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1st of March 2010

Updated: Mar 1

An Airbus A300B4-203F was operating a freight flight from Bahrain (Bahrain) to Bagram Air Base (Afghanistan). Onboard a crew of 5. The flight was uneventful up to the approach to Bagram Air Base. While on the approach to Runway 21 the crew configured the aircraft as per Standard Operating Procedure. After the gear was selected down the Nose Landing Gear and Right Hand Main Landing Gear indicated down and locked, the Left Main Landing Gear remained unsafe.

Aftermath of the gear collapse © U.S. Air Force photo by/Tech. Sgt. Jeromy K. Cross


5 seconds after the Left Main Landing Gear indicated unsafe, the green hydraulic quantity and pressure indications dropped to zero. An emergency was declared and a go-around was initiated. After completing the necessary checklists the aircraft flew two low approaches over the runway so ATC staff from the Control Tower and ground observers could check the gear. The Left Main Landing Gear appeared to be in the normal (down position). After the second low pass, the crew prepared for a landing with one gear indicating unsafe.

With a landing speed (Vref) of 160 knots, the crew managed to execute a safe touch down at 1,5G. The spoilers were deployed and the reversers were deployed and the aircraft started to decelerate (measured at 0.19 G). All was going to plan up to the point when the crew applied the brakes, approximately 18 seconds after touchdown. When the brakes were applied the Left Main landing Gear failed in a backward direction. The aircraft veered left and came to a stop about 2000 meters (6600 feet) from the runway threshold, 90 feet (27 meters) left of the centerline. All five crew members were unhurt. The damage to the aircraft was substantial with the (failed) Left Main Landing Gear, Left engine and left-wing being damaged.

Video of the landing and the recovery operation (©wcolby)

An investigation was launched and deficiencies were found in the overhaul of the landing gear between April 2008 and March 2009. The final report in the investigation concluded that the probable causes of the accident were;

  • Fatigue cracks caused the failure of the hinge arm of the left gear strut.

  • The fatigue crack most likely was caused by corrosion that went unnoticed during the last landing gear overhaul

  • Origin of pitting found on the leg could not be identified,

  • Incomplete maintenance documentation was a contributory cause

  • Lack of tooling was a contributory cause

The final report into the investigation is available by clicking here (only available in French)

The failed landing gear (© BEA)

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