Aviation safety investigations & reports

Turbulence event - VH-QPI, 58km N of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, 22 June 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 325KB]
General details
Date: 21 June 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1830 UTC   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 58km N of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia    
State: International   Occurrence type: Turbulence/windshear/microburst  
Release date: 30 June 2010   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A330  
Aircraft registration VH-QPI  
Serial number 705  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Hong Kong, China  
Destination Perth, WA  
Last update 03 April 2020