A319 Heavy Landing
The aircraft was established on an ILS approach [but] at about 1,500 ft aal, the commander’s Flight Management Guidance Computer (FMGC)1 failed. The crew were unable to alter the target approach speed, and the engines began to spool up un-commanded. The pilot flying disconnected the autopilot and autothrust and the rest of the approach was flown manually.
Below 50 ft the pitch attitude of the aircraft was reduced slightly just before the aircraft was flared for landing, and it touched down heavily in a relatively flat attitude. The normal acceleration recorded at touchdown was 3.01 g [and 11.9 ft/sec], which is classified as a Severe Hard Landing.
The aircraft was inspected for a Severe Hard Landing as required by the manufacturer’s Aircraft Maintenance Manual. This inspection revealed damage to the nose landing gear and the right main landing gear as well as some cracking of the paint and sealant in the nose gear bay and avionics bay.
The landing gear was sent to an overhaul shop for inspection which…
…revealed that both the nose landing gear and the right main landing gear had suffered excessive loads during the landing and could not be returned to a serviceable condition. The nose landing gear shock-absorber cylinder was found buckled (below) with the barrel and forestay lower arm pin found to be out of tolerance.
The right main landing gear sliding tube and shock-absorber were also found to be outside acceptable tolerances when measured.
…neither pilot realised that the aircraft was in the incorrect attitude for landing until it was too late to take corrective action.
It is possible that distractions and high workload during the approach contributed to the nose-down pitch input being made immediately before touchdown.
Other Safety Resources
Due to the absence of maintenance support at the Fuerteventura airport and, in the absence of a criterion on the meaning of landing report code ‘Hard’, the crew decided to make the return flight to Dusseldorf.
Consequently in their final report the CIAIAC (Investigación de accidentes e incidentes de aviación civil) recommend that Germania “improve the aptitude of its MOC personnel to ensure they provide correct support so that safe decisions are made in every aerodrome at all hours of operation”.
We discuss this in more detail here: A320 Flown on After Damaging Heavy Landing