SkyLease Cargo Boeing 747-400F N908AR is destroyed on landing at Halifax

Halifax Stanfield International Airport issued this statement:

At 5:05 a.m. today, a Boeing 747-400 SkyLease Cargo aircraft arriving from Chicago, Illinois, went off the end of Runway 14/32 upon its scheduled landing. Halifax Stanfield has activated its emergency plan and its well-trained and highly skilled emergency response team is responding to the incident along with local emergency responders including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Halifax Regional Police (HRP), Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE), and Emergency Health Services (EHS).

The aircraft was carrying four (4) crew members who have been removed from the aircraft and transported to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The airfield has reopened. However, flight schedules continue to be significantly impacted. Passengers are advised to check with their airlines on the status of flights prior to coming to the airport.

Old Guysborough Road has been closed to local traffic between Oldham Road and Tower Access Road as part of the RCMP’s investigation into this matter. Traffic will be redirected.

All photos above by the Transportation Safety Board.

Note: Boeing 747-412F N908AR (msn 28026) is an insurance write off as the fuselage is broken.

Transportation Safety Board statement and update on the investigation:

On 7 November 2018, at about 0505 Atlantic Standard Time (AST), a Sky Lease Cargo Boeing 747 overran Runway 14 of the Halifax/Stanfield International Airport. The aircraft came to rest off the end of the runway. There were 4 crew members on board. The TSB is investigating.

What we know

  • On 7 November 2018, at about 0505 AST, a Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft operated by Skylease Cargo overran Runway 14 of the Halifax/Stanfield International Airport, coming to rest approximately 695 feet, or 210 metres, off the end of the runway. The aircraft was on a flight from Chicago/O’Hare International Airport to Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
  • There were 4 crew members and no passengers nor any cargo on board at the time of the occurrence. Minor injuries to the 4 crew members were reported following the occurrence, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.
  • There was a strong westerly wind gusting at 18 knots, which would be approximately 33 mph. It was raining at the time of the occurrence. In more technical terms, according to METAR issued 7 minutes before arrival, the winds were 250 degrees, 11 gusting 18 knots. The ceiling was 1,200 feet above ground and visibility was 8 miles.
  • The aircraft struck a localizer antenna during the overrun. Its landing gear collapsed, two engines separated from the aircraft, and the remaining engines were substantially damaged. A small post-impact fire originated from the detached No. 2 engine which was lodged under the tail of the aircraft.
  • Runway overruns are a TSB Watchlist issue. Since 2013, there have been an average of 9 overrun accidents and incidents every year in Canada. These can lead to aircraft damage, injuries and loss of life. The consequences can be particularly serious when there is no adequate runway end safety area (RESA) or suitable arresting material (see the video).
  • The TSB has 4 outstanding recommendations aimed at reducing the number of runway overruns, and minimizing risks should an overrun occur.

Progress to date

The investigation team has conducted the following information-gathering work:

  • The flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, along with other systems aboard the aircraft that contain flight data are being recovered. These will be sent to the TSB’s Engineering Laboratory in Ottawa for analysis.
  • An initial examination of the accident site has been conducted.
  • A thorough examination of Runway 14/32 has been conducted.
  • The investigation team is in contact with the Skylease, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the manufacturers Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, the Halifax Airport Authority, NAV CANADA and Transport Canada.
  • Transport Canada has appointed a Minister’s Observer who will obtain factual information and advise the Department of any significant regulatory factors. He or she might also identify deficiencies that require immediate corrective actions and coordinate the required support to the investigation.
  • The TSB investigation team will be augmented with investigators from Head Office, Quebec and Western Regions, HumanFactors, Engineering Laboratory and Communications.

Next steps

In the coming days and weeks, investigators will do the following:

  • Download and analyze the data from the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.
  • Conduct interviews with witnesses, air traffic control, and airport personnel and others who may provide additional information useful to the investigation.
  • Thoroughly review audio and radar data from NAV CANADA.
  • Gather and analyze all available information about the weather and runway surface conditions at the time of the occurrence.
  • Examine aircraft systems, review the aircraft maintenance records, pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records.
  • Review policies, operational procedures and regulatory requirements.
  • Examine the terrain at the end of the runway at Halifax/Stanfield Airport to determine what role it played in aircraft damage.

Communication of safety deficiencies

Aircraft accident investigations are complex and the TSB will take the time it needs to complete a thorough investigation. However, should we uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, we will communicate them without delay.

It is important not to speculate or draw conclusions about the causes of occurrences. Several factors usually contribute to an accident.