Updated: Nov 1, 2021
November is Aviation History Month, V2 Aviation will continue its look at Aviation History as we have been doing in the 219 blogs since we started. To create awareness that it is Aviation History Month we will amend the blog title a little for the month of -November. 10 years ago on this date a LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 767 made a successful belly landing at Warsaw's Chopin Airport.
SP-LPC on its belly and engine cowlings
The flight was operated by a 14 year old Boeing 767-35DER, SP-LPC, it had serial number 28656 and was named Poznań. Less than 30 minutes after takeoff the crew was alerted by a Center Hydraulic System Low-Pressure warning. After performing the relevant checklists the decision was made to continue the Atlantic crossing. An uneventful flight followed as the aircraft continued on its flight towards its home base in Poland, With the knowledge that the Central Hydraulic System had failed the crew had the time during the Atlantic Crossing to prepare for the landing in Warsaw for which they would have to use the alternate gear down procedure as per QRH.
The procedure to land the aircraft after an alternate gear down was a familiar procedure to the crew, as they trained for it numerous times during their regular simulator sessions. After an uneventful Atlantic crossing the aircraft, while on the approach to Warsaw's International Airport the crew used the Alternate Gear Down Procedure, as briefed during the flight, to lower the landing gear. However, the Landing Gear did not extend, after reviewing the procedure they attempted a second time to lower the Landing Gear using the Alternate Gera Down Procedure. When that attempt also failed the approach was aborted. ATC was informed and the crew contacted the LOT Maintenance Control Center (MCC) The crew declared EMergency and was vectored to a Holding. In consultation with their MCC, the crew performed several checks and cycled relevant Circuit Breakers. During their time in the Holding, two Polish Airforce Fighter Jets had been vectored towards the aircraft, when they inspected the aircraft externally they noticed (as the crew knew) that the landing gear was still up, but the tailskid was extended. After several attempts were made to lower the gear and a low fuel quantity the crew and passengers were prepared for a gear-up landing.
In anticipation of the gear up landing, firefighters foamed runway 33 over a length of approximately 3000 meters.
At 13.39 the aircraft touched down and slid to a hold on the runway, only 1600 kg of fuel was remaining. Sparks were seen emanating from the left engine, they were suppressed by the foam on the runway. After the aircraft came to a halt, the aircraft was evacuated, some of the passengers and crew sustained light injuries during the evacuation. The investigation into the events revealed the following causes;
Failure of the hydraulic hose connecting the hydraulic system on the right leg of the main landing gear with the centre hydraulic system, which initiated the occurrence.
Open C829 BAT BUS DISTR circuit breaker in the power supply circuit of the alternate landing gear extension system in the situation when the centre hydraulic system was inoperative.
The crew’s failure to detect the open C829 circuit breaker during the approach to landing, after detecting that the landing gear could not be extended with the alternate system.
The popped C829 Circuit Breaker The failed hydraulic hose
Several contributing factors were also identified. After the aircraft was lifted with cranes the C829 Circuit breaker was reset, and the gear extend using the alternate gear down procedure.
The aircraft sustained extensive damage and was withdrawn from service and subsequently broken up. The full investigation report can be found by clicking here