Jgore From Argentina, joined Feb 2002, 550 posts, RR: 3 Posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3143 times:
The aircraft was conducting a normal approach to runway 12 at Bahrain International Airport with autopilot/flight director disconnected upon visual contact with the runway. Approximately 1nm from touchdown, at about 600 feet msl and at an airspeed of 185kt, the crew requested a left-hand orbit (360° turn) because they were too high and fast on the approach. During the tight (36° bank angle) left hand turn the flaps were fully extended and the landing checklist completed. When the aircraft crossed the extended runway centerline the crew reported they wanted to abort the landing. A controller gave the crew clearance to climb to 2,500 feet at a 300° heading to prepare for another approach. The plane's speed began increasing to 185kts as it began to climb to 1000ft in a 5° nose-up attitude. During the go-around at approximately 1,000 feet, the aircraft entered a rapid descent, 15° nose down. As the GPWS sounded, the captain ordered the flaps to be raised and moved the sidestick aft. The Airbus impacted the sea at a 6.5° nose down angle, about 1nm north of the airport. The plane's last recorded airspeed was about 280 knots. The captain had logged 6,856 hours.
Pilot error was behind the Gulf Air flight crash off Bahrain's coast two years ago that killed 143 people, according to an official investigation report.
The Department of Civil Aviation Affairs posted on its website Tuesday the final investigation report into the crash of the Airbus A320 on Aug. 23, 2000.
The report said the accident was a result of a fatal combination of factors, including the captain's failure to comply with the "standard operating procedure" and the copilot's actions to not draw the "captain's attention to the deviations of the aircraft from the standard flight parameters."
The report said the captain may have suffered a "spatial disorientation" to ground warning systems, which could have made him falsely perceive the aircraft was "pitching up."
He responded by making a "nose down" input, resulting in the aircraft starting to descend, when aircraft warning systems were saying he should increase altitude, the report said.
Gulf Air president James Hogan on Tuesday acknowledged that the airline had received the final report.
"The airline, its staff, agents and other representatives remain deeply affected by the accident, and its thoughts and sympathies remain with the deceased, and their families and friends, at this sad time," Hogan said in a statement.
Passenger security and airline safety remained Gulf Air's priorities, he said. "That was the situation at the time of the accident and is the situation now."
The investigation was conducted by the Accident Investigation Board, which included Bahraini authorities, French experts and an Airbus Industries representative.
The report said the ill-fated plane's captain, Ihsan Shakeeb, had requested a "go around" from air traffic controllers on his first approach at Bahrain International Airport.
After circling the airport once, he aborted his landing attempt without explanation. One minute later, the Airbus 320 nose-dived into the sea.
The report said other factors which may have caused the pilot error included inadequacies in the airline's flight crew training programs and a problem in the plane's flight data analysis system, which were not functioning satisfactorily.
Hogan said several measures had been taken to rectify the problems.
Gulf Air is owned equally by Gulf governments including Bahrain, Oman and the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.