THE pilots of an Air New Zealand aircraft landed with a broken landing gear despite warnings going off that something was not right, investigators say.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) on Thursday released its report into the September 2010 landing at Blenheim in the New Zealand region of Marlborough.
The landing ended with the Bombardier Q300’s nose skidding along the tarmac. None of the crew or 43 passengers were injured and aircraft suffered minor damage.
A hydraulic blockage was likely to blame for the nose gear not fully extending, which set off an “unsafe” alert in the cockpit, the TAIC report said.
However, after working through a troubleshooting checklist, the pilots, assuming a fault in one of the landing gear sensors, decided to rely on an independent verification system – later found to be unreliable – which falsely showed the landing gear was down.
On the final approach the pilots ignored two warning systems that something was wrong.
When the aircraft landed the nose gear collapsed into the wheel well and the aeroplane skidded to a halt on the nose landing gear doors.
TAIC found the hydraulic blockage was probably behind similar nose landing gear problems in other Q300s in the weeks before the Blenheim landing.
It said the pilots ought to have heeded the warnings and abandoned the landing until they were sure whether or not the landing gear was down.
Air NZ subsidiary Air Nelson and Bombardier took a number of safety actions to ensure it did not happen again, TAIC said.