In the early hours of 22 June 2009, an Airbus Industrie A330 (A330), registered VH-QPI (QPI), encountered an area of severe turbulence associated with convective activity while en route from Hong Kong to Perth, Western Australia. As a result of the incident, a combined total of seven passengers and crew members received minor injuries. After consultation with medical and operational personnel, the pilot in command continued the flight to Perth. The aircraft suffered minor internal damage and, after a maintenance check, was returned to service.
The cloud associated with the convective activity consisted of ice crystals; a form of water that has minimal detectability by aircraft weather radar. Consequently, the convective activity itself was not detectable by QPI's radar. As the event occurred at night with no moon, there was little opportunity for the crew to see the weather.
The operator intends to upgrade the weather radar fitted to its A330 fleet, which will increase the fleet's capability to detect convective turbulence. Two other minor safety issues were identified during the investigation relating to the risks associated with the use of the pilot flight library when turbulent conditions are encountered, and the engagement of the manual latch to the cockpit door preventing timely access to the flight deck by other operational staff. The operator has taken, or is proposing, relevant safety action to address those issues.
|Date:||21 June 2009||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1830 UTC||Investigation level:||Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||58km N of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia|
|Release date:||30 June 2010||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Minor|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Airbus Industrie|
|Type of operation||Air Transport High Capacity|
|Damage to aircraft||Minor|
|Departure point||Hong Kong, China|