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28 Sep 2018 - P2-PXE 737-800 Landed short of runway at Chuuk, Micronesia

On 27 September 2018, an Air Niugini 737-800, P2-PXE (33024/1688), was approaching Chuuk (PTKK), Micronesia, runway 04 in low cloud and rain showers. At 23:45 UTC (09:45 local time) the aircraft impacted the water of Chuuk Lagoon about 1,500 ft (460 m) short of the runway 04 threshold, during its approach to runway 04 at Chuuk International Airport. As the aircraft settled in the water, it turned clockwise through 210 degrees and drifted 460 ft (140 m) south east of the runway 04 extended centreline, with the nose of the aircraft pointing about 265 deg.

Flight ANG73 was enroute from Pohnpei to Port Moresby via Chuuk with 12 crew members and 35 passengers on board. Six passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger was fatally injured.

PTKK 282355Z 04007KT 3SM SHRA BKN000 OVC008CB 26/25 A2973 RMK CB ALQDS MOV SW SLP071 60186 8/3// T02610250 10261 20250 52015

PTKK 280002Z VRB05KT 12SM -SHRA SCT010CB BKN110 OVC280 26/25 A2973 RMK CB ALQDS

https://youtu.be/kc_fVw2gHkg

A preliminary report was issued giving some factual information but all analysis and conclusions were reserved for the final report.

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History of the flight

On Friday 28 September 2018, a Boeing 737-8BK aircraft, registered P2-PXE, was being operated by Air Niugini Limited, on a scheduled passenger flight from Pohnpei to Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. At 23:45 UTC1 (09:45 local time) the aircraft impacted the water of Chuuk Lagoon about 1,500 ft (460 m) short of the runway 04 threshold, during its approach to runway 04 at Chuuk International Airport. As the aircraft settled in the water, it turned clockwise through 210 degrees and drifted 460 ft (140 m) south east of the runway 04 extended centreline, with the nose of the aircraft pointing about 265 deg.

There were 12 crew members and 35 passengers on board. Six passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger was fatally injured. The 12 crew members and 34 passengers exited the aircraft and were promptly rescued and brought to shore by U.S. Navy divers (who were the first on scene), Chuuk State Government boats, Red Cross, Transco, and more than twenty privately-owned boats. Local divers located the fatally injured passenger in the aircraft 3 days after the accident.

Flight recorders

The aircraft was fitted with a solid-state cockpit voice recorder (SSCVR) and a separate solid-state flight data recorder (SSFDR). The SSCVR (P/N: 980-6022-001 & S/N:04448) and SSFDR (P/N: 980-4700-043 & S/N: 17869) were manufactured by Honeywell Aerospace. The CVR was installed at the rear fuselage of the aircraft. The SSFDR was installed in the ceiling at the rear of the passenger cabin.

The FDR system was compromised of:

  •  the SSFDR itself;
  •  a flight data acquisition unit (FDAU); and
  •  aircraft sensors

The aircraft was equipped with a Honeywell Aerospace FDAU (P/N: 9670212-002 & S/N:1477). It was programmed at the data rate of 256 words per second and had a recording duration of about 26 hours. The CVR system was comprised of four audio input channels; PIC headset, copilot headset, first observer headset, and cockpit area microphone. The SSCVR had a recording duration of about 2 hours.

The SSFDR was located on its rack within the aircraft and was recovered by local divers. The SSCVR was recovered from the seabed by US Navy divers about 440 feet (135 metres) back along the flight path from the 04 threshold, in the area ahead of the first point of water impact. In accordance with PNG AIC salt water recovery procedures, both recorders were washed and transported to the PNG AIC Flight Recorder Laboratory in Port Moresby for data recovery and readout. They were disassembled in the presence of an investigator from the FSM TC&I team, and the chip memory boards were thoroughly cleaned and dried before being connected to the Memory Access Retrieval System (MARS) download equipment. An examination of the data showed that the SSFDR data and the SSCVR audio from the accident flight had been successfully recorded. The data was good quality.

Other electronics components of the aircraft were recovered by the local divers. They included were the Automatic Flight Information Recording System (AFIRS), Flight Management Computer (FMC), and the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). The EGPWS and the FMC were sent to the Manufacturer’s facilities in the US where specialized equipment will be used to recover the data under the supervision of Technical Advisers from the US NTSB. The AFIRS unit was sent to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to supervise the retrieval of the data at the Manufacturer’s facility in Canada and the TSBC Recorder Laboratory.

Wreckage and impact information

The initial examination of video taken by the divers showed that the main landing gear separated from the aircraft during the water impact. The rear fuselage behind the wing had fractured during the impact sequence. The aircraft sank in 90 ft of water to the Chuuk Lagoon seabed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The investigation is continuing and will include, but will not be limited to, further examination and analysis of aircraft, crew, recorded data, aircraft operator, management and organization data, weather and airport facilities.

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