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11 December 1998 - Thai 261

Thai Airways International Flight 261 was scheduled passenger flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Surat Thani, Thailand. On 11 December 1998, the ill-fated flight was being operated with an Airbus A310-300, registration HS-TIA.

Thai Flight 261 carrying 146 people on board took off from Don Mueang International Airport at 11:40 UST on a two hour flight to Surat Thani. When the aircraft began to descend to Surat Thani Airport, the weather was bad with heavy rain and poor visibility, and the pilot executed a missed approach two times. On a third attempt to land, the aircraft stalled and crashed two miles southwest of the airport, killing 101 people and injuring 45 people. 90 passengers (out of 132) and 11 crew members (out of 14) died.

Probable cause of the crash was determined to be "spatial disorientation when the nose pitched up sharply during a night time approach in stormy weather".



Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)


18:38:00: Pilot: Good evening, Surat Thani Tower. THA 261 Intermediate Fix RWY 22.

Air traffic controller: Good evening, THA 261. Report Final Approach Fix QNH 1009.

Pilot: Report FAF 1009.

ATC: THA 261, negative PAPI light, right side of RWY, left side is OK and RWY edge light interval 120 metres threshold and RWY end light interval 6 metres, caution barrier 400 metres from RWY22.

Pilot: THA 261, thank you.

18:40:11: Pilot: THA 261 FAF.

ATC: THA 261, Surat not in sight, check wheels, cleared to land RWY22, surface wind 310 degrees at 5.

Pilot: Cleared to land RWY22 THA 261.

ATC: THA 261, caution RWY wet.

Pilot: 261.

18:41:14: ATC: THA 261, is RWY in sight?

Pilot: Not yet, negative 261.

ATC: Roger.

18:41:32: Pilot: RWY in sight THA 261.

ATC: Surat in sight now.

18:42:17: Pilot THA 261 go around.

ATC: THA 261 Roger.

18:42:49: ATC: THA 261, how far can you see RWY?

Pilot: Three miles. please stand by.

ATC: Roger.

18:43:42: ATC: THA 261, what will you do next?

Pilot: Left turn to final RWY22 6 DME. Now maintain 2000 feet.

ATC: Roger, report FAF.

Pilot: Report again FAF THA 261.

18:47:14: ATC: THA 261, request position now.

Pilot: Position 2 DME to FAF, outbound, after FAF I will make tear drop left turn back to FAF again.

ATC: Roger. Report FAF heading in-bound.

Pilot: Report FAF when heading in-bound THA 261.

18:48:27: Pilot: Tower from 261, is it raining at the airport?

ATC: It is raining lightly.

Pilot: Thank you.

18:51:31: Pilot THA 261 FAF RWY22.

ATC: THA 261, Surat not in sight. Check wheels. Cleared to land RWY22, surface wind 291 degrees at 5.

Pilot: Cleared to land RWY22 THA 261.

18:53:30: ATC: THA 261, Surat in sight.

Pilot: Go ahead THA 261.

ATC: THA 261, Surat in sight. Thai 261, what will you do next?

Pilot: I can't see RWY yet. Please stand by for a moment.

ATC: Roger

18:54:15: Pilot: THA 261 go around

ATC: 261 Roger

18:55:31: ATC: THAI 261, please confirm whether to Join Final again?

Pilot: Yes, I want to make another try to Join Final. Report ...

ATC: Roger. Report FAF.

Pilot: Report FAF. Thank you THA 261.

18:59:39: ATC: THA 261, request position.

Pilot: Now FAF outbound THA 261.

ATC: THA 261, report FAF [when] heading in-bound.

Pilot: Report again FAF heading in-bound THA 261.

19:03:49: ATC: THAI 261, the visibility observed by tower is about 1,000 metres

Pilot: Copy that. Invisibility decreased to 1,000 metres. Is that right?

ATC: Right.

Pilot: Is it raining at the airport?

ATC: It is raining lightly.

Pilot: Thank you very much 261 ... FAF RWY22.

ATC: THA 261, check wheels. Cleared to land RWY22, surface wind 290 degrees at 3. Caution RWY wet.

Pilot: Cleared to land RWY22 THA 261.

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