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Occurrences

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Occurrence of the Month relates to Occurrence 201724851 which involved a Piper PA-31 Navajo piston engined twin. The aircraft was inbound on a VOR instrument approach and here are parts of the controller’s occurrence report:

 

I looked east bound towards the final approach and could not see the ***** on final. I looked at the ATM and observed that the aircraft appeared to be very low on the approach… I then looked either side of the pillar in the VCR and noticed lights to the right of final approach and very low. The aircraft was that low that I initially thought the lights were from a vehicle in the fields and it was only when I looked through the binoculars that I realised that it was *****. The aircraft appeared to be approximately 100-200 feet AGL descending and was heading south-west away from the runway. I tried contacting the pilot to confirm he had the runway lights in sight but got no reply. I then instructed ***** to go-around, again with no reply and while doing this the aircraft lights appeared to go out. Just after this the aircraft disappeared behind the tree line just east of the airport. I immediately hit the crash line and started to declare an aircraft accident with the RFFS. Whilst doing this I was still looking through the binoculars and I thought I observed movement in the vicinity of the tree line, I therefore paused declaring the aircraft accident until I was absolutely sure what was happening with *****. Whilst in contact with the RFFS I observed ***** appear very low just east of the 25 threshold and heading towards the runway. Shortly after this the pilot made contact with me. I initially informed him to go-around as I was not sure he was correctly aligned for a landing but then changed this to a 'cleared to land' instruction after confirming with the pilot that this was what he wanted. During this I informed the RFFS to cancel the aircraft accident as the aircraft was going to make a successful landing. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The report from an examiner in the cockpit goes, in part, as follows:

A radar vectored VOR / DME approach to runway 25 at EGAA was conducted as part of an MEP/IR renewal check ride. After intercepting the inbound radial, the final descent proceeded normally with approach flap and gear down, and pre-landing checks were completed, to a decision altitude of 750ft. At this point, with a ‘landing’ clearance received, the examiner removed the screen. During the candidate’s transition to continue the approach visually and manoeuvring to line up with the centreline (the VOR approach is offset from the runway extended centreline), the aircraft descended below the glide path; shortly thereafter the examiner stated “4 reds”, with both crew having good visual contact with approach and runway. The PF (candidate) increased the power and eased back on the yoke to reduce the descent rate and re-establish the glide path. The speed decayed and the aircraft veered slightly to the left. The examiner stated again “4 reds, speed”; at the same time the PF noticed the aircraft was out of balance and applied some right rudder and rudder trim. The aircraft continued descending below the glide path and was now heading to the left of the runway. PF increased the power further and announced that there was a problem at the same time the decision was made to go around. In attempting to apply maximum power, it became clear that there was a lack of power from the left engine. Flaps and gear were retracted to minimise drag (around this time the controller issued a go-around instruction which was not acknowledged given the workload at the time). The examiner took control and, given the low speed and poor climb rate achieved at the time, positioned the aircraft over the runway and declared an intention to land (there was deemed sufficient landing distance available). After the issue of a landing clearance from the controller, the aircraft landed safely and proceeded to exit at ‘Delta’. During the exit of the runway, the left propeller stopped; the aircraft was taxied to Delta apron on one engine.

 

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