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error plane Investigators fail to find reason fire broke out on plane during Shannon Airport take-off

The quick thinking actions of the pilot who decided to abort the flight after hearing an unusual sound may have saved the lives of 145 passengers

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Fire Damage to Left Main Landing Gear

Fire Damage to Left Main Landing Gear

Fire Damage to Left Main Landing Gear

Air accident investigators have failed to find any reason why a fire broke out at the back of a plane shortly after it was about to take-off from Shannon Airport two years ago.

The quick thinking actions of the 50-year-old pilot who decided to abort the flight after hearing an unusual sound as the plane was about to take-off may have saved the lives of 145 passengers and 10 crew on board.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report revealed that during the take-off roll on Runway 24 at Shannon Airport on August 19, 2019 the commander heard an unusual noise and elected to not take-off.

Following the rejected take-off, the aircraft was taxied to a holding area for brake cooling. It was subsequently decided to return to the parking stand.

During the taxi back to stand, Shannon Air Traffic Control (ATC) observed smoke and then a fire in the area of the left main landing gear. Airport Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) vehicles were deployed and the fire was extinguished.

The passengers and crew evacuated the aircraft via emergency slides. One passenger sustained a minor injury during the evacuation.

The AAIU report revealed that disassembly and inspection of the wheels and brakes by the manufacturer did not identify a source of the fire.

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Stock photo

Stock photo

Stock photo

 

Analysis of data from the Flight Data Recorder by the Aircraft Manufacturer showed that the performance of the wheel and brake assemblies was as expected for the weight of the aircraft and the speed of the rejected take-off.

The report stated: “The pilot informed the Investigation that there were no abnormal system indications during the take-off roll.

“However, there was a loud noise coming from the left side of the cockpit which was increasing. He considered it was unsafe to continue, took control of the aircraft, called ‘reject’ and brought the aircraft to a stop on the runway.

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“The Commander said that they (he, co-pilot and the international relief officer) notified Air Traffic Control that they had rejected the take-off and did not require assistance.”

He informed the Investigation that he estimated the take-off had been rejected at approximately 100 knots and he calculated the cooling time for the brakes using 120 knots, which he believed was a conservative figure for the speed of the rejected take-off. He estimated that a cooling time of 44 minutes was required before another take-off could be attempted.

The pilot informed the Investigation that they then taxied the aircraft to hold on Taxiway C, during which time they had contacted the Operator to inform them of the situation.

The investigators said that during the taxi back from the runway to the plane’s stand a fire started in the left main landing gear.

The Air Mobility Command (AMC) observed the fire and informed the Flight Crew advising them to evacuate on the right side of the aircraft. Emergency services were dispatched to the aircraft in a timely manner having observed the occurrence on the runway.

Four minutes after the fire was initially observed, the AFRS reported to the AMC that the fire was extinguished and all passengers and Cabin Crew had evacuated. The Flight Crew evacuated shortly afterwards.

The report concluded that the fire in the brake assembly during taxi, following a high-speed rejected take-off which occurred 28 minutes earlier.

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