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Plane lands with wheel missing and nobody notices

October 24, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A twin-engine short-haul regional airliner has landed with a wheel missing in Vietnam’ popular tourist city of Danang – and nobody on board noticed, state media in that country has reported.

The incident involved a Vietnam Airlines ATR-72 turboprop.

“When the aircraft was already in the parking lot, technicians found a broken front axle and one missing wheel,” the airline said in a statement.

The plane, flying from the northern port city of Haiphong (gateway to the World Heritage Site of Halong Bay), was carrying 41 passengers and crew. Not only did passengers not sense any problem, the flight crew did not realise there was any problem either, Tien Phong newspaper said. 250x250

Chief pilot Vu Tien Khanh, 34, told the paper the flight crew noticed no difference, adding “What worried me most was whether the wheel had fallen onto anyone below.”

The ATR-72, manufactured by a French-Italian consortium, was in the news last week when the same model, flown by Lao Airlines, plunged into the Mekong River during extreme weather triggered by Typhoon Nari. The accident killed all aboard, including six Australians.

The ATR-72 is widely used throughout the world, however, and is considered a safe aircraft.

ATR, founded in 1981, has become the world leader in regional aircraft with 90 seats or less. Since its creation, ATR has sold over 1200 aircraft, operated by 186 airlines in 90 countries.

Also, Vietnam Airlines is very different from Lao Airlines. Geoffrey Thomas, founder of Perth-based airlineratings.com, told Melbourne’s Age newspaper that he rated Lao Airlines as a “four out of seven star airline” before the crash because it had not participated in an audit conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Vietnam Airlines, on the other hand, is one of 13 airlines (out of the 41 main passenger airlines operating in South East Asia) to have been IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certified.

Written by : Peter Needham

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