Sat, Dec 13, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Pilots grounded after airplane’s tires burst in Penghu

PILOT ERROR The aircraft’s four main tires burst when the TransAsia Airways flight touched down in Penghu County on Thursday, but no one was injured

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The pilot and copilot of a Trans-Asia Airways ATR 72 aircraft whose four main tires burst upon landing in Penghu County on Thursday were grounded yesterday for negligence and the pilot will likely be fined.

The aircraft’s four main tires burst when the TransAsia flight from southern Taiwan landed at Makung airport on Penghu Island at 10:36am.

None of the 72 passengers and crew on the flight were injured.

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) investigators originally suspected the accident was caused by mechanical failure or improper braking by the pilot.

They later found, however, that, in contravention of aviation regulations, the pilot activated the emergency brake during the flight to demonstrate emergency procedures to the copilot and forgot to release it before landing.

As a result, the tires locked upon landing and burst under pressure from the friction between the tires and the runway, the first time such an accident had occurred in Taiwan’s aviation history.

CAA Deputy Director-General Lin Hsin-teh (林信得) said the pilot and copilot may be grounded for between three months and one year, while the pilot may also face fines ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 for his negligence.

Lin said the CAA would complete an investigation within a month and come up with a report for a CAA committee on aviation safety, which will make a decision on further disciplinary action.

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