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Wind blamed for FIFO plane crash
Wind blamed for FIFO plane crash

Severe windshear has been blamed by Australia's crash investigator for a hard landing of a Fokker 100 at Nifty in the State's NorthWest on October 19, 2012.

In its final report the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said that the pilots of the Network Aviation Fokker 100, operating a FIFO flight, received a windshear warning on approach to the airport.

As the flight crew were positioning the aircraft for a 9km straight-in approach into a slight headwind, they received a windshear caution.

In response, the crew increased the approach speed and extended the speed brake to stabilise the approach. The ATSB said that the "approach continued and apart from a few minor speed variances, the conditions appeared relatively benign".

However, as the aircraft was in the final stages of the approach and descending from 80 ft (24m) to 30 ft (9m) above ground level it was hit by a major windshear event.

Windshear is the sometime violent change in direction of the wind, often associated with thunderstorms which were in the area at the time.

The aircraft's airspeed dropped from 133kts (246km/h) to 110kts (203km/h) and the rate of descent increased to about 1000 ft/min (300m/ min).

The loss of airspeed occurred over a period of three seconds and by touchdown the aircraft was being affected by a 32kt tailwind (60km/hr). The Fokker 100 touched down on the runway threshold, almost 300m short of the normal touchdown point, and bounced.

The high rate of descent at initial touchdown resulted in a hard landing with significant aircraft damage, which was later successfully repaired.

No-one was injured in the landing.