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TSB: Jazz Aviation launches new safety measures after emergency landing at LAX 

By Ben Forrest | July 8, 2024

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 56 seconds.

An in-flight fuel imbalance led to the diversion and emergency landing of a Jazz Aviation aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after a runway excursion at takeoff in San Diego, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found. 

The TSB released its investigation report into the 2021 incident on July 5, 2024. It involved a Mitsubishi CL-600-2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) aircraft taking off from San Diego International Airport and bound for Vancouver International Airport on the evening of Nov. 29, 2021. 

Investigators found the aircraft took off to the left of the centreline on the runway at San Diego International Airport, and the left main landing gear wheels contacted three runway edge lights, damaging the aircraft’s tires and flaps before the trajectory was corrected toward the runway centreline.  

“The contact went unnoticed by the flight crew as they perceived the sounds and vibrations as normal contact with the embedded runway centreline lights,” the TSB said.  

Shortly after this, the flight crew detected a fuel imbalance as the aircraft climbed to cruising altitude, and were unable to correct the imbalance, the TSB found. Pilots shut down the right engine, declared an emergency and diverted to LAX, where the aircraft landed safely.  

The aircraft carried four crew members and 69 passengers, with no injuries reported. 

Investigators determined the misaligned takeoff and the fuel imbalance were unrelated.  

“The degraded visual conditions at night meant there were limited visual cues available to the flight crew to identify and verify the aircraft’s position on the runway,” the TSB said. 

The captain taxied the aircraft off the taxiway centreline, “in order to increase the runway distance available for takeoff,” the investigation found. As the aircraft turned back to align with the centre of the runway, the flight crew mistook the left edge line as the runway centreline. 

“Rapid and continuous” arrivals and departures at San Diego created the perception of time pressure for takeoff during the incident, the TSB found. 

“Because the airport was not equipped with a foreign object debris detection system, debris from the aircraft’s contact with the runway edge lights was not discovered until several hours after takeoff,” the TSB said.  

“Undetected debris on runways poses a risk of causing damage to aircraft during critical phases of flight such as takeoff and landing.”  

Investigators found the fuel imbalance was likely caused when the flight crew inadvertently activated the wrong fuel panel as they completed take-off checklists. 

“As a result, the fuel periodically transferred between the aircraft’s wing tanks as it banked left or right,” the TSB said.  

“It was also determined that the guidance provided to flight crews by the operator and the manufacturer to address fuel imbalances was inconsistent and unclear, adding complexity to the situation.”  

Jazz Aviation has since conducted a study of airports in its network, made changes to its airport charts, updated the aircraft operating manual, and issued a company memo informing flight crews of threats during departures from “runway areas other than the threshold,” the TSB said. 

The airline also put mitigation measures in place to minimize these threats, and revised its fuel imbalance procedures for the aircraft to contain clearer guidance for crews. 

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    1. The aircraft is a CRJ900 which is now owned by Mitsubishi (but was built by Bombardier) Jazz doesn’t operate any CL-600s.

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