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Date:Monday 1 March 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic L188 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-188AF Electra
Operating for:Channel Express
Leased from:Renown Aviation
Registration: N285F
MSN: 1107
First flight: 1959-11-18 (39 years 4 months)
Total airframe hrs:65000
Engines: 4 Allison 501-D13
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Shannon Airport (SNN) (   Ireland)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Dublin Airport (DUB/EIDW), Ireland
Destination airport:Shannon Airport (SNN/EINN), Ireland
Channel Express Flight 6526 departed Köln/Bonn Airport (CGN) at 03:00 hours and routed directly to Dublin, where, after more than one hours delay due to the late arrival of a freight truck, the aircraft departed for Shannon Airport at 08:16. The total freight on board was 14,000 lb (6350 kg), less than half the 33,000 lb (14970 kg) maximum amount permissible. Shannon Approach vectored the aircraft on an approach to runway 24. Due to the weather forecast for Shannon the crew decided to conduct the landing with 78% flaps set, rather than the standard 100% flap normally set for landing. Slowing the aircraft to Vma (Maximum Manoeuvering Airspeed) the crew did not carry out the "before landing" checks. Whilst over the runway threshold the gear warning horn sounded and five seconds later the crew heard a scraping sound and felt severe aircraft vibrations. Realising that the gear was not down the captain called for a go-around. The First Officer continued to fly the aircraft and was cleared to 3000 feet by ATC. During the climb out the propeller assembly and part of No. 3 engine fell to the ground. Electrical power was lost and the only serviceable flight instruments available to the crew was the standby artificial horizon and wet compass. The First Officer relinquished control of the aircraft to the captain who had great difficulty in maintaining directional control and it took the combined efforts of both pilots
to control the excessive yaw through the rudder pedals. In addition, there was insufficient power available to climb to 3000 feet. In fact, less than 2000 feet was
attained, as the aircraft commenced a slow difficult turn in a North Easterly direction and towards the high ground west of Limerick city. It was only by further manipulation of the throttles and feathering No. 4 engine that sufficient directional control was recovered. The aircraft was now flying with only no. 1 engine fully operative and No. 2 engine producing only half power and much vibration. The Radar operator vectored the aircraft again to approach runway 24. They selected "gear down" and while only 2 of the 3 green landing lights illuminated, the captain elected to proceed with the landing, with the flaps again set at 78%. This landing was successful, with all the landing gear deploying correctly.

Probable Cause:

1. The aircraft had a valid standard Airworthiness Certificate issued by the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration and had been maintained in accordance with an approved schedule.
2. No evidence was found of any technical problems on the aircraft, or its systems, that could have had any bearing on the accident. In addition, the aircraft records show that the aircraft was dispatched on the accident flight with no deferred maintenance items.
3. The crew were properly licensed, in accordance with US Federal Aviation Administration Regulations, to undertake this flight.
4. The Captain stated that he had slight flu symptoms over the two days prior to the flight but that did not disbar him from undertaking the flight.
5. The flight crew consisted of the Captain, First Officer and Flight Engineer. The First Officer was the handling pilot on this flight.
6. No emergency call was made to ATC by the Captain or First Officer. The Shannon Radar controller provided invaluable voice and directional assistance to the crew as they struggled to maintain control of their seriously damaged aircraft and this was subsequently acknowledged by the crew.
7. The subsequent actions of the crew in landing the aircraft safely from the second approach were commendable.
8. The ILS for RWY 24 was fully serviceable.
9. Crew fatigue is not considered a factor in this accident as they had sufficient time off duty in the days immediately prior to the flight and their overall flying duties are of average industry standards.
10. Debris from the disintegrating No. 3 engine fell to earth on the western side of RWY 24, within the boundaries of Shannon Airport. Fortunately, there was no damage to property or people.
11. The selection of 78% flap setting for the landing was in accord with the Operators SOP's for the prevailing landing conditions. However in selecting 78% flap setting the crew were of the mistaken opinion that the GPWS warning horn should be silenced even though the aircraft was not in the landing configuration.
12. The Flight Engineer silenced the landing gear warning horn during the approach phase while the engine power levers were being retarded. It is only when these levers were slightly advanced, just before the round-out stage, that the landing warning horn system was again primed and subsequently sounded.
13. The normal landing checks were not carried out by the flight crew. Not one crew member realised that the under-carriage gear was not down and locked.
14. The crew stated that this was an inexplicable oversight on their part.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIU
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Accident number: AAIU Report No. 2000-001
Download report: Final report
Language: English

Gear-up landing
Runway mishap


photo of Lockheed-L-188AF-Electra-N285F
accident date: 01-03-1999
type: Lockheed L-188AF Electra
registration: N285F
photo of Lockheed-L-188AF-Electra-N285F
accident date: 01-03-1999
type: Lockheed L-188AF Electra
registration: N285F

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Dublin Airport to Shannon Airport as the crow flies is 193 km (121 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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