Narrative:A Cessna 501 Citation I/SP corporate jet, registered G-VUEM, was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident at Birmingham International Airport (BHX), U.K.. Both crew members survived.
The airplane was parked at Liverpool Airport on the accident day. The original objective was to fly to Belfast City Airport, collect a transplant organ, and take it to Cambridge Airport. However, on the arrival at Belfast the transfer was no longer required, so the crew members were given a new task to fly to Belfast International Airport (BFS) and collect an organ to carry to Birmingham Airport (BHX).
The aircraft departed Belfast-BFS at 14:50 with the co-pilot as pilot flying. The flight was uneventful and the aircraft was given a radar vector to intercept the ILS for a straight-in approach to runway 15 at Birmingham.
The runway 15 ILS course is 149░M. The autopilot was engaged and the aircraft was flying on a track of 135░M, 13 nm from the touchdown zone and at a groundspeed of 254 kt, when it crossed the localiser centreline. The aircraft then turned right onto a corrective track but once again passed through the localiser course. Further corrections were made and the aircraft passed through the localiser once more before becoming established at 5 nm. The co-pilot later reported that, because the autopilot was not capturing the localiser, he had disconnected it and flown the approach manually.
When the aircraft was at 10 nm, the radar controller broadcast a message advising of the presence of a fog bank on final approach and giving RVRs of 1,400 m at touchdown and in excess of 1,500 m at both the mid-point and stop end. The airfield was sighted by the commander during the approach but not by the co-pilot. A handover to the tower frequency was made at around 8 nm. When the aircraft was at 6 nm, landing clearance was given and acknowledged. The tower controller then advised the aircraft that there was a fog bank over the airfield boundary, together with the information that the touchdown RVR was 1,400 m. The commander responded, saying: "We've got one end of the runway".
The aircraft was correctly on the localiser and the glideslope at 4 nm. The Decision Altitude (DA) of 503 ft amsl (200 ft aal) for the approach was written on a bug card mounted centrally above the glareshield.
Both pilots recollected that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) calls of "500 above" and "100 above" DA were made by the commander. However, neither pilot could recall a call of 'decision' or 'go-around' being made. At between 1.1 nm and 0.9 nm, and 400 ft to 300 ft aal, the aircraft turned slightly to the right, onto a track of 152░M. This track was maintained until the aircraft struck the glideslope antenna to the right of the runway some 30 seconds later. The aircraft came to rest in an upright position on the grass with a fire on the left side. The co-pilot evacuated through the main cabin door, which is located on the left side of the fuselage, and suffered flash burns as he passed through the fire. The commander was trapped in the cockpit for a time.
PROBABLE CAUSE: The investigation report did not contain a probable cause paragraph as recommended in ICAO Annex 13.
» Birmingham Airport shut as transplant aircraft crashes (BBC, 19-11-2010)
» Pilot critical after donor liver plane crashes at airport (Belfast Telegraph, 20-11-2010)
Official accident investigation report
|investigating agency: ||Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) - U.K. |
|report status: ||Final|
|report number: ||AAIB Bulletin: 8/2011|
|duration of investigation:||265 days (8.8 months)|
|download report: ||
Cessna 501 Citation, G-VUEM
(AAIB Bulletin: 8/2011)
Runway 15 ILS glideslope antenna tower after the accident.
Frame from CCTV footage showing the fog bank and mushroom cloud from the post-crash fire.
The position and height of G-VUEM relative to the glideslope and localiser (based on radar information) during the approach to runway 15.
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Belfast International Airport to Birmingham International Airport as the crow flies is 381 km (238 miles).