LONDON – The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released its report on the British Airways Boeing 787 that suffered a gear failure back in June 2021.
G-ZBJB was the aircraft in question that suffered the gear failure whilst preparing for a cargo flight between London Heathrow and Frankfurt.
The Summary Report…
The AAIB said the following in its summary:
“During preparation for a cargo flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt, the ground maintenance team was working to address three fault messages associated with the nose landing gear (NLG) doors while the flight crew prepared the aircraft.”
“The Dispatch Deviation Guide confirmed that rectification of the defects could be deferred to a later date, providing that the landing gear was recycled to confirm the NLG functioned correctly.”
“To prevent the landing gear from retracting when UP was selected, the landing gear down lock pins were fitted. However, when UP was selected, the NLG retracted.”
“As a result, the aircraft’s nose struck the ground, which caused significant damage to the lower front section of the aircraft. This inflicted minor injuries on the co-pilot and one of the cargo loading team.”
“The accident was caused by the NLG down lock pin being inadvertently inserted in the download link assembly apex pin instead of the download pinhole.”
“The design of the aircraft NLG download assembly created an opportunity for error when inserting the NLG locking pin because two holes were located so close together that the pin could be accidentally inserted in the wrong location.”
“A Service Bulletin and Airworthiness Directive were available that would have prevented the accident, but this had not been completed yet on G-ZBJB.”
“The operator and the airport have introduced a number of Safety Actions which cover the adoption of corrective modifications to the aircraft, changes to maintenance and incident response procedures.”
There was two crew onboard the aircraft when this incident happened, with one receiving minor injuries as a result of the gear collapse.
The report continues:
“Two of the ground engineers left the flight deck, and the LAE remained in the left seat working through the engineering procedures on a laptop.”
“The co-pilot sat in the right seat and began his pre-departure checks. The co-pilot had limited interaction with the LAE as he was focused on his own task.”
“He did recall that the engineer pressurized a hydraulic system. The co-pilot received the flight departure clearance by datalink at 0650 and, very shortly after that, recalled the LAE raising the gear lever to up.”
“The co-pilot recalled hearing the gear system actuate, and then the aircraft nose struck the ground. Though the co-pilot sustained a minor injury, the engineer was unhurt.”
You can view the whole report below:
Overall, it remains clear in the report that such directives put in place by the AAIB will help prevent incidents like this happen again.
If anything, it was good that it was a cargo flight and not a passenger flight, as there could have been more injuries sustained in the wake of the incident.
But for now, that incident is solved, and the airline can perform better from a safety perspective moving forward.