China Airlines Flight 605
Aircraft similar to the one involved in the incident at Kai Tak Airport.
|Date||4 November 1993|
|Summary||Runway overrun, pilot error|
|Site||Kai Tak International Airport, Hong Kong
|Aircraft type||Boeing 747-409|
|Flight origin||Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, Taoyuan, Taiwan|
|Destination||Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong|
China Airlines Flight 605 (callsign "Dynasty 605") was a daily non-stop flight departing from Taipei at 6:30 a.m. and arriving at Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong at 7:00 a.m. local time. On November 4, 1993, the plane crashed after overrunning the runway on landing during a storm. It was the first major loss of a Boeing 747-400.
Flight 605, a Boeing 747-400, touched down more than 2,100 feet (640 m) past the runway's displaced threshold, at a speed of 150 knots (280 km/h), following an IGS runway 13 approach. Tropical Storm Ira was generating 20-knot (37 km/h) crosswinds on that runway, gusting to 38 knots (70 km/h), from a heading of 070 degrees.
The pilots received several computer-generated wind shear and glide slope deviation warnings, and observed severe airspeed fluctuations, during the last mile before touchdown. The auto brakes were set at only the number two level and then were turned off moments after touchdown, when the Captain elected to use manual braking and thrust reversal. The speedbrakes were extended momentarily, but then retracted. This caused the plane to "float," making the brakes ineffective until the speed brakes were extended again.
The Captain deliberately turned the plane to the left when he realized the plane would go off the end of the runway, and into the approach lighting system (ALS) for runway 31. That action caused a "ground loop", making the plane slide off the left side of the runway into Victoria Harbour, thereby preventing a collision with the ALS for runway 31. It finally came to rest in shallow water, with a heading of almost 180 degrees out from the direction of runway 13.
A British Airways pilot had refused to make the approach to Kai Tak runway 13 minutes before the CAL 605 Captain decided to attempt it.
The investigation indicated that the accident was caused by the Captain's failure to initiate the mandatory missed approach procedure when he observed the severe airspeed fluctuations, combined with the wind shear and glide slope deviation alerts.
Immediately after the aircraft came to rest in the water, crew members ensured that all passengers put on life jackets and evacuated onto eight of the ten main deck emergency exits. These exits (as on all 747s) are specifically equipped with inflatable evacuation slide/rafts for ditching emergencies. The passenger cabin remained completely above water during the evacuation, although eventually sinking tail-first. Additional damage to the nose and first-class cabin was noted. There were 23 minor injuries among passengers or crew and the plane was written off as a total hull loss. The vertical stabilizer on the plane interfered with the accuracy of the ILS signals for runway 31, so it was removed with dynamite shortly after the crash. That permitted airliners to make safe ILS approaches whenever the wind patterns mandated the use of runway 31 (the reciprocal direction of runway 13). In addition, the China Airlines lettering and the Chinese characters were removed, as was part of the livery on the fuselage, in order to make it harder to identify the crashed aircraft as belonging to China Airlines. After the accident, the aircraft was stored by the HAECO building to be used for firefighting practice.
- Air France Flight 358
- American Airlines Flight 1420
- American Airlines Flight 331
- Lion Air Flight 538, overran runway after failing to land in storm
- Lion Air Flight 904
- Southwest Airlines Flight 1248
- "293 Rescued in Hong Kong After Jet Lands in the Water." The New York Times. November 4, 1993.
- AS Network
- Aviation History
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- Transcript of the CAL605 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) — includes brief overview, 3m24s of cockpit dialog prior to "splash," photo of aircraft in final position.