TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 Occurrence Progress Report
On July 23, 2014, TransAsia Airways flight GE222 (model ATR-72 with registration number B-22810), took off at 17:43 from Kaohsiung International Airport for Penghu Airport. The plane carried 58 people, including 1 captain, 1 first officer, 2 cabin crew members, and 54 passengers. The aircraft crashed at about 19:06 in Xixi Village, Huxi Township, northeast of the threshold of Runway 20 at Magong Airport, killing 48 people and injuring 10 people on board and injuring 5 residents on the ground.
The Aviation Safety council(ASC) immediately launched the GE222 Occurrence Investigation Team, which set off for Magong Airport upon receiving notification from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) at 19:43 on July 23. The ASC also established GE222 occurrence investigation command post center on the morning of July 24 in the Magong Airport. The investigation team set up working groups in areas of expertise in flight operations, maintenance, air traffic service/weather, recorders, airport & Nav-Aids, survival factors, site survey, wreckage/structure/engines and organization. Members of the investigation team include ASC, the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), ATR (Avions de Transport Régional), Transportation Safety Board, Canada (TSB), P&WC (Pratt & Whitney Canada), CAA, and TransAsia Airways, consisting of a total of 48 people.
The work of disassembling and data download and resolution was launched as soon as the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) were returned to the office in the afternoon of July 24, and on July 25 the disassembling and data download and resolution of two recorders were completed, and the data confirmation and time synchronization were started. After the cockpit voice recorder transcripts were completed on July 31, the GE222 TransAsia Airways’ occurrence progress briefing was held today (8/1).
The Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) of this occurrence emphasized that the objectives of the ASC's investigation of aviation occurrence is to avoid the recurrence of similar occurrences. It is not the purpose of such investigation to apportion blame or liability. And the IIC made an overview of the aviation occurrence investigation processes and schedule planning for the occurrence investigation.
Based on the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, and occurrence site measurement data, the Investigation Team’s preliminary findings are as follows:
At 1743:27 GE222 flight obtained clearance from Kaohsiung Tower to depart. It cruised at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Due to the visibility was poor at Magong Airport, at 1811:16 the flight crew requested Kaohsiung Approach for a holding pattern. At 1827:38, Kaohsiung Approach broadcasted that Magong Airport’s weather on Runway 20 was 210 degrees at 5 knots and at maximum 11 knots; runway 20’s wind direction was 190 degrees, wind speed was 11 knots, and the maximum wind speed was 15 knots.
At 1828:48, Kaohsiung Approach reported that Magong Airport’s visibility was 800. At 1829:50, the flight crew requested to ATC for ILS precision Runway 02 approach of Magong Airport.
At 1842: 28, GE222 flight was waiting for the clearance of ILS Runway 02 approach when Kaohsiung Approach notified that the visibility of Magong Airport’s Runway 20 was 1600 meters and there was a thunderstorm over the airport, and asked what the intentions of the GE222 flight crew.
The flight crew at 1842:47 again requested ILS Runway 02 approach to Kaohsiung Approach control.
At 1843: 09, one UNI Airways ATR aircraft requested and received approach clearance for Runway 20 at Magong Airport. At 1845, GE222 flight crew also requested to use Runway 20 VOR approach of Magong Airport. At about 1900, the flight data recorder showed that the plane intercepted VOR navigation platform and started to descent.
At 1903: 38, Magong Tower issued clearance to land on Runway 20 and informed GE222 flight crew that Magong Airport’s Runway 20 had winds of 250 degrees at 19 knots.
At 1905: 44 the flight crew disengaged the autopilot. About 1905: 58, the aircraft began to deviate from the approach course to the left and continued to decrease in altitude. At 1906: 11, the flight crew called a missed approach. At 1906:13 the cockpit voice recorder recorded unidentified sounds. At 1906:16 the flight crew called a missed approach to the tower. After 2 seconds, the cockpit voice recorder recorded unknown sounds a second time. The two recorders stopped recording at 1906: 19.
This council will conduct analysis of the flight data recorder and the investigation team will continue collecting factual data in the future. ASC will submit a preliminary report to the Executive Yuan and ICAO (including: time of occurrence, location, airplane model, weather conditions, recorder type, casualties, aircraft damage, and other basic information related to the occurrence) before the end of August. The factual data report will be released within 6 months. The ASC will complete the draft investigation report within 12 months, and release the final report within 18 months.
The above is the preliminary information of the occurrence. Any amendments to the investigation information will be presented in the investigation report.
Relevant information on the progress of the occurrence investigation will be timely updated on ASC's website.
Sherry Liu, Engineer