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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 224647
Last updated: 6 December 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-232
Registration: VH-VGY
C/n / msn: 4177
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 134
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near Christchurch -   New Zealand
Phase: Approach
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Wellington International Airport (WLG/NZWN)
Destination airport:Christchurch International Airport (CHC/NZCH)
Investigating agency: TAIC New Zealand
At about 1845 on 6 August 2017, an Airbus A320 aeroplane was approaching Christchurch with 128 passengers and six crew on board. During the arrival procedure the aeroplane inadvertently descended below the 2,500-foot (760-metre) minimum safe altitude for part of the arrival procedure.
The infringement was noticed by the air traffic controller at the time, but the flight crew was not advised until the aeroplane had landed. The aeroplane landed safely.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC NZ) found that the aeroplane descended below a published minimum safe altitude for a segment of the arrival procedure, because the flight crew did not maintain adequate situational awareness of their aeroplane’s location in relation to the standard arrival route.

The Commission also found that the operator’s procedures did not encourage the appropriate use of the aeroplane’s automated navigation systems, and that by electing to use an ‘open descent’ procedure rather than the available, fully automated ‘managed descent’ mode, and not setting the flight control unit to the next altitude restriction, a higher level of human intervention was required to keep the aeroplane within permissible limits on the arrival route.

The Commission also found that the air traffic controller observed the aeroplane’s descent below the minimum safe altitude, but did not follow the required procedures and alert the flight crew until the aeroplane had landed.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TAIC New Zealand
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of VH-VGY courtesy

Adelaide - International (YPAD / ADL)
22 August 2015; (c) Andrei Bezmylov


Revision history:

02-May-2019 18:20 harro Added
02-May-2019 18:22 harro Updated [Photo]

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