The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was notified by the Bristol Tower ATC watch supervisor on 16 November 2006 of an incident involving a diversion of an A320 aircraft, G-BXKD, to Manchester Airport. The diversion resulted from a landing gear malfunction after takeoff from Bristol Airport. Subsequent enquiries revealed that the landing gear had been damaged during the previous landing at Bristol on 15 November.
The following Inspectors participated in the investigation:
Mr R J Tydeman Investigator-in-Charge
Mr R W Shimmons Operations
Mr P A Sleight Engineering
Mr A Burrows Flight Data Recorders
The A320 aircraft had landed at Bristol Airport in a strong crosswind, with associated turbulence. During the shutdown procedure the crew were presented with an automatically generated aircraft warning indicating that certain parameters had been exceeded during the landing. The crew recorded the exceedence in the Technical Log. A type-qualified engineer met the aircraft on arrival and complied with his understanding of the technical checks required after the generation of such a warning. Substantial damage had occurred to the landing gear, but this damage was not detected before the aircraft was cleared for a further flight. On that flight the crew experienced landing gear problems after takeoff, together with other warnings, and diverted to Manchester Airport. Following further engineering activity, the aircraft was again released for flight without the damage being detected; this resulted in a repeat of the gear problems and other warnings after takeoff. The damage to the landing gear was eventually discovered after the subsequent landing at Manchester.
The investigation identified the following contributory factors:
The A320 aircraft landed at Bristol Airport in a strong crosswind with associated turbulence; the landing was classified as ‘hard’ because specified parameters were exceeded at touchdown.
The autopilots were disconnected about 100 ft above the runway threshold. In the prevailing turbulent conditions, this allowed insufficient time to separate the piloting tasks of taking control of the aircraft and flaring the aircraft to land.
The engineers maintaining the aircraft at Bristol had not received adequate training in the use of the computer software supporting the operator’s aircraft manuals.
The Airbus aircraft manuals did not differentiate, in their effectivity coding, how the implementation of Service Bulletins affected specific aircraft.
No connection was made between the previous LOAD report and the subsequent 20GA sensor failure, indicating the internal damage to the landing gear.
Guidance provided in the aircraft manuals required to interpret the LOAD report was unclear and differences existed between sections, particularly with regards to corrective action.
Four Safety Recommendations have been made.
Download full report:
4-2008 G-BXKD.pdf (2,340.93 kb)