Aborted take-off was followed by aircraft fire at Shannon, report finds

Investigation unit said all passengers and crew safely evacuated after 2019 incident

The aircraft’s flight recorders showed that the aircraft was travelling at about 146 knots, or 270 kilometres per hour, when the commander called “reject” to abort take off.  Photograph: iStock

The aircraft’s flight recorders showed that the aircraft was travelling at about 146 knots, or 270 kilometres per hour, when the commander called “reject” to abort take off. Photograph: iStock

 

Passengers and crew on an international flight out of Shannon in 2019 escaped after an aborted take-off at 270 kilometres per hour was followed by a fire in the plane’s brakes, a report shows

According to a report from the State’s Air Accident Investigation Unit the Boeing 767 300 33A with 145 passengers and 10 crew was cleared for take off for an early morning flight on August 15th, 2019.

The plane was registered to Omni Aviation Leasing of Tulsa Oklahoma, in the United States, and the Air Accident Investigation Unit report noted the plane was covered by an air worthiness certificate at the time.

The flight was cleared for departure at 4.45am and as it picked up speed on the runway the flight commander heard an unusual noise which appeared to be increasing in volume. The Air Accident Investigation Unit report noted concern among the pilots that it may be coming from a window in the cockpit.

The aircraft’s flight recorders showed that the aircraft was travelling at about 146 knots, or 270 kilometres per hour, when the commander called “reject” to abort take off.

After the plane came to a standstill the crew advised air traffic control that they would require 35 - 40 minutes to allow the brakes to cool down before another take-off could be attempted. However, en route back to the stand, during the taxi, and while the aircraft was on still on the runway, air traffic control’s movements controller advised that smoke was emanating from the aircraft’s left main landing gear.

At 5.15am the airport duty office informed the controller that the left main landing gear was on fire. The controller requested the flight crew to initiate an immediate evacuation from the right side of the aircraft. The report notes that by 5.19am all passengers and cabin crew had been evacuated using emergency slides and the fire had been extinguished. One passenger sustained a minor injury during the evacuation.

In its conclusions the investigation unit found that following a high-speed rejected take-off, and subsequent period of taxiing, a fire started in the left main landing gear area.

Subsequent examination of the wheels, brakes and flight recorder data found no identifiable cause of the fire. The report said: “It is therefore probable, that the combination of a rejected take-off at high speed, combined with a lengthy period of taxiing where brakes, particularly on the left side were used, caused the brake system to overheat and a fire to ignite in the left main gear bogie.”