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 28, 2014 -- Updated 0149 GMT (0949 HKT)
Luxury Action will turn your travel scripts into reality and film them. As long as you're willing to travel to this country ...
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0913 GMT (1713 HKT)
As entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles draws some of the best comic talent on the planet. Here's where to see it live.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0342 GMT (1142 HKT)
Not many people choose flights based on the quality of an airline's catering -- but those who do should check out Saveur's Culinary Travel Awards.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
On the island of rice, curry, tropical fruit and fresh seafood, eating is an honor to the taste buds.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Sparsely populated (by humans at least), this East Africa country offers so much more than just Mt. Kilimanjaro.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Berlin's Tegel airport
It's crowded and outdated, but Berlin's hexagon-shaped Tegel air hub has won a place in the city's heart.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 0847 GMT (1647 HKT)
Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses
Shrine to a dead cat and a homage to fromage among Dutch capital's eccentric exhibitions.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0603 GMT (1403 HKT)
The OLAF scooter/luggage
Slovenian Kickstarter project encourages travelers to hop on their suitcase and cruise through terminals to connecting gates.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT