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Last updated: 28 November 2021
Date:Friday 17 May 1996
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-103
Operator:National Jet Systems
Registration: VH-JSI
MSN: 229
First flight: 1990
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 14
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 17
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:near Broome, WA (   Australia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Kununurra Airport, WA (KNX/YPKU), Australia
Destination airport:Broome Airport, WA (BME/YBRM), Australia
Flightnumber: 55
The Dash 8 was passing 4,800 feet on descent to Broome at 243 knots indicated air speed when it struck a wedge-tailed eagle. The bird impacted the leading edge at the root of the left wing. The wing-to-fuselage fairing was punctured and the forward wing spar and the electrical components attached to the spar were damaged. The left engine instrumentation failed and the master caution panel indicated multiple systems failures. The crew shut down the left engine 2 minutes and 9 seconds after the bird strike when the aircraft was passing through 1,860 feet at a speed of 220 knots. The left main landing gear unsafe warning light illuminated when the landing gear was extended. The crew discontinued the landing approach and elected to hold between 5 NM and 10 NM north-west of the aerodrome while they checked the aircraft systems. Thirty-seven minutes after the bird strike, the aircraft was landed on runway 10. During the
latter part of the landing roll, the pilot in command was unable to maintain directional control through the nosewheel steering. He attempted to slow the aircraft using reverse thrust on the right engine and the normal brakes, but the brakes failed. The aircraft veered off the sealed runway to the right before the pilot stopped it, using the emergency brake system.

Probable Cause:

1. The aircraft struck a 10 kg wedge-tailed eagle.
2. The left engine instrumentation failed and the master caution panel indicated multiple system failures.
3. System redundancy was compromised when the wiring was damaged, resulting in the failure of the left weight-on-wheels signal to the proximity switch electronic unit.
4. The nosewheel steering, anti-skid and normal braking, and ground spoiler deployment systems were rendered inoperative.
5. The crew did not follow company procedures by not using checklists to resolve non-normal situations.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 194 days (6 months)
Accident number: ATSB report 9601590
Download report: Final report

» ATSB Accident investigation report 9601590


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Kununurra Airport, WA to Broome Airport, WA as the crow flies is 727 km (454 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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