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PIA A320 crash at Karachi

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By Simon Hradecky, created Friday, May 22nd 2020 10:30Z, last updated Friday, May 22nd 2020 11:32Z

A PIA Pakistan International Airlines A320-200, registration AP-BLD performing flight PK-8303 from Lahore to Karachi (Pakistan) with 90 passengers and 8 crew, had aborted the approach to Karachi due to problems with extension of the landing gear and performed a go around. While on second final approach the crew declared Mayday repeatedly reporting they had lost both engines. Tower cleared the aircraft to land on either runway 25 (25L or R). The aircraft lost height and impacted a residential area called Model Colony, featuring concrete multistorey buldings on second final approach east of the aerodrome (presumably while on final approach to runway 25L) and burst into flames at about 14:37L (09:37Z). On the ground five multistorey houses are being reported to have been de-roofed and set ablaze, debris is distributed over the streets.

Rescue and recovery services are on their way to the crash site.

Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority have declared emergency for Karachi Airport. 

The airline reported the aircraft carried 90 passengers and 8 crew. So far no information is available whether there are survivors. Saying anything more would be premature.

The aircraft was scheduled to land at 14:45L (09:45Z).

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From the BBC

Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane crashes in Karachi

A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 flying from Lahore has crashed in the densely populated Model Colony residential area of Karachi.Flight PK8303, carrying 91 passengers and eight crew, crashed on approach to the busy Jinnah International Airport.The provincial health minister said at least 11 people had died, but a far higher toll is feared. At least two passengers are confirmed survivors.The pilot had reported loss of engines and then issued a Mayday.TV footage showed rescue crews combing through debris strewn across the streets of Model Colony, 3.2km (two miles) north-east of the airport. A number of houses have been destroyed.
 
The plane had lost contact with air traffic control just after 14:30 local time (09:30 GMT), an airline spokesman said.Rescuers evacuate an injured resident from the site, where a number of houses were destroyedinjured resident from the site, where a number of houses were destroyedEyewitness Mohammed Uzair Khan told the BBC he had heard a massive sound and went outside his home.

"Almost four houses were completely collapsed, there was so much fire and smoke," he said. "They are almost my neighbours, I can't tell you what a horrible thing it was."

Dr Kanwal Nazim told BBC Urdu she heard people screaming and saw clouds of black smoke rising from the three houses adjoining a mosque.

The chief minister of Sindh, the province where the plane crashed, has declared an emergency in all of Karachi's hospital.

The cause of the crash is yet to be confirmed. PIA chief executive Air Vice Marshal Arshad Malik said the pilot had told traffic control that the plane was experiencing "technical difficulties".

Map of Pakistan highlighting Lahore and Karachi Presentational white space

Pakistan's Dunya News said it had obtained a recording of the conversation, also posted on monitoring website liveatc.net.

In it the pilot says they have "lost two engines". Several seconds later he calls "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" and there is no further communication.

Bank of Punjab president Zafar Masud was among the passengers and had survived the crash, a Sindh provincial government spokesman said. The other survivor was named as Muhammad Zubair.

A senior journalist at TV channel 24 News, Ansar Naqvi, was also listed on the passenger manifest.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "shocked and saddened" by the crash, promising an immediate investigation.

The crash site was just short of the airport perimeterImage copyrightEPA Image captionThe crash site was just short of the airport perimeter

The crash comes just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after a coronavirus lockdown.

Pakistanis across the country are preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan, with many travelling back to their homes in cities and villages.

What is Pakistan's safety record like?

Pakistan has a chequered aviation safety record, including a number of airliner crashes.

In 2010, an aircraft operated by private airline Airblue crashed near Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board - the deadliest air disaster in Pakistani history.

In 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Pakistan's Bhoja Air crashed in bad weather on its approach to land in Rawalpindi, killing all 121 passengers and six crew.

And in 2016, a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames while travelling from northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing 47 people.

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Yes, I agree and the CNN guy probably read this....

"the crew declared Mayday repeatedly reporting they had lost both engines."

and being an aviation "expert" deduced that the smoke was from combustibles on the ground.

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1 hour ago, Don Hudson said:

EYoKqHRXkAEVCUo-XL.jpg

RAT appears deployed, poss. engine damage on both lower nacelles...?

 

The right engine sure looks like it has a ragged underside against the blue sky doesn’t it.  But it looks like both sides. Can a very hard landing in a 320 cause the engines to touch?  That geometry doesn’t make sense to me.
 

Low inertia Go around with the gear retracted too early?

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If there was ground contact the nacelles would be deformed.

There is a video out there of first approach with gear down. 

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52 minutes ago, JL said:

https://aeronewsglobal.com/video-airbus-a320-pakistan-airlines-crashed-in-karachi-flight-pk8303/

Scroll down for CCTV footage from a different angle. High deck angle, wings level, significant descent rate.

Main gear definitely appeared down as well.  Nose gear looked down as well. 

RAT definitely deployed - (manually? or from loss of both IDGs?)

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So far, there doesn't appear to be video of the first approach/go-around yet so we don't know the position of the gear at the moment, for the initial approach.

The appearance of the bottom of both nacelles show a blackened area, spreading out towards the rear of both engines. Recent images, (JetPhotos, January 2020) show clean nacelles on the bottoms of both.

Those familiar with the CFM56 engine know that the Accessory Gear Box is on the bottom of the engine and IIRC, there was a drain or a breather at the bottom of the engine, something we were reminded of in training when considering roll at touchdown esp. in crosswinds.

Anyone here know if damage to the AGB could result in loss of engine oil?

 

Edited by Don Hudson
added in blue

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6 hours ago, rudder said:

If there was ground contact the nacelles would be deformed.

There is a video out there of first approach with gear down. 

I can’t come up with any scenario where both engine nacelles have damage on the bottom and the gear is down when it happens.  That’s the part that doesn’t compute.

The Airbus trims forward below about 50’ for feel in the flare. A late go around takes a lot of back pressure to get the nose up until the trim catches back up.  If the gear was selected up early in a low inertia state it would be very easy to settle back onto the runway.  To be clear I’m thinking a scrape based on the images.

 

 

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Wouldn't a quick runway inspection confirm or deny that the engines made contact?

There would have to be scrapes/debris of some sort.

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Getting this 3rd hand but it seems to explain certain anomalies

According to Karachi Airport runway inspection report prepared by Pakistan CAA.

Left engine scrape marks 4500 feet from runway start.
Right engine scrape marks 5500 feet from runway start.
Both engines scrape marks 6000 feet to 7000 feet from runway start.
On the first attempt they called "established ILS 25L, 5 miles" while the tower responded that they were at "3,500 feet" which is too high for 5 miles. Tower offered vectors for a left 360 to reduce altitude but they declined. Accidentally landed with gears up, damaged engines in process, went around and completely lost engines on finals.
The crew was unprofessional. This was no accident. It was pilot error.

On the first approach, the aircraft maintained an overall flight path angle of 6.57 degrees (as opposed to the normal 3 degrees). The tower offered them a left-360 so that they could loose altitude gradually. They declined the offer and said they were "comfortable" and "established on ILS 25L" (which means both the glide slope and the localizer). Here, the pilots were actually dishonest as they were too high (3,500' at 5 miles instead of being 3,000' at 10 miles) to be on the glide slope.

With such a steep approach (20% steeper than London City airport's 5.5 degrees and 100% steeper than Karachi's 3 degrees), they forgot to deploy the landing gear. The engine pods made contact with the runway thrice and damaged the main fans of both the engines. The pilots knew they had **bleep** up and in an apparent attempt to cover up their mistake, they tried to go around. The damage to the engines was serious and after over-temping the engine cores a couple minutes later due to the damaged main fans, the engines quit completely by the time they were on short finals the second time.

 

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The AVHERALD is reporting: http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4d7a6e9a&opt=4097

Quote



On May 23rd 2020 Karachi Airport reported based on CAA inspection report that the runway inspection revealed scrape marks of the left engine start 4500 feet down the runway, the right engine scrape marks begin 5500 feet down the runway. About 6000-7000 feet past the runway threshold the scrape marks end.

 

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29 minutes ago, Ex 9A Guy said:

Getting this 3rd hand but it seems to explain certain anomalies

According to Karachi Airport runway inspection report prepared by Pakistan CAA.

Left engine scrape marks 4500 feet from runway start.
Right engine scrape marks 5500 feet from runway start.
Both engines scrape marks 6000 feet to 7000 feet from runway start.
On the first attempt they called "established ILS 25L, 5 miles" while the tower responded that they were at "3,500 feet" which is too high for 5 miles. Tower offered vectors for a left 360 to reduce altitude but they declined. Accidentally landed with gears up, damaged engines in process, went around and completely lost engines on finals.
The crew was unprofessional. This was no accident. It was pilot error.

On the first approach, the aircraft maintained an overall flight path angle of 6.57 degrees (as opposed to the normal 3 degrees). The tower offered them a left-360 so that they could loose altitude gradually. They declined the offer and said they were "comfortable" and "established on ILS 25L" (which means both the glide slope and the localizer). Here, the pilots were actually dishonest as they were too high (3,500' at 5 miles instead of being 3,000' at 10 miles) to be on the glide slope.

With such a steep approach (20% steeper than London City airport's 5.5 degrees and 100% steeper than Karachi's 3 degrees), they forgot to deploy the landing gear. The engine pods made contact with the runway thrice and damaged the main fans of both the engines. The pilots knew they had **bleep** up and in an apparent attempt to cover up their mistake, they tried to go around. The damage to the engines was serious and after over-temping the engine cores a couple minutes later due to the damaged main fans, the engines quit completely by the time they were on short finals the second time.

 

I really doubt they forgot the gear.  There is just too much redundancy.  Besides a 320 could never do that angle without the gear down.

I suspect rather.  High unstablized approach. Long landing into a low inertia state.  Go around.  Gear up.  Settle back onto runway to scrape engines before climbing away.  With the aircraft auto trimmed well forward in the flare, just relaxing the back pressure will allow the aircraft to sink.  Initially it takes almost full aft stick to keep the aircraft in the landing attitude during a low inertia go around.  At AC we train this, for this reason.

Im not sure everyone does though as it is considered a maneuver outside of certification.  If this crew had never trained it they would have had a real surprise during the initial stages of the go around.

Similar EK  521 only this aircraft scraped the ground rather than full impact.
 

 

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6 hours ago, Turbofan said:

I really doubt they forgot the gear.  There is just too much redundancy.  Besides a 320 could never do that angle without the gear down.

I suspect rather.  High unstablized approach. Long landing into a low inertia state.  Go around.  Gear up.  Settle back onto runway to scrape engines before climbing away.  With the aircraft auto trimmed well forward in the flare, just relaxing the back pressure will allow the aircraft to sink.  Initially it takes almost full aft stick to keep the aircraft in the landing attitude during a low inertia go around.  At AC we train this, for this reason.

Im not sure everyone does though as it is considered a maneuver outside of certification.  If this crew had never trained it they would have had a real surprise during the initial stages of the go around.

Similar EK  521 only this aircraft scraped the ground rather than full impact.
 

 

Yes, hard to believe they could have “forgotten” the gear with all the associated warnings, especially the “too low gear” aural warning. Any word on a tail strike? That wouldn’t be a surprise considering the pitch angle at landing speed.

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Re "gear up", there is a comment that bears examination re the A320...if the gear is selected down but the airspeed is > Vle, the gear stays up even as the handle (switch, really), is DN. The key point is, once below the Vle speed, will the gear then go down, or must the handle be recycled? No current FCOM...anyone?

I think we have to consider "tunnel vision/tunnel hearing" in terms of human factors, stress and recency (don't know if this was this crews' first flight back after Covid-19 isolation), so aural/visual warnings may not have been "seen/heard".

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I haven't seen a METAR but assume the temperature was fairly warm.  Given that and the rather high approach angle (well past stable approach criteria just about anywhere), then there would be a continued and significant loss of altitude as a go around was initiated.  Is it possible the crew initiated the go around too late and/or too gently to overcome their descent rate, so struck the runway during the go around?

Vs

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Hi Don,

220kts is max gear up speed.

There is a hydraulic safety valve that prevents green hydraulic pressure from entering the landing gear hydraulic system above 260kts.  
 

The hydraulic architecture says that if ADR1 or ADR 3 are less than 260kts, AND the gear leaver is down, the valve opens pressurizing the system.

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Hi Turbofan - okay, that answers the question, and is also the way one would expect the system to work. Thanks!

Hi Vs - could be, yes. the temp was in the mid-30's, westerly wind. The marks on the runway from the pods seem though to indicate a "gentle" touchdown, (low rate of descent...a "skimming" rather than a hard (high rate) hit on the runway. Could just be that lucky point in the high descent path at which the descent was arrested - but again, there are two distinct pod-strikes about a few thousand feet apart. The FDR & CVR will help with the go-around questions.

Stay well, all...Corona's jes' restin' for awhile...

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25 minutes ago, Vsplat said:

I haven't seen a METAR but assume the temperature was fairly warm.  Given that and the rather high approach angle (well past stable approach criteria just about anywhere), then there would be a continued and significant loss of altitude as a go around was initiated.  Is it possible the crew initiated the go around too late and/or too gently to overcome their descent rate, so struck the runway during the go around?

Vs

What about a steep idle thrust non stable approach resulting in a long touchdown and bounce followed by a low energy go around resulting in a second touch down on the engine cowls with the gear in transit to the up position?

Hopefully DFDR data will be read out soon.

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