Local pilot in landing drama.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Local pilot in landing drama. thumbnail The passenger plane that had to make an emergency landing in Belfast last week with no nose gear. The cabin crew has been praised for their “superb actions”.

ONE OF the crew on board the Flybe passenger plane that made a dramatic emergency landing with no nose gear is from the local area, The Outlook understands.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, praised the pilot's actions as he said landing without nose gear is a "very difficult manoeuvre".

The pilot responsible for the landing is understand to be from the Rathfriland area but is not being named on the airline's recommendation.

The landing happened last Friday (10 November) and the crew has been hailed for their approach.

"The pilots in this case appear to have done a sterling job of bringing the aircraft back under those circumstances," said Mr Strutton.

His views were echoed by Alan Whiteside, Belfast International Airport operations director, who said "it was a very good landing".

"The flying skills, landing the aircraft, were superb.

"It became very obvious when it was on approach that the nose wheel was not down so we knew that it was going to be a difficult landing.

"The flight deck crew were superb, they landed on the main undercarriage, they held the nose of the aircraft up to the last possible moment, bleeding off all the air speed and still keeping control and just dropping it at the very last minute.

"That meant it stopped relatively quickly, no issues, no fire with it, and they got it stopped safely on the runway." He said fire crews were on the scene immediately to assist in evacuating the aircraft.

The emergency response went "extremely smoothly".

"There were a significant number of units because of the serious potential nature of the incident, so they were all on site by the time the aircraft was landing and it all went very smoothly thankfully."

The plane with 57 people on board had taken off from Belfast City Airport at 11.20am bound for Inverness last Friday morning.

However it is understood that shortly after take off passengers were informed there was a problem with one of the wheels.

The plane then circled for around two hours to burn fuel before the captain informed passengers and crew that they were to prepare for an emergency landing.

The aircraft then landed safely at Belfast International Airport at around 1.30pm, with just two of its three wheels working.

Flybe confirmed one passenger was taken to hospital with a minor hand injury following the incident.

Christine Ourmières-Widener, Flybe CEO, commented: "Our crew took the necessary precautionary actions to ensure the aircraft landed as safely as was possible and I am proud of their professionalism in the circumstances. Safety is our highest priority and our crew are highly trained and undergo regular training to calmly and professionally handle any such situations.

"Safety is the number one priority for the aviation industry globally and Flybe is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities and with the manufacturers of the aircraft to understand the cause of this incident."

The plane was carrying 52 passengers, one infant, and four crew members.


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