Pilot of jet carrying 51 lost control after false arm detached

editorial image

A Flybe operated passenger jet carrying over 50 people landed heavily in Belfast in February after its pilot lost control when his prosthetic arm came off in gusty conditions.

According to the Department of Transport’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), there were four crew and 47 passengers on board the Birmingham to Belfast City flight when the 46-year-old pilot’s arm detached on February 12 at 7.40pm.

The report stated: “The commander disconnected the autopilot and flew the aircraft manually. As he made the flare manoeuvre, with somewhat more than flight idle torque still applied, his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft.

“He made a rapid assessment of the situation and considered alerting the co-pilot and instructing him to take control. However, because the co-pilot would have had little time to assimilate the information necessary to take over in the challenging conditions, the commander concluded that his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers onto the yoke to regain control.

“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.”