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24th of August 2008, Blog #516

With a crew of four and 59 passengers, an ATR 72-212A was ready for take-off and waiting short of Runway 26L München-Franz Josef Strauss Airport (Germany). The flight was waiting for take-off clearance to start its flight to Bologna (Italy).

The fire damaged left main landing gear area of the aircraft. (© BFU)

Once the proceeding aircraft started its take-off, ATC cleared the aircraft to line up on the runway. 20 seconds later the take-off clearance was issued and confirmed by the crew. After 40 seconds ATC queried if the take-off was imminent as an aircraft on the approach would otherwise have to go around. The crew confirmed they would start the take-off immediately. Six seconds later ATC Instructed the aircraft to abort the take-off and vacate the runway at the first high-speed exit. These instructions were promptly followed by the crew, after which ATC provided taxi clearance back to the holding point at runway 26L.

A check of the aircraft instruments, when at the holding point, made the crew aware of excessive brake temperature. At 20.02 lt (local time) ATC asked the crew if the flight was ready for an immediate take-off, the crew replied they were not. Just over a minute later another aircraft called the aircraft stating they saw a fire at the left gear. This radio call was picked up by ATC who alerted the fire brigade. The crew initiated an emergency evacuation of the aircraft and shut the aircraft down. All occupants evacuated the aircraft via the left rear (main) door and the front left emergency exit. One passenger broke an arm during the evacuation. The fire service reached the aircraft shortly thereafter and extinguished the fire, which by then had spread from the tyre to the undercarriage fairing.

Video of the evacuation of the aircraft while the left main gear is on fire.

(Source: © BBC)

Damage to the aircraft was concentrated around the left main landing gear area. Further investigation into the fire by the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) revealed that;

  • A brake cylinder on the #2 brake (left main gear inner wheel) had ruptured

  • Two other brake cylinders were deformed

  • A detailed investigation of the brake unit revealed that the damage was the result of overheating

Thermal analysis of the taxi route followed by the aircraft determined that the brake could not have heated up to an extent that would have caused the damages found on the aircraft.

Smoke is rising from the aircraft as firefighters arrive on the scene. (Source © unknown)

The report by the BFU into the accident, on which this blog is based, is available for the readers' reference by clicking on the .pdf file below. It does not give a probable cause or contributing factors as to the cause of the fire.

ATR 72 Brake Fire 24-Aug-2008
Download PDF • 565KB

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