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THE WARSAW MIRACLE

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On the first of November, 2011, LOT Airlines Flight LO-16 a Boeing 767-300ER (SP-LPC) took off from Newark Liberty International Airport, at 12:20am Eastern Daylight Time, starting what was expected to be an 8-hour flight. Captain Tadeusz Wrona and First Officer Jerzy Szwarc at the controls, were 220 passengers and 11 crew aboard.

Flight 16 was scheduled from Newark, New Jersey to Warsaw, Poland. Thirty minutes after taking of from Newark, the 767 experienced the failure of the center hydraulic system. During the eight-hour flight, the crew coordinated with LOT Airlines maintenance to troubleshoot the hydraulic fault. Back up systems on the 767 did not make the loss of the center hydraulic system a safety of flight issue.

On final for runway 33 to Warsaw Chopin Airport, the crew try to extend the landing gear which didn’t move. At 3000 feet Captain Wrona aborted the landing and was directed to a holding pattern. For 80 minutes Flight 16 orbited the holding panel and conducted troubleshooting on the gear failure.

Captain Tadeusz Wrona

During the troubleshooting checklist the gear failed to manually extend. Captain Wrona was committed to a belly up, no gear landing. In complete control, the aircraft touched down at 140 knot airspeed. It skidded along the runway using the two engines as skids and the crew controlling the aircraft with the rudder.

The aircraft came to a stop and all passengers and crew egressed safely with minor injuries. A fuel fire on the right wing was quickly extinguished by the fire department while the egress was in progress.

The Investigation revealed the source of the hydraulic failure to be a leak from a damaged hose in the right main landing gear. The manual gear extension is initiated by an electrical switch releasing the gear locks which normally the gravity falls into a locked condition. An overarching battery bus circuit-breaker which protects several systems including the alternate landing-gear extension motor tripped. The circuit breaker is design to protect various aircraft systems including the manual gear extension.

Circuit breaker tripped.

ASN REPORT

PKBWL FINAL REPORT

 


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