Narrative:Flight KAT603, a Dornier 228, took off from Røst (RET) at 08:25. The First Officer was the Pilot Flying (PF).
|Date:||Thursday 4 December 2003|
|C/n / msn:|| 8127|
|First flight:|| 1987|
|Engines:|| 2 Garrett TPE331-5-252D|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2|
|Total:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4 |
|Airplane damage:|| Damaged beyond repair|
|Location:||Bodø Airport (BOO) ( Norway)
|Phase:|| Landing (LDG)|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Røst-Stolport Airport (RET/ENRS), Norway|
|Destination airport:||Bodø Airport (BOO/ENBO), Norway|
At 08:28 Bodø Approach confirmed radar contact and instructed the crew to fly at 6,000 ft and follow a heading of 090º which would enable them to make a subsequent approach to ILS 25 using radar vectoring. The first part of the flight progressed without problems and with less turbulence than expected. Bodø soon came into sight. Because there was a strong wind from the west, runway 25 was in use for landing. Ahead of them, and over the mainland, was a wall of clouds. In the space of a very short time, severe lightning activity developed in the area north to south of Bodø. In the subsequent period, several flights in the area decided, either on their own initiative or based on thunderstorm activity reports from the air traffic control service, to fly round the active cells containing heavy precipitation/intense lightning activity.
At 08:36, Widerøes Flyveselskap Flight WIF803 (a DHC-8) was nearing its approach to Bodø Airport from the east. The crew had registered a high intensity of precipitation in the area of the Ilstad locator (IL) on their weather radar. They were reluctant to fly through the precipitation cells and asked the air traffic control service if any other aircraft had flown through the area. They were told that there had been no other flights east of the location during the past half hour. The air traffic control service then cleared WIF803 to begin its ILS 25 approach. WIF803 was above Valnesfjord at that time. A little later, the air traffic control service informed WIF803 that another option would be to set a course west of the airport and make an ILS 07 approach, followed by visual circling for landing on runway 25. They added that, as visibility was poor, this was not a favourable alternative. Meanwhile, cumulonimbus clouds (CB) had amassed in the Landegofjorden area and to the south of Fugløya. The crew of WIF803 therefore elected to continue their approach from the east. At 08:38, WIF803 reported it was established on ILS 25. One minute later, while WIF803 was approximately 3 NM east of Ilstad (IL) at an altitude of 3,500 – 4,000 ft, the crew informed Bodø Approach that they had sustained a powerful lighting strike and did not advise other Dash 8 aircraft to fly through the same showers. The captain of WIF803 subsequently told the AIBN investigators that in all the 19 years he had flown in the Bodø area, he had never experienced such a rapid build-up of intense lightning activity.
Bodø Approach immediately informed KAT603 of the warning from WIF803. The crew of KAT603 then asked about the possibility of an ILS 07 approach followed by circling to runway 25. After coordination between Bodø Approach and Bodø TWR, which was able to visually check the position of the showers, KAT603 was informed that the showers were heading north-east. The crew were given the choice of waiting in the Fauske area or setting a westerly course and then making an approach from west to east. KAT603 asked to make an approach from the west. There were extensive showers in the Bodø area at the time and the crew were asked what it would be like to fly back to the west. The crew stated that they had visual contact with the airport on the flight from Røst to Bodø and that a return the same way should be ok, but that there were quite intense showers where they were. At time 08:41, KAT603 had passed north of Bodø Airport and was now northeast of the airport. To position it for the approach from the west, KAT603 was sent a radar heading of 270º, continuing at a cruising altitude of 6,000 ft. In the period 08:42-08:43, there was frequent communication between the crew and Bodø Approach. They communicated about the positions of showers in the area, changes in the weather, the possibility of flying round the showers and their assessment of the best course to follow. The crew decided to continue to the ILS to runway 25. At 08:43, the pilots discussed the fact that the aircraft’s weather radar was completely unusable. Despite the obviously powerful cells in the area, the weather radar was not displaying any red colours. At the same time, the aircraft encountered heavy turbulence.
At 08:44, KAT603 sustained a very powerful lightning strike on its nose area. Both pilots were completely blinded. It was 30 seconds before their vision gradually began to return. The crew informed Bodø Approach about what had occurred. The aircraft's flight data recorder showed that when the aircraft was hit by lightning, the airspeed was 168 KIAS, the altitude 5,900 ft and the heading 225º. At that time, the aircraft was approximately 10 NM east of Bodø Airport.
After the lightning strike the pilots realized that the elevator was not working normally. After increasing power the aircraft began a rapid climb, eventually reaching a rate of climb as high as 4,000 ft/min, with a rapidly decreasing airspeed as a result. The aircraft was close to stalling. The airspeed had fallen to its lowest value of 66 KIAS and the aircraft had stopped climbing at an altitude of 7,800 ft. The captain now took over control.
Engine power and trim were used to increase the airspeed to safe level. The aircraft continued its unwanted climb to 9,000 ft.
At 08:47, the crew called Bodø and said they were at FL090 on a compass heading of 010º. Bodø Approach acknowledged receipt of the message and reiterated that they were free to operate as they deemed necessary. The crew then reported that they were experiencing problems with the elevator and were having to apply electric elevator trim to control the aircraft’s altitude. Exchanges over the next few minutes concerned updated information about the showers in the area and planning of the best way of making the landing approach. The crew were told that wind at the airport was 230º and 25-32 kt.
At 08:50, the crew declared an emergency, as a result of the problems with the elevator, and gave information on how many passengers were onboard and how they were seated in the cabin. Because of new showers moving into the area, the subsequent period was marked by hectic activity, with the air traffic control service constantly evaluating how they could best advise the crew to fly. The preferable situation was to bring the aircraft into visual flying conditions if possible, but it was not certain that this was feasible, due to low clouds and reduced visibility in the showers. From a position over Landegodefjorden, heading and altitude clearances were given for the approach to runway 25.
The crew gradually gained experience in keeping control of the aircraft. Because the elevator trim had an incremental effect, each change of engine power meant that the trim had to be re-adjusted. The strong wind at altitude and high terrain created turbulence and made stabilization of the aircraft even more challenging. The aircraft’s other systems appeared to be intact after the lightning strike. At 09:01 descending to 2,500 ft, the crew gained sight of the airport from a distance of 7 NM and received clearance to land on runway 25. The passengers were kept informed of the problems with the elevator.
At time 09:04, when the aircraft was on short final, the current wind was reported as 230º 25 kt. The captain decided to land with flaps in position 1. He was flying the aircraft and asked the First Officer to make all the required changes to engine power. As the aircraft was at approximately 700 ft, its ground proximity warning system issued an alarm that the aircraft was below the glide path. The pilots tried to keep the aircraft as stable as possible. From approximately 100 ft the aircraft flew with a very low sink rate over the runway, before suddenly descending. When the aircraft met the runway outside taxiway D (about the middle of the runway), its airspeed was a little too high (110 KIAS) and it landed in a three-point position. It was a hard landing and the aircraft
immediately bounced high into the air. Faced with this situation and with the elevator out of action, the captain felt justified to abort the landing.
The airspeed during the climb was approximately 110 KIAS, varying from 101 to 120 KIAS. The crew then circled to make a new left landing circuit and approach to runway 25.
The aircraft was established on short final again 1 minute and 55 seconds before landing. The approach was considerably flatter than the standard 3.5º for runway 25 at Bodø. The captain wanted to place the aircraft at a lower approach angle than on the first landing approach and to land some way onto the runway. The captain was aiming to minimize any need for a change in pitch and trim, and to achieve the best possible landing down in one of the oscillations on the aircraft’s flight path (approach angle). The air traffic controller reported a wind of 230º 27 kt. From 30-10 seconds before impact, the airspeed varied between 99 and 123 KIAS. In the last 10 seconds, the airspeed fell from 123 KIAS to the flight data recorder’s last registered speed of 101 KIAS. The nose attitude was too low, but the captain managed to flare a little before the aircraft hit the ground virtually flat, 22 metres short of the asphalt at the eastern end of the runway. The aircraft’s flight data recorder registered up to 8.4 G on impact. The aircraft’s landing gear broke off, its belly was forced up and the wing pressed down into the cabin. The aircraft slid for 78 metres before stopping on the runway. No fuel leakage or fire occurred.
SIGNIFICANT INVESTIGATION RESULTS:
a) The air traffic control service did not have equipment for integrated weather presentation on the radar display
b) The aircraft’s weather radar did not indicate precipitation cells and was therefore not functioning correctly
c) Up to 30% of the wires on individual bondings between the fuselage, horizontal stabilizer and elevator may have been broken before the lightning struck
d) The aircraft was hit by lightning containing a very large amount of energy. The aircraft’s bondings were not able to conduct the electric energy from the lightning and the transfer rod from the cockpit to the elevator was broken
e) As a result of the reduced control of the aircraft’s pitch and difficult wind conditions, the sink rate was not sufficiently stabilized on short final. The crew were unable to prevent the aircraft from hitting the ground.
» Avisa Nordland
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
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 Røst-Stolport Airport to Bodø Airport as the crow flies is 100 km (63 miles).