Scary video: This is the kind of landing you should be frightened of. Wingtip touches the runway during banked approach

On Jul. 18, 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Sky Airline, sustained heavy damage to the right hand wing in an accident that occurred at La Serena – La Florida airport, in Chile.

The aircraft, flying as SKU-101 from Antofagasta, banked right while on final approach prior to touchdown and the right hand wing tip hit the ground.

The pilot aborted the landing, performed a go around and decided to divert to Copiapó – Chamonate Airport (where it safely landed) after assessing the damages: the wing tip was deflected upwards and even the flap was damaged.

If you wonder what the aborted landing scene looked like from a SKU-101’s passenger seat, here is the answer:

According to the reports, the weather was fairly good. The visibility on the ground was deteriorating but the runway visual range at the time of the (missed) approach was 6,000 m.

Tight circuits involving “banked finals” are often flown by airlifters, tankers and military/government planes and bizjets for training purposes, but I’ve never seen a civil liner (besides those landing at Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong) on a scheduled service banking so much prior to touchdown, even if some may be “crabbed” to fly the final approach under crosswinds (meaning that a WCA, Wind Correction Angle, is applied by aligning nose and tail with the wind direction while the aircraft is following a different course).

Moreover, based on the few available details, it’s really difficult to understand the reasons for such a curved approach although it seems enough safe to say that the crew opted for the go around a bit too late.

On Mar. 1, 2008, a Lufthansa Airbus 320 approaching runway 23 at Hamburg under strong crosswinds was invested by a gust right before touchdown that raised the right wing leading to an unstable flare. The left wingtip slided along the runway causing a wingtip and slat damage.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.