Belfast Telegraph

Engine damage missed on Ryanair jet

A Ryanair jet was used on two flights after crew and maintenance inspectors did not notice an engine had scraped the ground landing in Dublin, a report has revealed.

The plane went on two subsequent services in and out of Poland after the damage was not spotted during pre-flight checks.

The Boeing 737 from Rome to Dublin was landing in November 2009 when the engine cover on the left wing, known as a nacelle, touched the ground.

The plane, with 127 passengers on board, had rolled to the left on touchdown and the nose pitched down. Neither the first officer who was flying the plane, or the commander, knew what had happened and did not make a note of it.

The Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) found a different crew manned the aircraft on subsequent flights to and from Poland, without realising it had suffered scrape damage.

The maintenance crew were not required to inspect underneath the engine nacelle during pre-flight checks, even though it is about two feet off the ground. On arriving back in Dublin the commander of the flights to and from Poland learned a member of the public had reported the nacelle scrape.

The AAIU's probe found the aircraft was trying to land at Dublin Airport in blustery conditions but the commander said the approach was normal for the conditions.

However, with the plane just 25 feet above ground, the left wing dropped due to the wind. It dropped a second time as the plane came in to the runway, but the commander said the landing was quite gentle.

The AAIU said the pilot should have abandoned the approach and perform a go-around after the plane dipped 12 degrees on one side.

The expert team recommended that Boeing should amend its pre-flight checklist to include inspecting the lower surfaces of engine nacelles. It also urged Ryanair to conduct a safety awareness programme to highlight to flight crew the threat of engine nacelle ground contact when landing in difficult conditions.

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