BEA: A380 Incident Highlights Need For Go-around Changes

By John Croft
Source: Aviation Daily
August 29, 2013

The French aviation safety agency, BEA, is recommending that airframers make changes to avionics design to reduce accidents and incidents tied to go-around maneuvers.

The recommendation is one of 34 included in the BEA’s Airplane State Awareness during Go-Around (Asaga) study, published on Aug. 16. Started in 2000, the study included research on 16 accidents and incidents the agency says highlight issues with Asaga.

One of those incidents took place when an Airbus A380 was on approach to the New York JFK Airport on Oct. 11, 2010. There was no report filed with the U.S. NTSB, and the BEA did not specify the airline involved.

According to the report, the first officer was at the controls of the A380 during a poorly executed visual approach to Runway 31L, with the captain performing the monitoring function.

At an altitude of 480 ft. and one mi. from the runway, the captain ordered a go-around as the aircraft was too high and too fast to meet standard operating procedures for a stabilized approach.

Add Thrust Limits

The first officer initiated the go-around, pushing throttles forward to the takeoff go-around (TOGA) position. Due to a relatively low initial go-around altitude of 1,000 ft. and the first officer’s inability to properly control thrust, the aircraft experienced several flap overspeed warnings and experienced vertical speeds as high as 4,200 fpm during the 45-sec. ordeal.

Based in part on this incident, the BEA is asking the European Aviation Safety Agency and other regulators to update commercial aircraft certification rules for new aircraft and some existing models to “add devices” to limit thrust during a go-around “and to adapt [thrust] to flight conditions.”

“When full thrust is used during a go-around, an excessive climb speed can be reached very quickly, and make it difficult to undertake the actions in the go-around procedure,” says the BEA. “It can, firstly, be incompatible with the time required to perform the go-around and, secondly, be a source of the somatogravic illusions that have led crews to make inappropriate nose-down inputs.”

BEA notes that “certain manufacturers” have already implemented a system to limit thrust.