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ATSB probes second Qantas landing gear incident in a month

written by Adam Thorn | July 20, 2021
Flightradar24 shows how the aircraft turned around mid-air and headed back to Sydney. (Flightradar24)

The ATSB has announced it is to investigate a second Qantas landing gear incident in less than a month.

The new probe will examine why a flight crew did not retract the wheels of a QantasLink Dash 8 departing Sydney for Albury on 12 July.

Qantas said it would work with the ATSB on its investigation.

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The DHC-8-402, VH-QOY msn 4288, departed Sydney at 3:27pm as flight QF2213 and was diverted back to the NSW capital after the problem was discovered and the landing gear safely retracted. The issue was not identified during the after take-off checks but discovered later during the climb.

“The evidence collection phase of the investigation will include interviewing the flight crew and reviewing operator procedures, flight crew records and recorded data,” said the ATSB in a statement.

“A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.”

The aircraft is thought to have landed without incident.

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Qantas has 50 De Havilland Canada Dash 8s, including 41 of the 8-400 model that can seat 74 in economy.

It comes shortly after the ATSB begun an investigation into why a main landing gear did not retract on a Qantas 787-9 flight from Sydney to Perth last month.

The crew received an alert shortly after take-off and returned the aircraft back to the NSW capital for an “uneventful landing”.

Qantas told Australian Aviation in a statement there was “no issue with the safety of the flight”.

The Qantas 787-9, VH-ZNH msn 36241, departed Sydney at 10:33am on 21 June as flight QF645 and was diverted back to Sydney, landing four hours later.

The ATSB said a subsequent engineering inspection revealed that the forward gear pins on the left and right main landing gear were not removed prior to the flight.

“The evidence collection phase of the investigation will include a review and examination of maintenance records and the gathering of any other relevant evidence,” said the ATSB.

The investigation is scheduled to report back its findings early next year.

Qantas said, “There are checks to in place to ensure these locking pins are removed before each flight and we’re looking into why this did not occur on this occasion.”

Last month, Australian Aviation reported how the captain and first officer of a Qantas Freight 737 were left temporarily “incapacitated” in a mayday incident in 2018.

An ATSB report revealed the captain was left “gagging” and “gasping for air” on the Express Freighters Australia aircraft travelling between Brisbane and Melbourne. The first officer then subsequently suffered “incapacitating symptoms consistent with hyperventilation”.

The aircraft landed safely in Canberra, and at no point were both pilots simultaneously incapacitated.

The incident was sparked by the flickering of a caution light and the breathing troubles a result of pilots selecting the emergency flow setting while manipulating the oxygen mask settings.

Qantas Freight told Australian Aviation, “After this incident occurred back in 2018, we updated our policy on how pilots troubleshoot technical issues during flights to avoid these actions inadvertently causing other consequences as occurred in this incident.”

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