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ATSB opens investigation into Vietnam Airlines landing gear incident

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 20, 2019

A file image of Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 VN-A870. (BriYYZ/Wikimedia Commons)
A file image of Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 VN-A870. (BriYYZ/Wikimedia Commons)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has opened an investigation into a Vietnam Airlines flight that was on approach to land at Melbourne Airport without its landing gear extended.

The September 19 incident occurred on Vietnam Airlines flight VN781 from Ho Chi Minh City, operated by Boeing 787-9 VN-A870.

“During approach to land, Melbourne Air Traffic Control advised the crew that the aircraft’s landing gear was observed not to be extended. The crew initiated a missed approach,” the ATSB said in a statement on its website, describing the occurrence as an “incorrect configuration incident”.

“As part of the investigation, the ATSB will obtain information from the flight crew, and additional information as required.”

Data from flight tracking website FlightAware showed the aircraft had descended to an altitude of 675 feet by 08:05:11 local time as it approached Melbourne Tullamarine to land, before the aircraft climbed for a go-around. The flight landed about 10 minutes later.

A screenshot of Vietnam Airlines flight VN781 approach and go-around at Melbourne Airport. (Flightradar24 website)
A screenshot of Vietnam Airlines flight VN781 approach and go-around at Melbourne Airport. (Flightradar24 website)

The 787-9 was on the ground for about two and a half hours before departing Melbourne on schedule at just before 1100 as the reciprocal VN870 bound for Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam Airlines told Nine newspapers it was working closely with the ATSB’s investigators.


The ATSB said it expected to complete the investigation by the first quarter of calendar 2020.

“A report will be released at the end of the investigation,” the ATSB said.

“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.”


Vietnam Airlines received its first 787-9 in June 2015 and its first 787-10 in August 2019. The airline currently had 11 787-9s and two 787-10s in service. It had a further six 787-10s due for delivery.

Comments (2)

  • Mac Carter


    Controllers in the Tower should be commended for observing and advising of a potentially catastrophic event.
    One can only speculate the outcome should this aircraft had been scheduled to arrive at an airport controlled by a Remote Tower, with only cameras to observe.
    I can recall an incident many years ago when the crew of a BAE QT were unable to activate the runway lights at a major North Queensland Airport. The aircraft was forced to circle while ground crew broke down the locked door to gain access to the Tower and activate the runway lights.
    Conclusion, Manned Control Towers offer a more safe environment for aircraft operations.

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