A Jet2 co-pilot on his final assessed flight damaged the tail of his aircraft during a botched landing.
Spanish accident investigators have now released their report into the incident in April 2017 when a Jet2 flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Alicante was damaged during landing.
The aircraft, registered G-LSAI and built in 1987, had left Leeds just after 9am on the morning of Monday April 10. It came in to land just after 12.30pm local time and had 238 people on board.
Inside the cockpit were the captain, the co-pilot and a line training captain who present in an observational role to assess the co-pilot on the completion of his training.
The co-pilot was 36 at the time and had been with Jet2 for more than two years, starting out as a non-flying apprentice. He had been a co-pilot for 14 months and had 657 hours of flying experience. His Class 1 medical certificate was valid.
The co-pilot flew the plane for the entire journey, which had gone smoothly until the final approach at Alicante. Part of the landing manoeuvre was considered slow, which is a risk factor for a tail strike, and the pitch attitude increased after touchdown, causing the rear of the plane to strike the surface of the runway due to the angle.
After the impact, the captain took control and continued the landing without any further problems.
The flight deck were unaware of the strike until a member of the cabin crew informed them that they had heard a strange noise during landing.
The aircraft was then discovered to have suffered 'substantial' damage to the lower part of its tail cone. It has since been repaired and returned to service.
Nobody was injured in the incident.
The Spanish investigation determined that the cause of the accident was 'incorrect pitch position control during landing'.
They also highlighted the captain's failure to intervene sooner to correct the landing.
During a previous supervised flight in January 2017 as part of the co-pilot's training, the captain had to take control of the aircraft during landing and he was deemed not to have reached the required standard. During the supervision phase of his training, 11 of the 60 landings he had made required the intervention of the senior pilot.
The Alicante flight was his final chance to complete the line training approval, as he had reached the maximum number of authorised training sessions.
The co-pilot's contract with Jet2 was terminated. He revealed during questioning that he had not slept well prior to the flight due to the stress of his training. He claimed to have been taught different landing techniques by different instructors.
The training captain in the observation seat commented that if the captain had taken control sooner, the co-pilot would have failed the assessment immediately, and that could have influenced the pilot's actions.
“In April 2017, one of our aircraft was involved in an incident when landing at Alicante Airport. The aircraft taxied to the stand as normal and there were no injuries.
"As is standard procedure, the Spanish Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission have carried out an investigation, which we have fully co-operated with.”
The full accident report can be read here.