NTSB Identification: DCA15WA198
14 CFR Part 129: Foreign Qatar Airways
Incident occurred Tuesday, September 15, 2015 in Miami, FL
Aircraft: BOEING 777, registration:
Injuries: 279 Uninjured.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has delegated the investigation of an incident involving a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300, that occurred on September 15, 2015, to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Qatar. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the CAA investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of the airplane.
All investigative information will be released by the Qatar CAA.
Miscommunication among the flight crew and mistakes by the captain led to a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 hitting a set of runway lights in Miami in September, resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft, a preliminary report published by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) has found.
The report, which was released yesterday, states that the aircraft entered the runway at intersection T1, which made the available runway 1,368m too short.
This was despite clear instructions stating that such a take off was forbidden for the Boeing 777, which was heavily laden with passengers and cargo.
As a result, the aircraft only became airborne at the very end of the runway, colliding with the Approach Lighting System, a series of masts located about 60m beyond the runway limits.
The report noted that the flight’s captain had realized that “something was not right” as the plane accelerated, passing markers that told the crew they only had 900m of runway left, but had “concluded (that) the safest course of action was to continue.”
The aircraft only started to take off within the final 300m of runway which is clearly marked by red lights, the report said.
It also stated that although the crew were aware of their close call, they were unaware that the aircraft had collided with the approach lights until they arrived back in Qatar.
Although the flight continued to Doha as normal and landed safety, the report highlighted the scale of the damage caused by the collision.
Upon landing, an inspection revealed a 46cm tear in the fuselage behind the rear cargo door.
Data taken from the flight recorders shows that this tear forced the aircraft to compensate (successfully) to prevent a loss of cabin pressure during the flight.
There were also 90 dents and scratches across an 18 square meter area of the plane’s undercarriage, and some damage to a metal guard on the left landing gear.
According to the report, a shared name – T1 – for the runway intersection and a completely separate reference in the crew’s pre-flight data is at the heart of the incident.
It stated the Qatar Airways flight crew had decided that it would be safe to take off from Intersection T1 on Miami’s Runway 09 because they had become confused by another mention of “T1” in the data given to them before the flight.
This reference, “Runway 09#T1,” actually referred to a temporary performance advisory for the runway, but not to the intersection in question, and the repeated use of “T1” was a coincidence.
The crew had seen this advisory while calculating the runway length required for takeoff, a calculation made using the plane’s onboard computers.
The report noted that during this calculation, the crew “understood” that they must use the full length of the runway, and that they had read information that said that intersection departures were not permissible.
However, as the aircraft was taxiing, the captain apparently decided that the aircraft could depart from the intersection, rather than from the beginning of the runway.
It noted that he “could not recall” why he made that decision, but that he believed it “may have been” because the printed information displayed Runway 09#T1 “in a compelling way.”
He then asked the first officer (FO) to advise Air Traffic Control of this decision. The report stated that the FO “glanced at his notes” and saw he had written “09/(T1)#” which he said made him believe that this was an acceptable line-up point for take-off.
There were two further pilots – another captain and first officer, the aircraft’s relief crew – in the flight deck during the incident.
The report stated that these two pilots questioned the captain’s decision to take off from the intersection, as it appeared to be different from what they had been briefed on before the flight.
The captain apparently “made a hand gesture” in reply, “and said something which he thought was seeking reassurance from the crew that everything was OK.”
The flight’s first officer replied that he was happy with the decision, the report stated.
Meanwhile, the relief crew misunderstood the captain’s response, thinking that he had just said that he was happy with the decision and that he had most likely recalculated the flight data, so they didn’t press the matter further.
The flight’s captain and first officer were both experienced pilots, but also both relatively new on the Boeing 777, with 996 and 234 hours on the aircraft, respectively.
It is not known if the flight crew have faced disciplinary proceedings following the incident.
Qatar Airways have not yet responded to a request for comment.
The QCAA said that its investigation is continuing, and that its final report will be published “in due course.”
Story, comments and photos: http://dohanews.co
The FAA is looking into what multiple aviation experts told NBC 6 Investigators was a recent frightening near-miss at Miami International Airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also trying to find out exactly what happened.
NBC 6 discovered the pilots of a Qatar Airways 777 didn't use the entire runway they had available and aviation experts said it almost caused a disaster.
Surveillance video shows the huge jet getting airborne and a red flash.
An airport report shows the jet hit three aviation lights that stand about 15-feet tall and are up to 1,000-feet after the runway ends, not far from the airport fence line.
NBC 6 exclusively obtained images of the poles lying on the ground, and what it looked like when hours later, workers went out to inspect the damage.
"This is scary," said Jay Rollins, a former Navy pilot and retired American Airlines captain. "He took out the first two or three, so it's very serious. This aircraft should have never been in that position as it left the ground."
The Qatar Airways jet holds about 300 people. It was heading to Dohar, Qatar, in the Middle East. The damage to the 777 was discovered after it safely landed.
The FAA's initial report said: "Inspection revealed damage to underbelly of aircraft described as substantial."
"To be where he was and the position to actually hit the belly of the airplane, as he climbed out with approach lights for the other direction means that literally was going off the end of the runway as he got airborne and therefore, but for the grace of God, everyone would have been killed," Rollins said.
Just beyond the damaged lights is a public roadway, an employee parking lot and a fuel depot.
The Aviation Department said: "The runway was fully operational at the time of the incident."
But communications with the control tower indicate that instead of using the full runway, that's more than two miles in length, the pilot instead turned at an intersection known as T-1, leaving a 3,000-foot section of the runway unused.
Now investigators are using air traffic control audio to help determine why the pilots didn't use the full runway.
"It makes no sense for an airliner that big, that full of people, full of fuel, to take an intersection take off. He cut off the first quarter of the runway. So it's not surprising they wouldn't make it," Rollins said.
After striking the lights, the pilots continued on, apparently unaware their plane was damaged.
"I say that it's a near-tragedy and thank God that it didn't happen. It was very close. I mean it doesn't get closer," Rollins said.
NBC 6 emailed Qatar Airways multiple times, called them and spoke with their airport manager, but so far no official response from them on this incident.
The lighting system that was hit is going to be out of service until the middle of October.
Story and video: http://www.nbcmiami.com