Wed, Feb 27, 2008
Ground Crews Missed Problem After Hard Landing
An Airbus A320 operated by the Thomas Cook Group, a major
European travel company, was permitted to keep flying after
damaging its main gear in a hard landing at Bristol, England in
November 2006, according to a recent report by the British
Department of Transport's Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Bloomberg reports the plane came through turbulence and made a
hard landing at Bristol, but ground crews there didn't find the
resulting damage to the right main gear. After the plane took off
on its next flight, the gear failed to retract, and the flight was
diverted to Manchester.
In somewhat of an eyebrow-raiser, mechanics there were not told
of the original hard landing at Bristol, and failed to jack up the
plane to thoroughly inspect the gear. On the plane's next takeoff,
the gear got stuck down again.
"Although checks were carried out at Bristol, an opportunity to
find the damage was missed," the AAIB said. "It was only after the
second landing at Manchester that the damage was discovered."
The AAIB noted the design of the landing gear could mask
potential damage during a cursory ground check. "The weakest point
appears to be the landing gear, and in particular the upper
diaphragm, the failure of which is not readily apparent when the
aircraft is on the ground," the AAIB said.
Airbus might take comfort in another AAIB statement, however,
that noted the whole ordeal "...demonstrates that the aircraft is
able to withstand such landings without suffering major structural
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