the aircraft was established on ILS that the pilots received the information that there were thunderstorms with heavy rain in the area. It has also been established that there is a difference between standard settings for high-intensity approach and runway lights in U.K. (ICAO) and Sweden.

The accident was caused by the difficulty in performing the landing increasing faster than the pilots fully realised in time.

Contributing factors were:

- The pilots were not prepared for the prevailing weather situation.

- The landing took place in darkness, with a low cloud base, in poor visibility, in heavy rain, with few extraneous visual references.

- The pilot in command’s windscreen wiper did not function.

- The high-intensity approach and runway lights were set to the standard setting of low intensity.

- At approximately the time the autopilot was disconnected, the aircraft suffered a roll disturbance.

- There may have been local turbulence or wind shear.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Runway Excursion
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