DGCA Gulf Air Landing Examined
What: Gulf Air Airbus A320-200 en route from Bahrain to Kochi, India
When: Aug 28th 2011, 3.55 am
Who: 137 passengers and 6 crew, 8 injuries
Why: In examining this August incident, after doing some runway testing, the DGCA is blaming the accident on a slick runway.
However defects have been found in the plane’s front wheel. And the statement of the DCGA’s opinion also mentions pilot error. So they have released a statement combining pilot error, plane flaws and a bad runway as being behind the runway excursion.
Can a pilot land on a slick runway? What exactly was the pilot’s error in this situation? Does the entire runway have the identical friction coefficient or just the area tested? Runway friction is also going to be affected by the condition of the tires; what was the condition of the tire before it blew? Inquiring minds want to know.
Airport testing at Cochin airport revealed airport friction level.
A C K Nair, director of the Cochin airport made the following defensive statement:
“As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) norms the friction coefficients of the runways should not go below 0.34, while the value was 0.61 to 0.86 till recently. On the day of the mishap the average value was hovering between 0.52 and 0.84. The value at the spot where the ill-fated aircraft touched the runway was 0.75 to 0.85. We did another test on September 3 and the value was above 0.5.’