Pilot’s Arm Falls Off While Landing Plane

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A Flybe aircraft takes off from the Belfast City Airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on December 23, 2010.

A pilot who wears a prosthetic arm lost control of his aircraft while landing in gusty conditions, after his arm became detached, according to a report from the UK’s Air Accident Investigations Board. 

The Flybe flight from Birmingham in England into Belfast, Northern Ireland’s City Airport, was carrying 47 passengers and 4 crew members at the time. The incident took place in February 2014.

The report describes how the yoke clamp on the pilot’s prosthetic are became detached from the controls, depriving him control of the aircraft. He had turned off the plane’s autopilot system, and was flying the plane manually. 

The report further details that the captain had to quickly decide as to whether to hand over control to his co-pilot, or use his other hand. Due to the challenging conditions and the lack of time, it he chose the latter option, with the result that “a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily.”

No-one was hurt however, and the plane did not sustain any damage from the impact.

The Belfast Telegraph quotes Captain Ian Baston, Flybe's director of flight operations and safety, as saying: “Flybe is proud to be an Equal Opportunities Employer. This, in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities. The senior captain referred to in this report is one of Flybe’s most experienced and trusted pilots.” 

The report concludes that the captain will in future, take extra care when checking his yoke clamp, and brief his colleagues of the possibility of such an event happening in the future.

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