Lever pull faulted in plane crash-landing

Last updated 13:03 07/02/2013
EMERGENCY LANDING: The Bombardier lands at Woodbourne air force base, west of Blenheim.

EMERGENCY LANDING: The Bombardier lands at Woodbourne air force base, west of Blenheim.

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The pilots of a passenger plane that crash-landed at Woodbourne airport after its nose landing equipment failed to deploy did not pull the lever hard enough, a report has found.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) today released its findings into the crash of a Bombardier Dash 8 carrying 44 people on February 9, 2011.

The twin-engine plane on a flight from Hamilton to Wellington was forced to divert to Woodbourne, in Blenheim, to carry out an emergency landing without the use of its nose landing gear.

Originally, none of the plane's landing gear deployed and the pilots were forced to fly in another loop near Wellington while they performed a check.

The pilots managed to release the main landing gear, but when the nose landing gear did not release the decision was made to crash-land at Woodbourne, the report said.

No one was injured.

TAIC found there was nothing mechanically wrong with the plane.

"The nose landing gear did not extend because the pilots did not pull hard enough on the handle that should have released the uplock," it said.

"If the uplock had released, the nose landing gear would have lowered under gravity and locked down."

When training with the type of landing gear the plane used, it was found a much lighter pull was required to bring the gear down.

TAIC said the pilots were not made aware through their training, how hard they actually had to pull the lever to release the landing gear.

Investigators have recommended New Zealand's director of Civil Aviation discuss with Transport Canada - where the landing gear is made - the possibility of making training simulator performance closer to the real landing gear.

Air Nelson has already modified its flight simulator to match the required force, so pilots are aware how hard they need to pull the handle.

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