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Last updated: 19 October 2021
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 12 December 2002
Time:13:09
Type:Silhouette image of generic B462 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
British Aerospace BAe-146-200
Operator:Flybe
Registration: G-JEAX
MSN: E2136
First flight: 1989-06-30 (13 years 6 months)
Engines: 4 Lycoming ALF502R-5
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 36
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 41
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near Birmingham (   United Kingdom)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Birmingham International Airport (BHX/EGBB), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Belfast City Airport (BHD/EGAC), United Kingdom
Flightnumber: 046
Narrative:
Flight BE 046 departed Birmingham at 12:52 for a flight back to Belfast. During the climb, the flight crew noticed that the aircraft was oscillating in pitch more than was customary. The autopilot remained engaged for significant portions of the climb but the level-off at FL240 was flown manually. Shortly after establishing level flight, the autopilot was re-engaged but the aircraft began to oscillate in pitch and diverge from its assigned flight level. The captain disengaged the autopilot and was immediately aware of a strong pitch-up tendency. He applied an increasing forward pressure on the control column and supplemented this with electric elevator trim in the nose-down sense. At FL242 the aircraft was reported to have pitched down at a marked rate. Having pitched to below the straight and level attitude, the captain then tried to counter this with a progressive rearwards force on the controls. Both pilots then pulled back with considerable force. The control column suddenly moved aft, the aircraft pitched up and the flight crew felt a violent shudder through the whole airframe that lasted for two or three seconds. After this the control forces returned to normal and they were able to level the aircraft at FL240. During the pitching manoeuvres, two of the three cabin crew had fallen in the cabin aisle, sustaining serious injuries. The elevator control difficulties might have been caused by natural icing; investigation is still ongoing.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Exposure of the aircraft to precipitation on the ground in near freezing conditions prior to take off, resulting in accumulations of snow, rain or hail in the elevator/servo tab gaps which then freeze in flight."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: AAIB Special Bulletin S1/2003
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Normal landing

Follow-up / safety actions

AAIB issued 6 Safety Recommendations

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Map
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 Birmingham International Airport to Belfast City Airport as the crow flies is 361 km (226 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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