ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-428 F-GITA Papeete-Faaa Airport (PPT), Tahiti
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 12 September 1993
Time:21:05
Type:Silhouette image of generic B744 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-428
Operator:Air France
Registration: F-GITA
MSN: 24969/836
First flight: 1991-01-25 (2 years 8 months)
Total airframe hrs:9901
Engines: 4 General Electric CF6-80C2B1F
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 16
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 256
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 272
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Papeete-Faaa Airport (PPT), Tahiti (   French Polynesia)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America
Destination airport:Papeete-Faaa Airport (PPT/NTAA), French Polynesia
Flightnumber:AF072
Narrative:
Boeing 747 F-GITA operated Air France flight 072, Paris-Los Angeles-Tahiti. Weather was good when the flight approached Tahiti at night. The aircraft positioned for a runway 22 VOR-DME approach. At 21:05 the aircraft touched down at a speed of 168 knots. Two seconds later no. 1 engine power increased to 107% N1.
Because of this the spoilers did not deploy and the automatic brake disarmed. Reverse thrust was used on all remaining engines. Because of difficulties due to thrust asymmetry, the no. 4 engine thrust reverser was cancelled. The aircraft overran the runway and ended up in a lagoon.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:
The accident was due to an unstabilized approach and the application of high positive thrust by engine 1 on landing, as a result of a peculiarity in the automatic flight system that caused the aircraft to go into go-around mode at a point in the trajectory corresponding to the decision height.
This resulted in:
- the long touchdown with an excessive speed
- the deviation of the trajectory to the right and the lateral exit of the runway.
The lack of respect of the operational procedures concerning the checks and the announcements during the approach and the landing, as well as the lack of communication between the pilots were strong contributing factors to the accident. In particular, the deviations beyond the tolerances of several flight parameters should have led to a go-around.
The lack of information from the manufacturer to the operators and crews on this particularity of the automatic flight system is also a contributing factor to the accident.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: Report f-ta930913
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Landing after unstabilized approach
Runway excursion (overrun)

Sources:
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 20.9.93(23)
» Bureau Enquêtes-Accidents Rapport relatif à l'accident survenu le 13 septembre 1993 sur l’aéroport de Tahiti Faaa au Boeing 747-428B immatriculé F-GITA exploité par Air France (F-TA930913)
» Flight International
» Scramble 172


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Map
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 Los Angeles International Airport, CA to Papeete-Faaa Airport as the crow flies is 6568 km (4105 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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