PSNI plane emergency landing at Derry Airport: Investigation findings published

An investigation into a PSNI plane which made an emergency landing at the City of Derry Airport on November 12, 2020 has found that the engine anti-icing system was likely not selected ‘on’ before entry into cloud with an outside air temperature less than 5°.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:48 pm
PSNI

The probe also found that the pilot’s limited recent experience in ‘icing’ conditions was likely to have been a contributory factor.

The Air Support Unit, BN2T-4S Islander, G-CGTC, had three people onboard and was scrambled to assist with a security alert in Limavady which was later declared a hoax, when the incident happened shortly before 9pm.

At the time, PSNI Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell said: “The pilot and crew landed the plane safely without damage being caused and no injuries were sustained by those on board.”

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The matter was subsequently referred to the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

In a statement on Thursday morning, the AAIB said the plane “suffered a double engine failure, likely due to intake icing, while operating in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) at approximately 7,000 ft amsl”

It continued: “After an initial glide descent both engines were successfully restarted and the aircraft made a powered landing at Eglinton.

“It is likely the engine anti-icing system was not selected on before entry into cloud with an outside air temperature less than 5°C.

“A build-up of ice in the engine ducts probably caused the engine symptoms noted by the pilot and the subsequent rollbacks and flameouts.

“The investigation found that the pilot’s limited recent experience in icing conditions was likely to have been a contributory factor, and that circumstances causing stress and fatigue could have affected his performance.

“Both engines were relit during the descent and a safe landing was made at Eglinton, although the airport was closed.

“The operator has taken safety action related to winter operations, use of anti-icing systems and pilot wellbeing.”

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter