Air Accidents Investigation Branch issues a Special Bulletin on Blackbushe accident

The Special Bulletin was published by AAIB to provide preliminary information gathered from ground inspection, the Combined Cockpit Voice Flight Data Recorder, and other sources. The investigation is continuing and a final report will be published in due course.

The AAIB report reads as follow:

“The aircraft was on a private IFR flight from Milan, Italy to Blackbushe, with the commander and three passengers on board. Following descent from its cruise level, it was handed over from controllers at London Control to Farnborough Approach. They provided a radar service to the aircraft, before instructing the pilot to contact Blackbushe Information, a few miles prior to its entry into the Blackbushe Aerodrome Traffic Zone. The weather at Blackbushe was fine with light and variable winds, visibility in excess of ten kilometres, and no low cloud.

“HZ-IBN entered the left-hand circuit for Runway 25 via the crosswind leg. Towards the end of the downwind leg, it overtook a microlight aircraft, before climbing slightly to pass ahead of and above that aircraft. As this climb began, at approximately 1,000 ft above aerodrome level (aal), a TCAS ‘descend’ Resolution Advisory (RA) was presented to the pilot of HZ-IBN, to resolve a confliction with the microlight. The TCAS RA changed to ‘maintain vertical speed’ and then ‘adjust vertical speed’, but these instructions may have been to resolve a second confliction with another aircraft which was above HZ-IBN, to the east of the aerodrome. Following this climb, HZ-IBN then descended at up to 3,000 feet per minute towards the threshold of Runway 25. The aircraft’s TCAS annunciated ‘clear of conflict’ when HZ-IBN was 1.1 nm from the runway threshold, at 1,200 ft aal at a speed of 146 KIAS, with the landing gear down and flap 3 selected.

“The operator estimated that the landing weight was 6,522 kg. The aircraft manufacturer calculated that at this weight the target threshold speed was 108 KIAS.

“The aircraft continued its approach at approximately 150 KIAS. Between 1,200 and 500 ft aal the rate of descent averaged approximately 3,000 fpm, and at 500 ft aal was 2,500 fpm. The aircraft’s TAWS generated six ‘pull up’ warnings on final approach. The aircraft crossed the threshold of Runway 25 at approximately 50ft aal at 150 KIAS.

“Tyre marks made by the aircraft at touchdown indicated that it landed approximately 710 m beyond the Runway 25 threshold. Runway 25 has a declared Landing Distance Available (LDA) of 1,059 m; therefore the aircraft touched down approximately 349 m before the end of the declared LDA, 438 m before the end of the paved runway surface.

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“Data from the aircraft’s CVFDR indicated that the groundspeed at touchdown was 135 kt and the airspeed was 134 KIAS. The aircraft manufacturer estimated that at this speed the landing ground roll required to stop the aircraft would be at least 616 m.

“The aircraft departed the paved surface at the end of Runway 25 approximately three metres to the left of the extended runway centreline. It then collided with a one metre high earth bank causing the lower section of the nose landing gear and the nose gear doors to detach. The aircraft became airborne again briefly, before colliding with several cars parked at an adjacent business and coming to rest approximately 70 metres beyond the earth bank. The aircraft’s wing detached from the fuselage during the impact sequence and an intense fire developed shortly thereafter, consuming the majority of the aircraft. The aerodrome rescue and firefighting service attended the scene, followed by local emergency services. The four occupants were fatally injured.

“The aircraft wreckage has been taken to the AAIB facility at Farnborough and the investigation continues with the assistance of representatives of the State of the Manufacturer and the State of the Operator of the aircraft. A final report will be published in due course.”