A15H0002

On 29 March 2015, an Air Canada Airbus A320-200 aircraft (registration C-FTJP, serial number 233), was being operated as Flight AC624 from Toronto, Ontario, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 133 passengers and 5 crew on board.

For more information about this accident, visit the investigation page.

Transcript of the video

Just past midnight on March 29, 2015, Air Canada Flight 624 was approaching Halifax Stanfield International Airport during a snowstorm. When the tower controller advised that visibility had improved to half a mile, the flight crew decided to continue their approach and land on Runway 05.

One of the critical height parameters on approach is something known as the "minimum descent altitude" or MDA. The flight crew set the autopilot to fly the appropriate constant-descent flight path angle, shown in blue, which would take them to the MDA. The aircraft was not to go below this height unless the crew had specific visual references, such as the approach or runway lights.

However, wind variations caused the actual flight path, shown in yellow, to diverge from the selected flight path. As per their training, they did not monitor the vertical component of their approach, and therefore did not notice that they had moved away from where they needed to be.

When the aircraft reached the minimum descent altitude, the crew could see some approach lights, which they interpreted as sufficient to proceed. They continued the approach below the minimum descent altitude, expecting the lights to become more visible as they neared the airport.

It was only in the last few seconds of the flight that the pilots disengaged the autopilot to land manually. Almost immediately, they realized they had flown too low too soon. They initiated an overshoot, raising the nose and advancing the thrust to begin a "go-around," but the aircraft struck the terrain, bounced twice, and skidded forward before coming to rest further down the runway.