The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet with more than 450 people on board had just departed GATWICK for Las Vegas, but was forced to return to London after developing a technical fault shortly after take-off yesterday afternoon. It would be more than two hours later before they eventually landed. The final air accident report into this incident has just been released on the 9th October 2015
In thew upper main picture, you cannot see the problem component the hydraulic actuator (switch/ relay) is located under the flap to right of the single wheel.
There should be seven more wheels showing, and eight locked open at this point.
The cause? It could be a simple matter of the contacts/leads computer CPU feeding digital instructions into the modular unit being cross-switched by error during a ground routine service, so when the Pilot deploys the sets of 8 landing wheels, the actuator works in reverse, but obviously the bogie would not lock into place either in the closed or open position thus setting off an alarm in the cockpit.
Pilot appears to have tried shaking the aircraft (wing waggle) and fuel dumping. He deliberately performed several low level passes, so ground crew and airport control tower could visually see the damaged area and radio report back to Captain.
The plane made a heavy landing with some of the wheels locked down, so with compensatory action by the pilot, some landing weight would have been transferred to the active wheel sets.
See the full drama unfold here:
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