Less than a year ago, in an airplane of the company Virgin Atlantic, the lives of 447 passengers were endangered.
Summary of Facts
On Monday, December 29, 2014, a Boeing 747 had to make an emergency landing at London’s Gatwick airport. After a take-off at 11:45 local time, towards Las Vegas, the plane Virgin Atlantic turned around over the Atlantic “because of a technical problem with one of its landing gear“, according to the airline.
After “circled” at low altitude over the south of England to burn up fuel, it landed before 16:00. According to eyewitnesses who observed the aircraft during its approach phase, one of the four trains on the right side of the aircraft was not entirely down …
The results of the survey
Immediately after the incident, the airline decided to investigate on the origins of this technical problem. It appeared that the hydraulic retract actuator in question, used to deploy the landing gear, was installed upside down by the ground crew !
View from the ground
In a video released some time later, you can hear the quiet and calm voice of the captain ordered the passengers to brace and especially not to move. A couple of passengers stated : “We written text our last goodbyes on the airplane to close family members saying we did not know if we would endure.”. While around them, the crew yelled “Brace, prepare brace!”, “Head down, legs back!”.
“At that time, we were terrified. […] My wife and I considered each other and believed ‘this is it‘. It was dreadful.”
Finally, thanks to the composure and mastery of his driver David Williams, the aircraft landed without incident. The couple also told : “Everyone cheered the crew and the pilot, which were really amazing..”