Sunday 12 May 2024

Remembering Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771

Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 was a scheduled international flight from Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB/FAOR) to Tripoli International Airport (TIP/HLLT).
Afriqiyah Airways crashed on the 12th of May 2010 at about 06:01 local time (04:01 UTC) on approach to Tripoli International Airport, about 1,200 metres (3,900 feet) short of the runway. Of the 104 passengers and crew on board, 103 were killed. The sole survivor was a 9-year-old Dutch boy. The crash of Flight 771 was the third hull-loss of an Airbus A330 involving fatalities, occurring eleven months after the crash of Air France Flight 447.

Afriqiyah Airways flight 771, an Airbus A330-202, crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport, Libya. There were 11 crew members and 93 passengers on board. One passenger survived the accident.
On the 11th of May 2010 at 19:45 UTC, the aircraft departed Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), South Africa on an international passenger flight to Tripoli. The co-pilot was pilot flying. The en route part of the flight was uneventful.

The captain contacted the Tripoli ACC controller at 05:29 local time (02:29 UTC) and received clearance direct to Tripoli for a TW locator approach to runway 09. Weather was reported as: wind calm, visibility 6 km, clear sky, temperature/dew point 19/17°C, QNH 1008. After receiving further descent clearances, the crew contacted the Tripoli Tower controller at 05:58. Tripoli Tower cleared the aircraft to continue the approach and to report runway in sight.
The flight then received information from a flight that had landed ahead of them, informing the accident crew about fog patches noticed during short final.

At 06:00 the flight passed the TW locator beacon at an altitude of 1000 feet, 200 ft below the prescribed altitude. The captain then informed ATC that he would report when runway in sight. The approach was continued below the Minimum Descent Altitude of 620 feet, but the crew still did not have the runway in sight. At an altitude of 280 feet the GPWS sounded ('too low... terrain'). The captain then instructed the co-pilot to execute a go-around, after which he informed the Tower controller. The aircraft began to climb, reaching an altitude of 450 feet above ground level. The Airbus then nosed down, causing the captain to take priority over the flight controls by pushing on priority button and the aircraft was fully under the captain's control who applied a sharp nose down input. The captain did not verbally state that he was taking control. He applied a pitch-up and a pitch-down input on his stick until the airplane impacted the ground 1200 m from the threshold of runway 09 with high energy (-4400 ft/min) and high longitudinal velocity (260 kts).

The aircraft broke up, leaving an 800 m long wreckage trail.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Afriqiyah Airways
Code: 8U-AAW
Aircraft: Airbus A330-202
Registration: 5A-ONG
Serial Number: 1024
Engines: General Electric CF6-80E1A4B
First Flew: 12/08/2009
Age: 14.9 Years

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