Skip to main content

Pilot's false arm falls off as he lands passenger plane

By Barry Neild, CNN
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
The incident involved a Flybe airline turboprop plane taking off from Belfast City Airport.
The incident involved a Flybe airline turboprop plane taking off from Belfast City Airport.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Investigation launched after pilot's prosthetic arm became detached while landing a passenger plane at Belfast City Airport
  • Plane carrying 47 passengers and a crew of four made a safe "but heavy" landing after pilot regained control
  • Low-cost carrier Flybe said it had put additional safety checks into place following February 12 incident

(CNN) -- It's probably one of the more unusual incidents air traffic investigators have looked into, but the good news is that when a pilot's prosthetic arm fell off during landing, no one got hurt.

The 46-year-old pilot lost control in dark and windy conditions while bringing a Flybe airline turboprop plane with 47 passengers into Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland.

A report released Thursday by Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch said the unnamed pilot's false limb became detached as he performed a "flare manoeuver" in which the nose of the plane is raised.

The pilot managed to regain control and make a "heavy landing," it said.

The February 12 incident resulted in no injuries among the passengers or four crew, but triggered an investigation.

"As he made the flare manoeuvre ... his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft," the report said.

"He made a rapid assessment of the situation and considered alerting the co-pilot and instructing him to take control."

However, it said, because the co-pilot would not have time to take stock of what was happening, he decided the best option was to continue one-handed.

'Safety checks'

"He did this, but with power still applied, and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily."

The report made no comment on the incident but concluded with the pilot's own pledge to be "more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis."

It said he would also brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event occurring in the future.

Flybe, a UK-based low cost airline, said it had carried out its own investigation and had put into place additional safety measures.

"Flybe is proud to be an equal opportunities employer," it said in a statement.

"This, in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities. Where appropriate, and in accordance with UK Civil Aviation Authority requirements, this does include pilots."

It said the pilot was a senior captain and one of its "most experienced and trusted" pilots.

"Following the incident, Flybe immediately undertook a detailed internal investigation from which it determined a series of additional fail-safe safety checks.

"These were rigorously tested and instigated immediately to ensure that this type of incident could not happen again."

Carpenter who cut off his fingers makes 'Robohand' with 3-D printer

How a 3-D printed arm gave hope to boy maimed in bomb blast

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
The guidebook asked staff, contributors and authors for well-known and lesser-known recommendations.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
An airport in Asia has stolen the crown from Manila's Ninoy Aquino, voted 'world's worst' three years in a row.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
It's time for a beef break, veal vacation, hog holiday or sinew sabbatical in a T-bone a-fide U.S. meatopolis.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many awesome new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
Scientists are busy surveying Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of all known coral species.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
Bounce Below in Wales
Bounce Below transforms an abandoned slate mine into a surreal, springy world of fear and fun,
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2316 GMT (0716 HKT)
With chopsticks or fingers? Wasabi or no? A double Michelin-starred Tokyo chef sets the record straight and shows us the sushi way.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2224 GMT (0624 HKT)
Markthal Rotterdam foodhall in the Netherlands.
It may look like a gateway across time and space crafted with alien technology, but in reality it's a fruit and vegetable market.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Based on the votes of over 330 industry experts, the 2014 winners include bars from 27 cities in 14 countries.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
Careening down an active volcano at 95 kph on a thin board? It happens only at Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.
ADVERTISEMENT