Air investigation unit releases report on unsafe landing in Knock

The Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport released a report this week on an incident which occurred at Ireland West Airport, Knock on May 28 this year.

The report outlines that on May 28 2009 at 2.24pm, air traffic control in Knock gave permission for a single engine Cessna light aircraft to land on the same runway at the airport as an Airbus 320 which was lined up and holding on the runway. The report concluded: “This was contrary to air traffic control procedures and was not a safe manoeuvre,” however the report did not contain any safety recommendations following investigator Frank Russell’s investigation into the incident.

The report outlined that the Cessna was flying from Carnmore Airport in Galway to Knock for maintenance. The pilot contacted the air traffic control centre at Knock to be cleared for entry to land at the airport. The pilot who was a 52-year-old male with 360 hours of flying experience was given clearance to land on runway 27. But he had been listening to the airport frequency, and on his radio. and was aware that the Airbus had been given start up and taxi clearance on the same runway. He then radioed again to say that he could orbit the east of the airfield if needed so the Airbus could continue its manoeuvres on the runway, but was instructed by air traffic control to continue his route and land on the runway. He then radioed again and was asked to “land long” on the runway, while air traffic control advised the Airbus, which was bound for Gatwick, that the Cessna would be landing long on the same runway as it was on, but there was no response from the Airbus pilot. The pilot of the Cessna carried out a higher than usual approach to ensure safe clearance of the Airbus and landed safely on the runway.

The AAI suspended the controller ratings (accreditation to carry out the job ) while the investigation was completed, and following the investigation the controller’s ratings were restored. The report synopsis said that the landing was “contrary to air traffic control procedures and was not a safe manoeuvre.” It also said that “aviation safety is not one dimensional, nor is air traffic control responsible for safety alone. Pilots bear an equal share of this responsibility and a healthy professional interaction ensues between pilots and air traffic control. On this occasion, that neither the pilot saw fit to question the air traffic control clearance or express any concern was an unfortunate lapse of airmanship.”

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