On 18 January 2016 an Embraer EMB 120 ER “Brasilia” performed a cargo flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands to London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom. On board were two pilots, and at approximately 17.25 hours the take-off was performed from Runway 24.

The flight continued towards the destination airport where a landing was performed and the aeroplane was parked. After shutdown, the ground crew discovered holes in the right-hand side fuselage. Furthermore, the right-hand propeller blades were damaged and in one propeller blade a metal wire was found embedded in the leading edge.

Following this information, the Dutch Safety Board made inquiries at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol about occurrences that night and asked if a check could be performed on Runway 24. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AAS) had already performed a runway check, which revealed that seven runway edge lights were destroyed.

Investigation publication

Misaligned take-off

It is concluded that the EMB-120 aeroplane made a misaligned take-off from Runway 24 at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, at night. During take-off, the crew interpreted the right-hand side runway edge lights as the runway centre line lights. Evidently, visual cues provided in the form of taxiway markings and lighting turned out to be insufficient for a correct guidance of the aeroplane from the taxiway to the runway centre line. The large turning angle, required to align the aeroplane with the runway centre line, in combination with the discontinuity of the taxiway S5 centre line and absence of the taxiway centre line lighting have contributed to the misaligned take-off.

Besides the full report in English, a Dutch summary has been published.


To International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):

It is recommended to initiate the process to develop, within Annex 14 Volume 1 ‘Aerodrome Design and Operations’, a standard for runway edge lights that would allow pilots to identify them, specifically, without reference to other lights or other airfield features.

To Amsterdam Airport Schiphol:

It is recommended to proactively take measures, in line with the above recommendation to ICAO, which prevent pilots from interpreting the runway edge lights as the runway centre line lights.

To Air Traffic Control the Netherlands:

Outside the uniform daylight period, allow air traffic access to the runway for take-off only when intersections are used that are equipped with centre line lighting.


Investigation data

Theme Aviation

Investigation start date

Report publication date

Type Shortened Investigation

Status Completed

Phase Publication