LONDON – According to a recently released Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report, an incident involving a wheel fire on a Ryanair Boeing 737 last year has raised a safety action by the wheel manufacturer and the aircraft operator.
The incident in question occurred at Manchester Airport on 17 March 2022 at 0045 hours local time. A Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS registered EI -TNF was taxiing to the gate after landing when an outboard wheel on the left main undercarriage gear failed due to a fatigue crack in the wheel hub.
The wheel failure caused a hydraulic leak from the brake cylinder, which then resulted in the fire developing due to the heat generated by the misaligned wheel.
Following a normal approach and landing on Runway 23R, the crew of the Ryanair aircraft had noticed that they required more thrust to taxi the aircraft. Believing it to be due to a flat tyre they continued their taxi to the terminal.
As the aircraft approached the stand the crew received a radio transmission requesting the fire service to attend an aircraft with “brakes on fire.”
Realising the call related to their aircraft, the Ryanair crew completed the parking procedure and engine shutdown. They issued a standby call to the cabin crew to advise, and the situation was then monitored.
With fire service units in attendance, the fire was quickly extinguished and an emergency evacuation was deemed unnecessary. The passengers within this embarked normally without further incident.
Resultant safety actions
As a result of the wheel hub failure, a safety action has now been implemented by both the wheel manufacturer and the operator.
The manufacturer has developed an ultrasonic inspection process to assess the condition of the wheel hub during maintenance. The additional process had been incorporated into the revelevant Component Maintenance Manual by the manufacturer.
The aircraft operator Ryanair subsequently introduced this optional ultrasonic inspection on their fleet of Boeing 737-8AS aircraft.
A full copy of the AAIB report can be found here.