Aviation safety investigations & reports

Unstable approach, VH-TQL Sydney Aerodrome, New South Wales 26 December 2008

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 December 2008, a Bombardier Inc DHC-8-315 (DHC8), registered VH-TQL, was conducting a regular public transport flight from Moree to Sydney Aerodrome, New South Wales. While on final approach, and after capturing the glideslope for the runway 34 Left (34L) instrument landing system approach, the autopilot commanded the aircraft to descend. This prompted the crew to make a number of configuration changes in an effort to continue the approach. Those changes destabilised the aircraft and diminished its performance, which lead to the activation of the aircraft's stickshaker. Shortly after, a missed approach was commenced by the flight crew.

In this occurrence, the crew continued the approach despite becoming aware of the unstable aircraft state. Positive action to avoid a stickshaker event could have been taken if the crew communicated to each other the inappropriate aircraft configuration as it progressed along the approach.

As a result of this occurrence, the operator has proactively implemented changes to its DHC-8 training syllabus, highlighted to its crews the destabilising effects of changes to an aircraft's configuration during an approach and emphasised to crews the importance of good communication in a multi-crew environment.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 563KB]
General details
Date: 26 December 2008   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2220 ESuT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Sydney Aerodrome    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Unstable approach  
Release date: 08 June 2010   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-TQL  
Serial number 603  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Moree, NSW  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020