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19 Jan 2021 - 737-400F, G-JMCY (25114/2666), FF 20/10/1994 (26 Years old), operated by West Atlantic suffered a heavy landing at Exeter (EGTE), UK on 19th Jan 2021 at 02:34Z.

The aircraft landed heavily (3.8g) on Runway 26 at Exeter following an unstable approach. The fuselage skin aft of the wings was cracked and buckled, and the rear fuselage was distorted downward. The crown skin was creased and rippled along most of the fuselage. Both main landing gear shock absorbers were found to be bottomed, and the left main landing gear beam was distorted upwards such that the aircraft was approximately 2° left-wing low. The flap drive mechanism was damaged, and the left-wing inboard driveshaft was bent; the left inboard gearbox casing and its mountings were broken. The aircraft was written off.

The were two crew members on board, both were uninjured.

EGTE 190220Z 23010KT 9000 -RA SCT012 BKN040 12/10 Q1009=

EGTE Runway 08/26. Dimensions: 6811 x 151 feet / 2076 x 46 meters.

The aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair and by April 2022 it had been dismantled and almost 250 parts were salvaged for use on other aircraft in the JMC fleet.

On 18 May 2022 the UK AAIB issued the final report, available here.

Synopsis

During an ILS approach at Exeter Airport, the aircraft became unstable after the point where the crew had declared it stable and continued with the approach. During the final 500 ft the rate of descent exceeded the required 500 ft stable approach maximum on four occasions. All bar the first of these excursions were accompanied by GPWS “SINK RATE” alert. The subsequent hard landing resulted in extensive damage to the aircraft. There were no injuries.

Conclusion

The aircraft suffered a hard landing as a result of the approach being continued after it became unstable after the aircraft had past the point where the crew had declared the approach stable and continued. Despite high rates of descent being observed beyond the stable point, together with associated alerts the crew elected to continue to land. Had the approach been discontinued and a GA flown, even at a low height, while the aircraft may have touched down the damage sustained may have been lessened.

While the OM did not specifically state that an approach was to remain stable beyond the gate on the approach, the FCTM was specific that, if it did not remain stable, a GA should be initiated.

The commander may have given the co-pilot the benefit of doubt and believed she had the ability to correct an approach that became unstable in the final few hundred feet of the approach. However, had there been any doubt, a GA should be executed.

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*** Updated 14 Nov 2021 ***

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G-JMCY 737-400F Heavy landing damage

G-JMCY after the incident (photo via Twitter)

G-JMCY 737-400F Heavy landing damage

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