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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 219730
Last updated: 20 October 2020
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Time:16:56 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic A319 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A319-111
Owner/operator:Air France, opf HOP!
Registration: F-GRHX
C/n / msn: 1524
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 132
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near Marseille-Provence Airport (LFML) -   France
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (LFBD)
Destination airport:Marseille-Provence Airport (LFML)
Investigating agency: BEA
On June 27, 2016, at 16:45 hours local time, the crew of flight HOP25PG, an Airbus A319, was performing a visual approach for runway 31R at Marseille-Provence Airport, France.

At the same time, a Eurocopter Cougar helicopter (F-ZWBS) was returning from a VFR flight to the east of the facility, and was descending to 1,500 ft to the aerodrome circuit entry point. Since the transponder of the helicopter failed during the flight, the air traffic control only had primary radar contact.
While on base leg, the Cougar crew hovered without informing the controller. Primary radar contact with the helicopter was lost at this stage. The Cougar moved towards the MS beacon and the two aircraft crossed each other without the crews having received information about their respective presence. Visual contact between the crews of both aircraft was established after crossing. The minimum separation values were 0.19 NM (350 m) horizontally and 240 ft (73 m) vertically.

The near-collision resulted from the combination of the following factors:
- the absence of separation measures by air traffic control over the Cougar without a transponder, in dense airfield traffic where the compatibility of IFR and VFR traffic is based on traffic information and visual contact between crews;
- non-compliance with the altitude of the aerodrome circuit by the Cougar crew;
- the failure of the Cougar crew to provide information on its hovering and inaccurate position reports which led the controller to construct an erroneous mental representation of the situation and to provide this makes unsuitable traffic information;
- the lack of provision of information to the controllers on the existence of zones of non-visualization of primary radar echoes.

Contributing to the serious incident:
- the absence of an overall strategy for sequencing VFR and IFR traffic on arrival;
- the workload that did not allow the tower controller to sufficiently anticipate the arrival of the HOP flight;
- excessive flexibility in the management of parallel runways;
- a high occupancy rate of the tower frequency due to traffic density, also favored by the use of non-standard phraseology, which did not allow the HOP flight crew to intervene and benefit traffic information in a timely manner;
- a possible overconfidence between the tower controllers and the Cougar crew, professionals based on the platform, which may have led to less rigor in the accuracy of the position reports and the use of them for the traffic management.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report
Other occurrences involving this aircraft

25 Jul 2016 F-GRHX Air France 0 over Castricum aan Zee non


Photo of F-GRHX courtesy

Amsterdam - Schiphol (EHAM / AMS)
28 August 2015; (c) Lewis Grant

Revision history:

19-Dec-2018 20:04 harro Added
19-Dec-2018 20:09 harro Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Narrative, Photo]
02-Feb-2019 16:35 Aerossurance Updated [Source]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description