Cork Airport: Crashed Old-Fashioned Aircraft Dates From 1992: UPDATED

10 Feb

The Fairchild Metroliner involved in today’s Cork airport crash is an American-built turbo-propeller commuter plane which has been in operation for more than four decades.

Developed in Texas, the aircraft has proved particularly popular with business travellers in the US and Australia.

Designed to accommodate around 19 passengers, the Metroliner was in production from the late 1960s to the late 1990s.

The Manx2 aircraft in today’s accident dates from 1992 and was added to the fleet a few years ago.

David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight Global magazine, said: “The Metroliner is quite an old-fashioned aircraft by today’s standards, as it’s some years since any were produced.

“Although there is no suggestion there was anything wrong with the aircraft that crashed at Cork today, Metroliners have been involved in a number of accidents over the years.

“This is mainly because they are operated by regional airlines and regional airlines do have more incidents than the bigger airlines.

“In America in particular, working for a commuter airline is what you do to increase your flying hours to get a job with a big airline.”

Mr Learmount went on: “The Metroliner is certainly not one of my favourite aircraft. It’s had a whole load of aerodynamic bits put on to it over the years. It looks a bit like a hedgehog.”

NEWS UPDATE:

Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner

Image via Wikipedia

Perimeter Aviation C-FUZY SA226-TC Metro II over

Manx2.com was founded in the Isle of Man and carries 100,000 passengers a year.

It announced last September that it is expanding its presence in the North, choosing George Best Belfast City Airport as its first permanent base outside the Isle of Man and launching the twice-daily service from Belfast to Cork.

The flight takes an hour and 10 minutes on a Metroliner regional commuter aircraft which, according to Belfast City Airport, provides a quality of service akin to the private charter experience.

NEWS UPDATE:

The flight crew in a commuter plane crash may have made a mistake by persisting in attempts to land in fog at Cork Airport, aviation experts have said.

The pilots of the Fairchild Metroliner turbo-prop were making a third try at landing when the accident happened.

Experts said that it was most unusual for pilots to make more than two attempts and that they might have been better off diverting to Dublin where the weather was better.

“There was no emergency call and it’s not thought there was anything wrong with the aircraft so it’s clear that the weather was just not good enough,” said David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight Global magazine.

He went on: “Fog can be such a problem. One minute you can see the runway and the next you run into a fog bank and you are in trouble.

“It’s not normal to try a third time to make a landing. After two goes, you normally try to go to your designated diversion airfield. The weather at Shannon airport was much the same as it was at Cork, but Dublin would have been OK.”

Manx2 is a “virtual” airline in that it did not actually operate any aircraft itself but sells flights which are operated by a number of different carriers.

The Metroliner was operated by Flightline BCN which is based in Barcelona.

It is thought that the Metroliner was registered in eastern Europe. Operating within the EU it would have had an EU airworthiness certificate.

Press Association

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