China Airlines Flight 140
Photo of China Airlines Airbus A300B4-622R B-1816 at Nagoya-Komaki International Airport (NGO, RJNN).jpg
B-1816, the aircraft involved, seen at Nagoya Komaki International Airport, the accident airport, on 13 April 1993.
Accident
Date26 April 1994
SummaryStalled during approach due to pilot error and design flaw [1][2]
SiteNagoya Airport, Nagoya, Japan
35°14′43″N 136°55′56″E / 35.2453°N 136.9323°E / 35.2453; 136.9323Coordinates: 35°14′43″N 136°55′56″E / 35.2453°N 136.9323°E / 35.2453; 136.9323
Aircraft
Aircraft typeAirbus A300B4-622R
OperatorChina Airlines
IATA flight No.CI140
ICAO flight No.CAL140
Call signDYNASTY 140
RegistrationB-1816
Flight originChiang Kai-Shek International Airport (now Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport)
DestinationNagoya Airport
Occupants271
Passengers256
Crew15
Fatalities264 (initially 261)
Injuries7 (initially 10)
Survivors7 (initially 10)

China Airlines Flight 140 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (serving Taipei, Taiwan) to Nagoya Airport in Nagoya, Japan.[note 1]

On 26 April 1994, the Airbus A300B4-622R was completing a routine flight and approach, when, just seconds before landing at Nagoya Airport, the takeoff/go-around setting (TO/GA) was inadvertently triggered. The pilots attempted to pitch the aircraft down while the autopilot, which was not disabled, was pitching the aircraft up. The aircraft ultimately stalled and crashed into the ground, killing 264 of the 271 people on board.

To date, the accident remains the deadliest accident in the history of China Airlines and the second-deadliest aviation accident on Japanese soil, behind Japan Airlines Flight 123.[3][4] It is also the third-deadliest aviation accident or incident involving an Airbus A300, after Iran Air Flight 655 and later American Airlines Flight 587.[5][6]

Accident

Flight 140 seat map
Flight 140 seat map

The flight took off from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport at 16:53 Taiwan Standard Time bound for Nagoya Airport. At the controls were Captain Wang Lo-chi (Chinese: 王樂琦; pinyin: Wáng Lèqí) age 42 and First Officer Chuang Meng-jung (莊孟容; Zhuāng Mèngróng) age 26.[note 2][2]: 13–14 [7][8] The en-route flight was uneventful; the descent started at 19:47 and the aircraft passed the outer marker at 20:12. Just 3 nautical miles (3.5 mi; 5.6 km) from the runway threshold at 1,000 feet (300 m) above ground level (AGL), the first officer (co-pilot) inadvertently selected the takeoff/go-around setting (also known as a TO/GA), which tells the autopilot to increase the throttles to take off/go-around power.[1][2]

The crash site of Flight 140.
The crash site of Flight 140.

The crew attempted to correct the situation, manually reducing the throttles and pushing the yoke forward. However, they did not disconnect the autopilot, which was still acting on the inadvertent go-around command it had been given, so it increased its own efforts to overcome the action of the pilot. The autopilot followed its procedures and moved the horizontal stabilizer to its full nose-up position. The pilots, realizing the landing must be aborted and not understanding that the TO/GA was still engaged, then knowingly executed a manual go-around, pulling back on the yoke and adding to the nose-up attitude that the autopilot was already trying to execute. The aircraft levelled off for about 15 seconds and continued descending until about 500 feet (150 m) where there were two bursts of thrust applied in quick succession and the aircraft was nose up in a steep climb. The resulting extreme nose-up attitude, combined with decreasing relative airspeed due to insufficient thrust, resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Airspeed dropped quickly, the aircraft stalled and struck the ground at 20:15:45.[1] 31-year-old Noriyasu Shirai, a survivor, said that a flight attendant announced that the aircraft would crash after it stalled.[9] Sylvanie Detonio, the only survivor who could be interviewed on 27 April, said that passengers received no warning prior to the crash.[10]

The crashed cockpit amongst the wreckage.
The crashed cockpit amongst the wreckage.

Of the 271 people on board (15 crew and 256 passengers), only seven passengers survived. All of the survivors were seated in rows 7 through 15. On 27 April 1994, officials said there were 10 survivors (including a three-year-old) and that a Filipino, two Taiwanese and seven Japanese survived.[10] By 6 May, only seven remained alive, including three children.[9]

Passengers

The passengers included 153 Japanese, 63 Taiwanese and 40 from other countries.

Nationality Passengers Crew Total
Taiwan 63 14 77
Japan 153 1 154
Philippines 1 0 1
China 39 0 39
Total 256 15 271

Investigation

The crash, which destroyed the aircraft (delivered less than three years earlier in 1991), was primarily attributed to crew error for their failure to correct the controls as well as the airspeed.[1] Nine months earlier, Airbus had advised its customers to modify the air flight system so it would fully disengage the autopilot "when certain manual controls input is applied on the control wheel in GO-AROUND mode",[11] which would have included the yoke-forward movement the pilots made on this accident flight. The accident aircraft was scheduled to only receive the update the next time it required a more substantial service break, because "China Airlines judged that the modifications were not urgent".[11] These factors were deemed contributing incidents to the crash, after the primary failure of the pilots to take control of the situation once it began.[1]

The investigation also revealed that the pilot had been trained for the A300 on a flight simulator in Bangkok which was not programmed with the problematic GO-AROUND behavior. Therefore his belief that pushing on the yoke would override the automatic controls was appropriate for the configuration he had trained on, as well as for the Boeing 747 aircraft that he had spent most of his career flying.[12]

Court proceedings

Japanese prosecutors declined to pursue charges of professional negligence on the airline's senior management as it was "difficult to call into question the criminal responsibility of the four individuals because aptitude levels achieved through training at the carrier were similar to those at other airlines". The pilots could not be prosecuted since they died in the accident.[13]

A class action suit was filed against China Airlines and Airbus Industries for compensation. In December 2003, the Nagoya District Court ordered China Airlines to pay a combined 5 billion yen to 232 people, but cleared Airbus of liability. Some of the bereaved and survivors felt that the compensation was inadequate and a further class action suit was filed and ultimately settled in April 2007 when the airline apologized for the accident and provided additional compensation.[14]

Software upgrade

There had been earlier "out-of-trim incidents" with the Airbus A300-600R.[11] Airbus had the company that made the flight control computer produce a modification to the air flight system that would disengage the autopilot "when certain manual controls input is applied on the control wheel in GO-AROUND mode".[11] This modification was first available in September 1993 and the aircraft that had crashed had been scheduled to receive the upgrade.[11] The aircraft had not received the update at the time of the crash because "China Airlines judged that the modifications were not urgent".[11]

Aftermath

On 3 May 1994, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) ordered China Airlines to modify the flight control computers following Airbus's notice of the modification.[11] On 7 May 1994, the CAA ordered China Airlines to provide supplementary training and a re-evaluation of proficiency to all A300-600R pilots.[11]

Following the crash, China Airlines decided to withdraw its flight CI140 on this route and changed it to CI150 after the crash. China Airlines now operates this route with the Airbus A330-300 aircraft and the A300 has since been retired.

On 26 April 2014, 300 mourners gathered in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, for a memorial to the crash on the 20th anniversary of the crash.[15]

Dramatization

The crash was featured in the ninth episode of season 18 of Mayday (Air Crash Investigations). The episode is titled "Deadly Go-Around".[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ China Airlines is based in Taiwan. Air China is the flag carrier for the People's Republic of China.
  2. ^ Captain Wang had joined China Airlines in 1989 and had logged a total of 8,340 flight hours, including 1,350 hours on the Airbus A300. First officer Chuang had joined the airline in 1990 and had 1,624 flight hours, 1,033 of them on the Airbus A300.: 13–14 

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Nagoya A300 Accident Report". Sunnyday.mit.edu. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT, China Airlines, Airbus A300B4-622R, B-1816, Nagoya Airport, April 26, 1994" (PDF). Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission. 19 July 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  3. ^ Pollack, Andrew (27 April 1994). "261 Die When a Flight From Taiwan Crashes in Japan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  4. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Japan air safety profile". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  5. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A300B4-622R B-1816 Nagoya-Komaki International Airport (NGO)". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  6. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Airbus A300". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  7. ^ Landers, Peter (1 May 1994). "'It's over, it's over'/Recorder details cockpit panic aboard doomed plane". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. p. A30. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  8. ^ "華航名古屋空難 四人獲不起訴." [China Airlines Nagoya air crash four people were not charged] (in Chinese) Liberty Times. Tuesday 10 April 2001 (90th year of the Republic, 中華民國90年4月10日 星期二). Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b "China Air co-pilot over limit for DWI". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. 6 May 1994. p. A26. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  10. ^ a b Thurber, David (27 April 1994). "261 die in crash of China Airlines Airbus in Japan". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. p. A14. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Nakao, Masayuki. "China Airlines Airbus A300-600R (Flight 140) Missed Landing and Goes Up in flame at Nagoya Airport" (Archive) Japan Science and Technology Agency. Retrieved on 25 December 2008. Descent path (Archive), Primary scenario (Archive)
  12. ^ a b "Deadly Go-Around". Mayday. Season 18. Episode 9. 27 June 2018.
  13. ^ "China Airlines officials again avoid charges over 1994 crash" (Archive). The Japan Times. Tuesday 10 April 2001. Retrieved on 25 December 2008.
  14. ^ "Kin settle over 1994 China Air Nagoya crash" (Archive). The Japan Times. Friday 20 April 2007. Retrieved on 25 December 2008.
  15. ^ Jiji Press, "’94 China Air crash remembered" (Archive), Japan Times, 28 April 2014