Pilot’s artificial arm detaches during Belfast landing

A Flybe plane
A Flybe plane

By staff reporter

The pilot of a plane carrying 47 passengers had to regain control of the craft seconds before touching down at Belfast City Airport.

He lost control of the aircraft when his prosthetic arm became detached during landing, which happened during windy conditions on a Flybe flight from Birmingham.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report revealed the 46-year-old pilot checked that his prosthetic left arm was securely attached before landing. It added that the pilot then disconnected the autopilot and was flying the aircraft manually.

Shortly before landing on February 12 this year, the man’s “prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft”.

The pilot considered letting his co-pilot take over, but instead decide to move his right hand from the power levers on the yoke to regain control.

The report added: “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.”

None of the 47 passengers aboard were injured and the plane was not damaged.

Captain Ian Baston, Flybe’s director of flight operations and safety, said the company was proud to be an equal opportunities employer.

“This, in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities,” he said. “Where appropriate, and in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements, this does include pilots.

“The senior captain referred to in this report is one of Flybe’s most experienced and trusted pilots. The airline confirms that at no time was the safety of its passengers or crew compromised in any way, nor was the aircraft damaged.”

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