Tuesday, July 25, 2017

AI plane flies with wheels out, forced to land early

New Delhi: : Air India has grounded two pilots who forgot to retract aircraft landing gear after take off and then flew all the way from Kolkata to Nagpur with the wheels out. While the flight's destination was Mumbai, flying with the wheels out meant flying low and more fuel burn due to which the plane had to land at Nagpur after running low on fuel.
The pilots realised that the wheels had been out all the while only while preparing to land at Nagpur! The lapse happened on AI 676 that took off from Kolkata last Saturday (July 22) with 99 Mumbai-bound passengers on board.
"After take off, both the women pilots forgot to retract the landing gear. As a result, the brand new Airbus A-320 continued to ascend at a very low climb rate. The plane finally gave up climbing after reaching an altitude of 24,000 feet as the extended landing gear meant very heavy drag. It then levelled out (continued flying at 24,000 feet as opposed to the usually assigned level of 35-37,000 feet) and flew at 230 knots (426 kmph) for the next 1.5 hours," said a source.
Aircraft are designed to fly with minimum drag for enhanced fuel efficiency and extended range. Since AI 676 was flying at a much lower than the optimal level and that too with wheels out, it meant more fuel burn due to extra drag.
25/07/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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