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Airfrance A318 false glideslope in Toulon

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Airfrance A318 false glideslope in Toulon

Old 4th Sep 2021, 22:04
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Airfrance A318 false glideslope in Toulon

Spotted this on youtue and couldn't find a thread here discussing it. Seems like a bit of a mess and some deserved praise for normal law.

Report is only in French so far, so here is a rough translation and the video the BEA provided..

Goes very wrong at approx 4:10

Investigation Report cat.2: simplified format report, adapted to the circumstances of the event and to the issues of the investigation.

During the arrival briefing for the Hyères-Le Palyvestre aerodrome, the crew chose to favour the ILS approach for runway 05, as the landing performance in the conditions of the day allowed it. The crew mentioned the presence of a tailwind in connection with the landing performance and not with the approach path. Other threats such as wind shear and the possible presence of birds on the airfield were of greater concern to the crew.

During the first contact with the Toulon approach controller, the crew selected the altitude of 1,900 ft on the Flight Control Unit (FCU) in accordance with the instruction received.

During the descent, the controller reported to the crew that the weather conditions were "a bit tight" for runway 23, which in the crew's mind meant that the minima would not have allowed them to complete this approach. The crew knew they were above the glide path and therefore had the speedbrakes down and then the landing gear down.

When the controller offered the crew a holding pattern to descend, the crew elected to continue the straight-in approach for Runway 05. The PF was aware that he still had the option of aborting the approach in the absence of stabilization at 1,000 ft and the PM followed the PF's advice. However, the crew underestimated the influence that the tailwind could have on the approach path and did not sufficiently assess the feasibility of overtaking the plane.

Subsequently, both crew members were attentive to the evolution of the indicated airspeed, but did not take into account the high values of the ground speed and vertical speed. Catching up with the glide path increased the crew's workload, and the high ground speed due to the strong tailwind reduced the time required to reach the runway. These two factors resulted in the pilots losing situational awareness. The crew did not realize that the selected FCU altitude was still 1,900 ft and then did not detect the aircraft leveling off at that altitude and the associated FMA mode changes.
The leveling off moved the aircraft away from the 3° glide path and resulted in the interception of the ILS secondary lobe on a 9° plane. During this period, the crew finished configuring the aircraft for landing and performed the landing checklist.

The interception of the secondary lobe of the ILS caused an increase in attitude up to 30° without being perceived by the crew, then the activation of the Low energy alert, the activation of the incidence protections and a decrease in speed. The Low energy alert was triggered 1 min 25 min after the undetected activation of the ALT* mode, during which time the crew's actions showed a loss of situational awareness. The PF reacted by applying TOGA thrust without announcing it to the PM and by reducing the attitude. The crew then performed a go-around and the second approach was uneventful.
giggitygiggity is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2021, 11:36
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False glideslope captures still happen, you must NEVER capture the glideslope from above. If you are in the situation go around and get another feed in below the glideslope. ATC do not help when they feed you in tight thinking they are helping, but they are not, it only potentially saves a couple of seconds if it works but it increases workload exponentially and reduces safety significantly.
Miles Magister is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2021, 13:13
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Rubbish...as long as you monitor ROD, pitch and power whilst in the correct configuration and on speed.
blind pew is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2021, 17:08
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In days of yore before DME was co-located with ILS localisers it was indeed important to capture the G/S from below to avoid the other lobes however in modern times with the DME available almost everywhere, the odds of being "caught out" have been much reduced however we all know of places where ATC routinely conspire to force a capture from above.
This incident has all the signs of a crew not following the Airbus Golden Rule of "know and read your FMAs!"

Mind you it was Air France................................only saying!
Meikleour is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2021, 19:41
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The "Continuous Descent Approach" technique, in use at LHR and preferred at many other noise-sensitive airports, meant that one regularly intercepted the GS from above.
The ideal was to roll out onto the LOC and GS simultaneously, but inevitably there were times when one intercepted from slightly below or slightly above. The idea was to minimise level flight with its associated engine power and noise. As mentioned, no big deal if one monitored DME, Altitude and VS.
eckhard is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2021, 09:50
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That is very insensitive to mention the operator especially as they have an impeccable record if you forget about Paris, Toronto, Rio and even the sailplane they hit without knowing it descending in open airspace into Montpellier.

CONFESSION; I once happily followed a 6 degree slope in bad weather into Geneva. My first approach on 05 flying a DC9-51 and during the first or second week of line training having done all of my training on the 32 a slower ship with a lighter wing loading. Rather than exiting the hold and doing the procedure it was a dirty dive with engine ant icing. The wind funnels through the holding pattern and approach giving a lower ground speed and ROD. At the outer maker check I initially thought we had the wrong QNH set, scanned the captain and the volmet and realised that we were double the height. In those days when stabilised approach criteria was 200ft (book said 400ft final approach settings selected) it was simple enough to close the throttles, order flight director off and adjust the pitch. Intercepted the correct glide IMC and nothing mentioned in the debrief.

Did another memorable one into Le Touquet on Bastille day in a borrowed Grumman tripacer which was my first flight having not checked the weather and discovering that Calais had deemed IFR only. Not having a chart wasn’t a problem as I had been moored adjacent to the runway on my catamaran the year before and had taken a short cut across it and fallen on my backside into the dyke. The hold was around the lighthouse but the ILS had a localiser flag and during the hold I discovered that the VOR needle was working and the GS probably was as well..so again a dirty dive from above going visual at 200 ft with a quick 360 to bleed off speed and get the flaps down. Would like to say “I learnt from flying from that” but ended up doing a 100ft circuit at Mooslebay in the cape when I couldn’t bluff my way into George.
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Old 7th Sep 2021, 11:09
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Wow. You are such a good pilot, unlike the ones in the mentioned operator. I am in awe...
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 07:08
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And benefitted from some excellent instructors, mainly military, who knew how to fly and teach and allowed me to dig holes and climb out of them. Debrief was often a wry smile “that will learn you” look. Fortunately I’m still trying stuff 50 years on and learning whilst most of my course mates stopped flying when the salary cheques stopped and started walking the dog.
My most boring flying was flying heavys although the VC10 in the old days could be fun.
Two deciding moments in my early career were discussions with crew members on trident incidents; one night Malta when the take off calculations were wrong and the captain rotated early took out the approach lights then flew below 50ft over the sea on radio altimeter and the second was another three that diverted to Madrid after an engine failure on take off out to Malaga not realising that they would be out of the WAT limits; late on the approach ATC lined up an aircraft and they had to go around but continued going down..captain realised and lowered the nose, cleaned up and flew the valley which allowed him to get to min drag and fly a circuit. We had lots of incidents then and far too many accidents.

Last edited by blind pew; 8th Sep 2021 at 07:20.
blind pew is offline  
Old 8th Sep 2021, 13:31
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Miles Magister

I believe most controllers are very well aware of this by now.

What I see the most is go-arounds because crews decides to continue an approach that is "high" to begin with after they are informed they look high and asked if they want extended vectors to loose altitude.

On occasion I consider it easier just to give the extended vectors and not leave it with the pilots (they won't notice anyway, and we avoid a go-around).
jmmoric is offline  
Old 11th Sep 2021, 17:38
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Anyone remember the degree angles for, false G/S and localiser?
RichardJones is offline  
Old 11th Sep 2021, 20:35
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Air France false GS capture

Watch and learn. 40kt tailwind, wrong GS from above technique, inadvertent level off, false lobe capture, alpha floor activation and new underwear needed.

Flight envelope protection works though...
Fursty Ferret is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2021, 11:05
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Very interesting.

Yes the level off is what did. Had they maintained descent using V/S below platform (I.e. applied proper glideslope capture from above technique) they had a good chance of pulling this off. Good learning experience, Airbus envelope protection saves the day again, what would have happened if this was a 737?
Airmann is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2021, 12:35
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Illustrates the importance of the mandatory Final Approach Fix check.

There are 2 false. 6 degs and 1.5 degs. 6 degs g/s is used at London city for example and is quiet steep. The high ROD must catch someone's attention.

The localiser also has 2 false LOC. Both at 45 Degs either side of centre line. Cames in quiet handy doing circuit work. Crossing the False Loc, gives one an idea when to commence the base turn.

If memory serves me correctly.
RichardJones is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2021, 13:02
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Originally Posted by Miles Magister View Post
False glideslope captures still happen, you must NEVER capture the glideslope from above. If you are in the situation go around and get another feed in below the glideslope. ATC do not help when they feed you in tight thinking they are helping, but they are not, it only potentially saves a couple of seconds if it works but it increases workload exponentially and reduces safety significantly.
Nonsense, you obviously have never operated in China. If we had gone around every time we were placed well above the glide slope we could add another 30 minutes each sector. Just requires some forward thinking and awareness.
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