Narrative:On 17 June 2003 at 08:21 an Onur Air Boeing McDonnell Douglas MD-88 registered as TC-ONP contacted Groningen Airport Eelde tower for landing on runway 05. The flight with number OHY 2263 originated from Dalaman (Turkey). On board were 7 crew members and 146 passengers. During the non-precision approach, the aircraft was not properly lined up and too high for landing. A go-around was initiated at 08:28. The published missed approach procedure (i.e. climb 2,000 feet on track 053, contact ATC) was not followed. Instead, a left hand visual circuit was made at an altitude of 1,000 feet. ATC did not challenge this deviation from the standard procedure. The aircraft made an uneventful landing on runway 05 at 08:33.
At Groningen Airport Eelde 76 passengers disembarked. The 70 passengers with destination Maastricht-Aachen Airport remained on board. An additional 72 passengers with destination Dalaman boarded the aircraft making a total of 142 passengers on board.
The load and trim sheet as prepared by the crew assumed 70 passengers in compartment #1 and 70 passengers in compartment #2. Since seat allocation was not used for the passengers (free seating policy), the actual distribution differed. The purser stated that the aft part of the cabin had not been occupied by passengers.
According to the load and trim sheet the centre of gravity for takeoff (TO-CG) was at 11.1% mean aerodynamic cord (MAC) and the takeoff mass was 127,529 lb (57846 kg). During flight preparation, the "Onur Air takeoff performance chart with optimum flap setting for Groningen Airport Eelde runway 23" was used. This flaps setting was 24 degrees.
At 09:09 the start-up clearance for runway 05 as runway in use was received. On request of the flight crew runway 23 was approved for departure by ATC.
Engine start and taxi-out were uneventful. During taxi the flight was cleared for a domestic flight from Groningen Airport Eelde to Maastricht Aachen Airport as OHY 2264. The final destination was Dalaman (Turkey). At 09:18 the aircraft received takeoff clearance for runway 23.
The captain stated that after the aircraft was lined up on runway 23 the takeoff was initiated. After the throttles were advanced, the stabilizer warning sounded. The throttles were retarded and the aircraft stopped. The captain stated that the aircraft had moved five to six meters before it stopped. Eyewitnesses reported that 50 to 150 meters were used before the takeoff run was resumed. On the runway checks were performed. The stabilizer position was changed from 6.8 to 7.2 degrees aircraft nose up (ANU). Thereafter the crew initiated a static engine spin-up. Again the stabilizer warning sounded. The crew released the brakes and started the takeoff roll. During the entire takeoff roll the warning sounded continuously.
When attempting to rotate the captain experienced a heavy elevator control force. The captain stated that he needed much more than normal back pressure on his control column to lift the nose. He felt "it was impossible to make the takeoff", and as the nose did not rise he decided to reject the takeoff. Rejection was initiated at 128 knots. Brakes and reversed engine thrust had been applied. The aircraft overran the runway end with a speed of approximately 75 knots. During the deceleration in the soft soil, it hit the approach lighting system, including the concrete structures embedded in the ground. It came to a stop approximately 100 meters beyond the runway end. There was no fire. All occupants evacuated the aircraft safely. Some of them returned to the aircraft and re-entered it, to pick up their belongings. In addition, the pilots remained on board and only left the aircraft when instructed to do so by the fire brigade.
- The crew resumed the take off and continued whilst the take off configuration warning, as a result of the still incorrect stabilizer setting, reappeared.
- The actual center of gravity during take-off (TO-CG) was far more forward than assumed by the crew. As a consequence the horizontal stabilizer was not set at the required position for take-off.
- The far more forward TO-CG - contributed to an abnormal heavy elevator control force at rotation and made the pilot to reject the take-off beyond decision speed. This resulted in a runway overrun.
- By design the aircraft configuration warning system does not protect against an incorrect TOCG insert.
- The aircraft was not equipped with a weight and balance measuring system.
- Deviations of operational factors accumulated into an unfavorable aircraft performance condition during take-off.
- Cockpit crew showed significant deficits.
Centre of Gravity outside limits
Wrong takeoff configuration (flaps/trim)
Official accident investigation report
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 Groningen-Eelde Airport to Maastricht/Aachen Airport as the crow flies is 250 km (156 miles).