THE CAPTAIN of a passenger plane carrying 47 passengers from Birmingham to Belfast lost control of the aircraft when his false arm came off the controls as he was coming in to land.
An air accident report revealed his artificial limb became detached as the Flybe Dash 8 aircraft was approaching Belfast City Airport in gusty conditions on February 12 this year.
The 46-year-old pilot had checked his prosthetic arm was securely attached shortly before the incident.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said the captain had disconnected the autopilot and was flying the aircraft manually.
It added that as the landing process began ‘his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft’.
The captain considered getting the co-pilot to take control but concluded that, given the time available and the challenging conditions, his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers on to the yoke to regain control.
The report went on: “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.”
No-one was hurt and the plane was not damaged in the incident.
The AAIB reported that the captain had said that in future he would be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis as he may have dislodged the latching mechanism.
He also said he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event and that they should be ready to take control at any time.