On May 8 last year, a Biman flight from Dhaka to Yangon crashed on the runway in its attempt to land
After six months of investigation, responsibility for the Biman Bangladesh Airlines crash at Yangon International Airport last year has been laid at the door of the pilots, while the airport authorities have been absolved of any blame.
On May 8 last year, a Biman flight from Dhaka to Yangon crashed on the runway in its attempt to land. The plane was carrying 35 people, including the crew.
As many as 20 of those on board were injured, but no fatalities were reported.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Myanmar immediately opened an investigation into the crash. The findings of the Myanmar investigation were obtained by Dhaka Tribune.
The AAIB report says the pilots did not follow aviation safety instructions or Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower directions.
According to the Airplane Flight Manual, if a pilot determines by the time the aircraft is at the missed approach point that the runway or its environment is not in sight or a safe landing cannot be accomplished for any reason, the landing approach must be discontinued (a go-around).
However, Captain Nazrul Islam Shamim and his co-pilot Anwar Pervej Akas did not perform a go-around but instead attempted to land the plane in heavy rain.
According to the authorities, the crash occurred around 6:52pm.
There was heavy rain and the runway lights were on.
When the pilot inquired about landing, the ATC replied that visibility was good but cautioned him regarding the torrent.
The pilot followed a standard Instrument Landing System (ILS) in his approach.
As the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 descended to 2,000 feet, the ATC asked them to go-around as the weather had not improved. The turboprop plane complied and was cleared after performing a go-around.
The pilot again attempted an ILS approach, which the ATC asked him not to, as the glide slope of the airport which works in conjunction with the ILS,was out of service.
The ILS sends radio waves to determine a guiding path for aircraft to land. The glide slope provides vertical guidance and a localizer provides horizontal guidance.
The pilot’s second attempt solely involved localizers as the rainfall continued at 1,500 feet of elevation.
Though flight manuals urge that landing speed must be 122 knots with a stabilized approach, the plane touched down at 146-148 knots while unstable. A sudden gust of wind further destabilized the plane and lifted it momentarily.
It landed with a sickening crunch as the landing gear in the nose came apart, making it skid off the runway.
The fuselage was ruptured in two places, breaking the plane into three sections. The right wing came apart from the plane’s body and the propeller blades shattered into pieces.
The AAIB noted that during the approach and landing phases, the pilot and co-pilot took turns controlling the aircraft.
An investigation board formed by Biman Bangladesh Airlines has suspended the two pilots after finding them guilty of negligence. The Biman investigation also found no fault with the Yangon airport authorities.
Md Mohibul Haque, secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism, said: “Our findings are the same as those found by Yangon; it was the fault of the pilots.”
The AAIB made three recommendations to reduce and eliminate such accidents in the future.
They include discontinuing a landing approach if the plane is unstabilized, have the senior pilot carry out the landing or fly in adverse weather, and undergo standard training courses on landing procedures.