THREE aircraft amazingly missed a ladder which had fallen off the back of a maintenance truck in the touch down zone at Birmingham Airport.
Air investigators examining the incident, which they classified as ‘serious’ found the 7ft step ladder, which had been secured to the truck by a bungee cord, had lain on the runway for 37 minutes before being seen and removed.
The incident happened on the evening of September 8, 2020, with the first aircraft landing at 10.25pm.
Investigators found two service engineers had been working on the approach lights to the runway, Runway 33.
In the back of the truck was the step ladder they’d been using, held on by a bungee cord.
In their report, investigators said: “As they drove through the touch down zone, the ladder came out of the vehicle and came to rest just to the right of the runway centreline.
“Three aircraft subsequently landed on Runway 33.”
The first two aircraft reported they might have seen something on the runway during landing but could not be certain it was
not paint markings.
Having been informed of the reports of the two preceding aircraft, the third aircraft elected to land, following which the flight crew notified air traffic control that they had seen a ladder on the runway.
The runway was then closed for 19 minutes while the ladder was retrieved and a search made for anything else that might have come loose and fallen.
The investigation concluded ‘the means of securing the ladder in the rear of the open back vehicle using a bungee was not suitable.
‘More suitable securing equipment was available although not readily to hand’.
The airport has also completed an investigation and has taken a number of safety actions intended to prevent re-occurrence.