Final Report: CRJ landed hard

 - May 1, 2009, 12:19 PM

Bombardier CL-600-2B19, Providence, R.I., Dec. 16, 2007–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the Air Wisconsin CRJ’s hard landing at Theodore Francis Green State Airport was the pilot’s attempt to salvage the landing from an instrument approach that exceeded stabilized approach criteria, resulting in a high sink rate, likely stall and hard landing that overtaxed the structural limitations of the airplane. The first officer was flying a straight-in ILS approach in IFR conditions, with a tailwind of up to 100 knots. The crew did not perform a complete approach briefing.
The first officer disengaged the autopilot and the flight director but mentioned only the autopilot, not the flight director, to the captain. The CRJ drifted left of course and above the glidepath. The captain offered to take over the landing and the first officer concurred but inadvertently reduced power to idle without the captain’s knowledge. With a high sink rate, the airplane probably stalled during the flare and hit the runway hard, exceeding the certified limit loads of the landing gear. The three crewmembers and 31 passengers were not injured.

The first officer’s poor execution of the approach and the lack of effective intra-cockpit communication were contributing factors, according to the Safety Board. Other factors were the lack of effective oversight by the airline and the FAA to ensure adequate training and an adequate experience level of first officers for line operations.