Incorrect weight data entered into a flight computer led to the near stall of a QantasLink 717 flight near Kalgoorlie in late 2010, an ATSB investigation has concluded.
The investigation found the flightcrew mistakenly entered the Boeing 717-200’s operating weight instead of the zero fuel weight into the aircraft’s flight management system (FMS). That led the FMS to calculate a landing approach based on a weight that was 9415kg less than the plane’s actual weight.
As a result, the copilot was forced to abort landing twice after the stickshaker activated, indicating a near stall. The aircraft landed on the third try after the pilot in command took over and increased the approach speed.
The Perth-Kalgoorlie flight was operated by Cobham Aviation Services Australia, a primary contractor for QantasLink. Ninety-seven passengers were on board.
The ATSB said its inquiry had identified “several organisational issues that had the potential to adversely affect the safety of future operations.” Those issues related to the format of the aircraft load sheet, the verification by the flightcrew of the aircraft takeoff weight, and the lack of an independent validation check of the FMS generated landing weight.
“In response, the operator has made a number of enhancements to the format of the 717 load sheet, the FMS weight data entry and verification procedures, the weight validation checks and the 717 simulator training in respect of recovery from stickshaker activation,” the ATSB report said.