China Airlines Flight 140
|Date||26 April 1994|
|Summary||Stall caused by pilot error|
|Aircraft type||Airbus A300B4-622R|
|Flight origin||Chiang Kai-Shek Int'l Airport|
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. On 26 April 1994, the Airbus A300B4-622R was completing a routine flight and approach, when, just before landing at Nagoya Airport, the First Officer inadvertently pressed the Takeoff/Go-around button (also known as a TO/GA) which raises the throttle position to the same as take offs and go-arounds.
Pilot Wang Lo-chi (Chinese: 王樂琦; pinyin: Wáng Lèqí) and copilot Chuang Meng-jung (莊孟容; Zhuāng Mèngróng) attempted to correct the situation by manually reducing the throttles and pushing the yoke downwards. The autopilot then acted against these inputs (as it is programmed to do when the TO/GA button is activated), causing the nose to pitch up sharply. This nose-high attitude, combined with decreasing airspeed due to insufficient thrust, resulted in an aerodynamic stall of the aircraft. With insufficient altitude to recover from this condition, the subsequent crash killed 264 (15 crew and 249 passengers) of the 271 (15 crew and 256 passengers) people aboard. All passengers who survived the accident were seated in rows 7 through 15.
The crash, which destroyed the aircraft (delivered less than 3 years earlier in 1991), was attributed to crew error for their failure to correct the controls as well as the airspeed.
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. 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.
Most of the passengers were Taiwanese and Japanese; 153 Japanese and 101 non-Japanese were on the flight. Most of the Japanese passengers were returning from package tours. An official from the airline said that 63 of the passengers were Taiwanese.
Chronology of the flight
The flight took off from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport at 17:53 Japan Standard Time bound for Nagoya Airport. The en route flight was uneventful and the descent started at 19:47, and the airplane passed the outer marker at 20:12. Just 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) from the runway threshold at 1,000 feet (300 m) AGL, the airplane 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 airplane was nose up in a steep climb. Airspeed dropped quickly, the airplane stalled, the nose dropped. The captain tried to pull back on the control column but was unsuccessful and the airplane struck the ground at 20:15:45. 31-year-old Noriyasu Shirai, a survivor, said that a flight attendant announced that the plane would crash after the aircraft stalled. Sylvanie Detonio, who had survived by 27 April, said that passengers received no warning prior to the crash.
On 27 April 1994, officials said there were ten survivors (including a 3-year-old) and that a Filipino, two Taiwanese, and seven Japanese survived. By 6 May, only seven remained alive, including three children. A doctor expressed surprise in response to the survival of two of the children.
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.
A class action suit was filed against China Airlines and Airbus Industrie 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.
There had been earlier "out-of-trim incidents" with the Airbus A300-600R. 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". This modification was first available in September 1993, and the aircraft that had crashed had been scheduled to receive the upgrade. The aircraft had not received the update at the time of the crash because "China Airlines judged that the modifications were not urgent".
- 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.
- On 7 May 1994, the CAA ordered China Airlines to provide supplementary training and a re-evaluation of proficiency to all A300-600R pilots.
- The flight numbers CI140/141 were retired after the accident and were replaced with CI150/151.
- On 26 April 2014, 300 mourners gathered in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture for a memorial to the crash.
- China Airlines Flight 676, another crash involving a CAL Airbus A300 during the 1990s, which also occurred on final approach.
- "Nagoya A300 Accident Report". Sunnyday.mit.edu. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- China Airlines is based in Taiwan. Air China is the standard-bearer for the People's Republic of China.
- Landers, Peter. (1 May 1994) "It's over, it's over'/Recorder details cockpit panic aboard doomed plane" (Archive). Associated Press, Houston Chronicle p.A30. (web.archive.org). Retrieved on 25 April 2013.
- "華航名古屋空難 四人獲不起訴." 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.
- Pollack, Andrew. "261 Die When a Flight From Taiwan Crashes in Japan." The New York Times. 27 April 1994, Retrieved on 17 June 2011.
- Thurber, David. "261 die in crash of China Airlines Airbus in Japan." Associated Press at Houston Chronicle. Wednesday 27 April 1994. A14. Retrieved on 14 June 2009.
- "China Air co-pilot over limit for DWI." Associated Press at Houston Chronicle. Friday 6 May 1994. A26. Retrieved on 22 March 2009.
- "Doctor amazed that boy survived China Airlines crash." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 28 April 1994. Retrieved on 30 December 2008.
- "China Airlines officials again avoid charges over 1994 crash" (Archive). The Japan Times. Tuesday 10 April 2001. Retrieved on 25 December 2008.
- "Kin settle over 1994 China Air Nagoya crash" (Archive). The Japan Times. Friday 20 April 2007. Retrieved on 25 December 2008.
- 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)
- Jiji Press, "’94 China Air crash remembered" (Archive), Japan Times, 28 April 2014
- Air Disaster, Vol. 3, by Macarthur Job, Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd. (Australia), 1998 ISBN 1-875671-34-X, pp. 139–155.
- Official report from the Japanese Aircraft Accidents Investigation Commission (In Japanese) (English translation)
- Failure Knowledge Database on this accident
- (English) Aircraft Accident Investigation Report – Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission (Archive)
- Text version of English main report – Prepared for the World Wide Web by Hiroshi Sogame (十亀 洋 Sogame Hiroshi?), a member of the Safety Promotion Committee (総合安全推進) of All Nippon Airways; and by Prof. Peter B. Ladkin, PhD of the University of Bielefeld
- English appendices text version – Prepared for the World Wide Web by Marco Gröning
- (Japanese) Aircraft Accident Investigation Report – Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission (Original version, version of record)
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- 2ND LD: Taiwan's China Airlines ordered to pay 5 bil. yen over crash.
- Cockpit voice recorder transcript from the flight
- "Kin settle over 1994 China Air Nagoya crash." Kyodo at the Japan Times. Friday 20 April 2007.
- China Airlines Airbus A300-600R (Flight 140) Misses Landing and Goes Up in Flame at Nagoya Airport
- "Kin allowed to view CAL crash victims' photos." The Japan Times. Wednesday, 7 January 2004.
- "Japanese find flight recorder in plane crash." The New York Times at the Houston Chronicle. Thursday 28 April 1994. A14.
- "Brothers recovering (World briefs) Houston Chronicle. Saturday 7 May 1994. A26.