Crossair crash report published

The Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has published its report on the crash of Crossair Avro RJ100 HB-IXM on 24 November 2001. The RJ100 crashed near Bassersdorf, Switzerland, while approaching runway 28 at Zürich airport in poor weather. 21 passengers and three crew members lost their lives in the accident, and 7 passengers and 2 crew members survived. The report is highly critical of the actions of the pilot: the commander’s decision to descend below the minimum descent altitude (MDA) of the standard VOR/DME approach 28 without having the required visual contact to the approach lights or the runway is identified as the main cause of the accident, along with the copilot’s failure to prevent him from doing so. Contributing factors identified in the investigation include the airline’s failure to correctly assess and respond to problems in the commander’s flying performance; fatigue affecting the commander’s ability to concentrate and take appropriate decisions; poor task-sharing between the flight crew during the approach; the lack of a minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) system and inadequate reporting of visibility on Zürich’s runway 28; ATC’s decision to runway 28 despite inadequate visibility; and the hills around the airport not being marked on the approach chart. The report does not identify any aircraft malfunction or other way in which the aircraft contributed to the accident. It does note that the accident might have been avoided had the aircraft been fitted with an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). Such a system was not mandated at the time of the accident, however. Crossair’s last four RJ100s were delivered with a Honeywell EGPWS, but HB-IXM was not. With the rest of Crossair’s Avro RJ fleet, she was awaiting certification of an appropriate retrofit. Installation of EGPWS throughout the fleet has been brought forward and will now be completed by the end of 2004.

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