AAIB investigation to DHC-8-402 Dash 8, G-ECOE

Unintended descent during departure from Belfast City Airport, 11 January 2018.


After takeoff from Belfast City Airport, shortly after the acceleration altitude and at a height of 1,350 ft, the autopilot was engaged. The aircraft continued to climb but pitched nose-down and then descended rapidly, activating both the “DON’T SINK’ and “PULL UP” TAWS (EGPWS) warnings. The commander disconnected the autopilot and recovered the aircraft into the climb from a height of 928 ft. The incorrect autopilot ‘altitude’ mode was active when the autopilot was engaged causing the aircraft to descend toward a target altitude of 0 ft. As a result of this event the operator has taken several safety actions including revisions to simulator training and amendments to the taxi checklist.

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DHC-8-402 Dash 8, G-ECOE 11-18

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 8 November 2018