Bring back some good or bad memories


November 8, 2023

The Wreckage of China Airlines Flight 605 Floating in Victoria Harbor on November 4, 1993

On November 4, 1993, China Airlines Flight 605 (nicknamed “Dynasty 605”) was carrying 374 passengers and 22 crew members on a 75-minute flight from Taipei (TPE) to Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport (HKG), using a brand-new Boeing 747-400. The aircraft (B-165) was built in June of that year and had only accumulated 1,960 flight hours at the time.

The cockpit crew comprised of two pilots; a captain with nearly 12,500 flight hours under his belt and a first officer, having just over 5,700 flight hours logged. Due to a heavy storm on approach, the aircraft steered off at the end of the runway, before ditching into Victoria Harbor. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated, with 23 people facing minor injuries.

Tropical Storm Ira had surrounded the Hong Kong airport with heavy rain and strong winds. As Dynasty 605 approached HKG, 25-knot (29 mph, 46 kph) crosswinds were recorded at the runway. A few miles out, the pilots had received multiple cockpit warnings pertaining to fluctuating wind shear and glide-slope deviations.

At about 1,500 ft (152 m), the pilots noticed a discrepancy in the true airspeed, indicated by the cockpit monitor. As a result, the captain disconnected the autopilot as well as the auto-throttle and decided to manually control the heading and the speed through the remaining flight path.

Moreover, as part of the landing checklist, the pilots armed the spoilers and positioned the auto-brakes to level “2”. Despite severe crosswinds, the captain managed to land the airplane on runway 13. Shortly after touchdown, the first officer took over the controls to keep the drifting plane on the centerline.

Meanwhile, the captain intended to activate the thrust reversers but inadvertently increased the throttle. As a result, the auto-brakes got turned off, and the speed brakes got retracted, allowing the airplane to “float” down the runway. The first officer noticed the lack of thrust reversers and reacted immediately to deploy the reverse thrust and arm the speed brakes.

As the end of the runway was in sight, both pilots realized that the remaining distance was insufficient for a safe stop. To prevent a potential collision with the Approach Lighting System (ALS) of runway 31 (in the reciprocal direction), both pilots steered the aircraft towards the left, ditching the jumbo-jet into Victoria Harbor.

The airplane came to a complete stop, in shallow water, in the direction nearly opposite runway 13. The emergency responders (already on standby) approached the scene as the passengers evacuated through the emergency slides. All passengers and crew survived the crash, with 23 people incurring minor injuries.

The jumbo-jet, however, received significant damage and was declared as a total hull loss. The vertical stabilizer was found to have interfered with the Instrument Landing System (ILS) of runway 31 and hence was blown off with explosives shortly after the area was cleared.

The investigators found the captain's deviation from initiating a missed approach procedure under given circumstances as the primary cause of the crash. The first officer was found to lack the required training and experience on the Boeing 747. The investigation report also held China Airlines responsible for not having a formal crosswind landing procedure in their flight manuals.

(via Simple Flying)


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10