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The Boeing 747-400’s First Hull Loss

China Airways flew a scheduled every day service between Taipei (TPE) and Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport (HKG) utilizing a Boeing 747-400 plane. A 747-400 jumbo-jet is a widebody plane with a typical capability of 416 passengers in a three-class configuration and a spread of seven,500 NM (14,000 km).

On November 4th, 1993, China Airways Flight 605 (nicknamed “Dynasty 605”) was carrying 374 passengers and 22 crew members on a 75-minute flight to HKG, utilizing a brand-new Boeing 747-400. The plane (B-165) was in-built June of that 12 months and had solely accrued 1,960 flight hours on the time.


The cockpit crew comprised of two pilots; a captain with practically 12,500 flight hours below his belt and a primary officer, having simply over 5,700 flight hours logged. As a consequence of a heavy storm on method, the plane steered off on the finish of the runway, earlier than ditching into Victoria Harbor. All passengers and crew have been safely evacuated, with 23 folks dealing with minor accidents.

Unfolding of occasions

Tropical Storm Ira had surrounded the Hong Kong airport with heavy rain and robust winds. As Dynasty 605 approached HKG, 25-knot (29 mph, 46 kph) crosswinds have been recorded on the runway. A couple of miles out, the pilots had acquired a number of cockpit warnings pertaining to fluctuating wind shear and glide-slope deviations.

At about 1,500 ft (152 m), the pilots seen a discrepancy within the true airspeed, indicated by the cockpit monitor. Consequently, the captain disconnected the autopilot in addition to the auto-throttle and determined to manually management the heading and the pace by the remaining flight path.

Furthermore, as a part of the touchdown guidelines, the pilots armed the spoilers and positioned the auto-brakes to degree “2”. Regardless of extreme crosswinds, the captain managed to land the airplane on runway 13. Shortly after landing, the primary officer took over the controls to maintain the drifting aircraft on the centerline.

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HKG Kai Tak airbus777 via Flickr

In the meantime, the captain supposed to activate the thrust reversers however inadvertently elevated the throttle. Consequently, the auto-brakes received turned off, and the pace brakes received retracted, permitting the airplane to “float” down the runway. The primary officer seen the shortage of thrust reversers and reacted instantly to deploy the reverse thrust and arm the pace brakes.

As the tip of the runway was in sight, each pilots realized that the remaining distance was inadequate for a protected cease. To stop a possible collision with the Strategy Lighting System (ALS) of runway 31 (within the reciprocal course), each pilots steered the plane in direction of the left, ditching the jumbo-jet into Victoria Harbor.

The aftermath

The airplane got here to an entire cease, in shallow water, within the course practically reverse runway 13. The emergency responders (already on standby) approached the scene because the passengers evacuated by the emergency slides. All passengers and crew survived the crash, with 23 folks incurring minor accidents.

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Untitled_(China_Airlines)_Boeing_747-409_B-165 Kambui via Wikimedia Commons

The jumbo-jet, nevertheless, acquired vital injury and was declared as a complete hull loss. The vertical stabilizer was discovered to have interfered with the Instrument Touchdown System (ILS) of runway 31 and therefore was blown off with explosives shortly after the world was cleared.

The investigators discovered the captain’s deviation from initiating a missed method process below given circumstances as the first reason behind the crash. The primary officer was discovered to lack the required coaching and expertise on the Boeing 747. The investigation report additionally held China Airways liable for not having a proper crosswind touchdown process of their flight manuals.

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