ASSI Report Confirms Speed and Wet Runway Contributes to Fly Montserrat September 2019 Accident
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released the report into the incident involving a Britten Norman Islander aircraft (Registration VP-MNI) operated by Fly Montserrat, which took place at John A Osborne Airport, Montserrat, on 23 September 2019.
According to the report, “No aircraft defects were found that would have contributed to the outcome. The touchdown groundspeed was 79 kt, which was higher than appropriate, either because the approach was flown at an airspeed greater than the normal 65 kt, or because of a significant change in windspeed and direction during the approach. This, combined with a wet runway and skidding, resulted in the aircraft requiring more distance to stop than was available on the runway.”
Since the incident and up until February 2020, flights were restricted at the airport unless the runway surface was dry. The decision to resume flights was given to each airline based on their ability to comply with new stipulations. Read more at —-https://discovermni.com/2020/02/28/to-fly-or-not-to-fly-when-wet/
The report contains a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident and makes three safety recommendations. These are: revising procedures for pilots and operators to take account of local wind variations; improving access for emergency vehicles; and, the installation of an aircraft arresting system. These recommendations will be considered by the designated aviation regulator, Air Safety Support International (ASSI) and the John A Osborne Airport management team.
In a statement released to local media, the agency said “Prior to the AAIB identifying the wet runway surface as a contributory factor in this event, as a safety measure, ASSI had prohibited operations when the runway was reported as wet. In line with international safety requirements, the overall condition of the runway surface has been subject to close monitoring over the years by the airport team and, as expected, had degraded over a period of time. Because of this, again in line with international safety requirements, plans to resurface the runway had been agreed and were in place prior to the incident. Once this project has been completed, the safety mitigations in place for wet conditions will be reviewed.
“The airport is compliant with safety requirements although the topography surrounding the runway presents challenges both in terms of access for emergency vehicles and for the feasibility of installing an aircraft arresting system. Currently, it is not clear if there are any commercially-available aircraft arresting systems which would be suitable for installation at the airport and, therefore, further research will be required on this aspect.
“John A Osborne Airport is an important asset to Montserrat and it is subject to a stringent safety and security oversight programme which complies with the requirements set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. “The AAIB report recognises that this programme is comprehensive, inclusive and compliant with international safety standards. All parties remain actively engaged and committed to ensuring that the airport continues to be a safe facility to support the people of Montserrat,” the release stated.