|B1/2008L Airliner veering off the runway at Lappeenranta airport on 31 January 2008||Text version|
A serious incident occurred at Lappeenranta airport on Thursday, 31 January 2008 at 00.08 Finnish time when a SAAB 340B airliner veered off the runway during its landing roll. There were 13 passengers and 3 crew members onboard. Accident Investigation Board Finland appointed an investigation commission for this occurrence. Investigator Ari Huhtala was named investigator-in-charge, accompanied by investigators Hannu Halonen and Asko Nokelainen as members of the commission. Dr Päivikki Eskelinen-Rönkä and MSc Markku Roschier were invited as experts to the commission.
Job Air scheduled flight JBR039 from Helsinki to Lappeenranta landed on runway 06 in snowfall. After touchdown the aircraft bore slightly to the left of the runway centre line. During the landing roll the aircraft slowly turned to the left and veered off the runway. The aircraft came to a halt on a grassy strip, perpendicular to the runway. The incident did not cause any injuries to persons. During the course of the occurrence the tips of the left engine propeller blades were broken. Airport vehicles transported the passengers to the terminal. At 00:26 the air traffic controller at Lappeenranta reported the occurrence to the Area Control Centre (ACC) South Finland, which, in turn, alerted Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Finland. Following this, AIB Finland phoned Lappeenranta ATC, requesting them to call the police to investigate the scene.
The occurrence took place at night. A light crosswind was coming from the right. Visibility in the snowfall was approximately 1500 m and the cloud base was 30 m. In preparation for the landing a 33 m wide runway section had been cleared. Due to the unremitting snowfall there was nonetheless fresh snow on the cleared area. Runway braking action was poor.
The incident was caused by the aircraft veering off the cleared section of the runway during the landing roll. The right engine failed after reverse thrust was applied which caused asymmetric braking, resulting in the aircraft turning to the left and skidding off the runway. There was also a contributing factor: snowflakes illuminated by the landing lights were blowing across the runway in the breeze and this may have confused the pilots with regard to the course of the aircraft in relation to the runway centre line. The centre line markings were completely covered by snow and the pilots were uninformed of the snow banks on the runway. The conditions in snowfall during night-time were difficult and braking action was poor. The width of the cleared area of the runway was 33 m and there was a direct crosswind. The pilots had only limited experience with local winter operations and with the wintertime runway maintenance practices in use.
The investigation commission issued three safety recommendations. The first one recommends the airline ensure that their pilots have sufficient training and instructions with regard to operations in difficult winter conditions in northern Europe. The second one advised the airline to make certain that their pilots have the required emergency procedures training as well as instructions on handling the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) during incidents. The third safety recommendation urged Finavia to ensure that runway maintenance at Lappeenranta airport always be completed before allowing air traffic in the movement area, and that full information relating to runway conditions be reported to air traffic.
Finnish aviation authority did not have anything to comment to the investigation report. Neither did Air Accident Investigation Institude of the Czech Republic and Swedish Accident Investigation Board have any comments. The aircraft manufacturer did not have any comments. Finavia and Job Air – Central Connect Airlines s.r.o. do have comments. Those comments have been taken into account in the Investigation report.