Failure to recalculate wind, approach speed caused 2020 Halifax runway overrun: TSB

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Passengers disembark a WestJet aircraft that skidded off the runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. No passengers or crew were injured. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Passengers disembark a WestJet aircraft that skidded off the runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. No passengers or crew were injured. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has determined the failure by the flight crew of a passenger jet to recalculate wind and approach speed before switching runways caused the plane to skid off the end of a runway at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport last year.

WestJet Flight 248 from Toronto landed in the midst of a snowstorm on Jan. 5, 2020, and overshot the runway with 172 passengers and six crew members aboard.

The runway overrun marked the third such incident in a two-year span at the Halifax airport.

In a news released Thursday, the TSB said worsening weather conditions had reduced visibility around the airport, forcing the crew of the Boeing 737-8CT aircraft to switch runways.

The safety board determined the flight crew failed to recalculate the effects of the wind for the second runway, falsely assuming the landing distance and target approach speed would still be the same as the original runway.

As the flight continued, the wind speed and direction also changed, which increased the speed of the incoming flight without any crew noticing.

"The unchanged target approach speed combined with the tailwind component resulted in the aircraft touching down at a faster groundspeed, thus requiring a longer stopping distance," the news release said.

"The wet snow contamination on the runway reduced braking effectiveness, which also contributed to an increase in landing distance."

The jet came to a rest in the snow about 91 metres beyond the end of the runway. There was no damage to the plane.
The jet came to a rest in the snow about 91 metres beyond the end of the runway. There was no damage to the plane.(Submitted by Evan Fortin)

The jet came to a rest in the snow about 91 metres beyond the end of the runway.

No one was hurt and there was no damage to the plane.

The TSB said since the incident, WestJet has highlighted to its pilot group the importance of using the actual runway intended for landing when preparing calculations.

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