Crew’s braking mistake led to accident at Bristol Airport

PUBLISHED: 06:54 12 January 2019

The plane crashed in foggy conditions. Picture: AAIB

The plane crashed in foggy conditions. Picture: AAIB


Accident investigators have concluded a plane crashed at Bristol Airport in foggy conditions because the crew selected the wrong brake to use.

Air investigators closed the runway while the scene was scrutinised. Picture: AAIBAir investigators closed the runway while the scene was scrutinised. Picture: AAIB

A bmi flight from Frankfurt, with 25 crew and passengers onboard, came off the runway on December 22, 2017.

Nobody was injured but an investigation into the crash was published on Thursday showing an error was made in the cockpit.

The plane only suffered minor damage, despite ending up 120m from the runway when it came to rest.

The Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) concluded the ‘inadvertent selection of the emergency/parking brake’ led to the accident.

One of the damaged wheels. Picture: AAIBOne of the damaged wheels. Picture: AAIB

The speed brake should have been applied instead, but investigators noted the pair are ‘of similar shape and sited close to each other.

The AAIB said there was time for the mistake to be noticed and corrected ahead of the landing, but ‘a busy flight deck environment together with a high workload contributed to it going unnoticed’.

A mix up over brakes caused the error, investigators concluded, and saw all the plane’s tyres burst during the landing process.

Its report said: “At some point during the landing the throttles were moved forward, reducing the rate of deceleration.

“As the aircraft left the paved surface, the crew realised that the landing had been carried out with the emergency/parking brake set.

“The aircraft may have remained on the runway surface but for the addition of forward thrust during the landing roll.”

The operator agreed to change landing procedures to ensure pilots confirm the parking brake is turned off.

The crash, coming a few days before Christmas, had a huge knock-on effect with flights due to depart and land at Bristol Airport.

Many flights had to be cancelled to allow investigators to analyse what went wrong, causing a significant amount of disruption to passengers.

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