UPDATE: November 3, 2011
Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport reopened yesterday evening after crews moved off the intersection of its two runways the LOT Boeing 767-300ER that landed with all its landing gear retracted on Tuesday. LOT Polish Airlines began departures at 7:50 p.m., with a flight to Brussels. The airline said it expected to operate a full schedule today.
Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport remained closed Wednesday morning following the full gear-up landing executed by the crew of a LOT Boeing 767-300 from Newark, N.J. yesterday. None of the 220 passengers and 11 crewmembers suffered injuries as a result of belly landing, the first recorded by a 767 in which both main and front landing gear failed to extend.
In a statement, LOT attributed the incident to a central hydraulic system failure. After pilots alerted controllers of the situation, airport authorities put into place standard procedures for emergency landings at the airport, the airline added. Flight 012 circled for about an hour to burn off fuel while Polish Air Force F-16s scrambled to confirm the failure of the gear to extend.
After the 767 touched down at about 2:45 p.m., skidded down the runway amid sparks and small fires and came to rest, firefighters dowsed the airplane with fire retardant as passengers evacuated down the airplane’s emergency slides. LOT said it dispatched a support team and had psychologists on hand to meet the passengers after busing them to the terminal.
The airline added that it had canceled all departures due to leave Warsaw before 8 p.m. today.
In a statement e-mailed to AIN, Boeing said it stood ready to assist investigators and that it had already sent a team to the scene to help with technical matters. “Landings with the gear up are very rare,” it added. “During airplane certification, we evaluate a variety of non-normal landing configurations (e.g., one gear down, no gear down) through analysis to demonstrate that the airplane can safely withstand that emergency landing configuration, as we saw with this event. These evaluations are part of the certification requirements for emergency landings that apply to all large-transport commercial airplanes. We are not aware of any previous 767 landings with all gear up, and we will be working very closely with our customer and the authorities to understand this event.”