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Home > Air Crash > Could this accident have been avoided?
Could this accident have been avoided?
Aviation - Air Crash
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 08:04
Hi Captain Lim,

I saw an episode on The Weather Channel's Storm Stories about a plane crash at Toronto International Airport on August 2, 2005.  How this accident could have been avoided?  Why were some flights allowed to land at the airport despite violent weather in the vicinity of the airfield? 

If you know anything about this event and have any answers, I'd like to hear from you.

Thank you so much.

Evan Popchock

Hi Evan,

The accident could have been avoided had the captain aborted the landing and diverted to a suitable airport (Ottawa). You can see the 2 videos below and note some of the contributory factors that led to the accident.

Yes, it was surely difficult to land in very turbulent and gusty weather. This had affected the pilot's judgment - he touched down late (more than halfway down the runway) and selected the reversers only 17 seconds after the Airbus A340 came into contact with the runway. Approaching twice as high than a normal approach and with the delayed selection of reverse thrust, there was no way that the plane could have stopped within the remaining runway.  Incidentally this runway was the shortest one around without a proper overrun.

Generally, a captain makes the final decision to land or not unless the control tower declares the runway closed.   Sometimes, it is difficult for the controller to accurately foresee the conditions - perhaps a previous airplane had just landed without any problems.

Normally it is the pilot who would report the actual conditions to the controller if he had encountered difficulty. Most modern planes have equipment onboard to indicate whether the crosswinds are exceeded. So the pilot's report is generally the most accurate one.

It appears that the equipment for measuring the ground wind was damaged and it was not able to provide more accurate information to the pilots - hence part of the blame was put on the controller.

See the third video below where the captain of a Lufthansa Airbus A320 aborted the landing in a strong crosswind - not after the left wing tip came into contact with the runway!

Air France Airbus A340 Crash at Toronto - Part 1

Air France Airbus A340 Crash at Toronto - Part 2

Lufthansa Airbus A320 nearly crashed in a crosswind landing


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Accident report
Just as an info, the official Transport Canada accident report on this Flight is available at:

Johnny Lai , 16 Apr, 2008

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