Aviation safety investigations & reports

Taxiing excursion involving Fokker F100, VH-FKD Laverton Airport, Western Australia, on 28 September 2021

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed
Phase: Final report: Dissemination Read more information on this investigation phase


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 634KB]

What happened

On the afternoon of 28 September 2021, a Fokker F100 aircraft, registered VH-FKD, departed Perth airport for a scheduled passenger flight to Laverton, Western Australia, with two flight crew, three cabin crew, and 75 passengers.

The aircraft landed uneventfully at Laverton, and the captain took control of the aircraft to taxi towards the end of the runway and complete the routine backtrack manoeuvre. The aircraft was positioned on the left-side at the end of the runway consistent with operator guidance, and the captain commenced a right turn by rotating the nose-wheel handwheel (tiller). The captain was unable to achieve full tiller rotation, even when using the force of both hands, and attempted to tighten the turn by applying the right inboard brake, and asymmetric thrust, but this did not have the desired effect. The crew decided to continue the turn, resulting in the aircraft nose-wheel briefly leaving the side of the runway, and onto the runway strip. The aircraft then returned to the runway and taxied to the terminal.

A post-flight inspection identified damaged insulation in the nose-wheel area and a torn universal joint boot on the tiller shaft.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that a torn boot on a universal joint probably restricted the operation of the aircraft’s nose-wheel steering system, preventing the aircraft from completing the turn on the runway. The flight crew decided to continue the turn, resulting in the nose-wheel leaving the runway surface, increasing the risk of damage to the aircraft.

What has been done as a result

The operator has commenced a fleet wide inspection of the tiller assembly universal joint boots which is expected to be completed by February 2022.

Safety message

The risk in this incident could have been reduced by availing options such as having airport staff inspecting the runway strip surface before turning onto it. When flight crews encounter such an unexpected event and there is sufficient time to assess available options, they should utilise available resources to determine the safest course of action.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 634KB]

The investigation


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a runway excursion involving a Fokker F100, VH-FKD, at Laverton Airport, Western Australia, on 28 September 2021.

During taxi after landing, the flight crew reported that the right side steering tiller for the nose wheel was very heavy to turn at the end of the runway, and the left main wheels subsequently left the runway surface. The flight crew continued to taxi to the apron and disembarked without further incident.

Engineering inspection of the forward equipment bay found torn insulation contacting the nose wheel steering cable drum. After the torn insulation was removed the aircraft was declared serviceable.

The evidence collection phase of the investigation will include interviewing the flight crew, a review and examination of maintenance records, and the gathering of any other relevant evidence.

A report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken. 

General details
Date: 28 September 2021   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1536 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Laverton Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Runway excursion  
Release date: 21 January 2022   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fokker B.V.  
Aircraft model F28 MK 0100  
Aircraft registration VH-FKD  
Serial number 11357  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Perth Airport, Western Australia  
Destination Laverton Airport, Western Australia  
Last update 21 January 2022