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ATSB to probe why Qantas 787 landing gear didn’t retract

written by Adam Thorn | July 5, 2021

This Flightradar24 shot shows how the Qantas 787-9, VH-ZNH msn 36241, departed Sydney on 21 June and was diverted back home.

The ATSB has 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.

“A report will be published 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 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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Comments (3)

  • Trent


    This situation happened because someone didn’t do their job, in removing pins prior pushback.

    There seems to be a ‘pattern’ of ‘accidents’ happening to QF aircraft eg machinery smashing into aircraft fuselage on two occasions’.

    WHY are theses incidents’ happening?

    • John Brett


      It is a rather difficult issue to understand how an organisation like Qantas has had several breakdowns in important procedures in recent months!
      Is there an issue in the procedures being overlooked by ground staff, or just a breakdown in applying the principles of checking off the tasks before clearing the aircraft for flight?

  • Lynden Kemp


    Another Qantas flight in the news again!

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