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A damaged wheel on a Ryanair jet burst into flames after landing on the runway at Manchester Airport, air accident investigators have confirmed.
The fire broke out when the Boeing 737-8AS was taxiing into Terminal Three with 167 passengers onboard, Manchester Evening News reports.
No one was injured and the plane was not evacuated but the Air Accident Investigations Branch has described it as a ‘serious incident’. A report says that after landing, crew assumed the plane had a flat tyre, as it required a higher thrust than normal to maintain the usual taxi speed.
However, as the aircraft approached the stand the crew heard a radio transmission requesting the fire service attend an aircraft with ‘brakes on fire’. “Realising that the call was about [their plane] the crew immediately completed the parking procedure and shut down the engines,” the report states.
“A ‘standby’ call was made to the cabin crew and the situation was monitored. The fire service arrived and extinguished the fire, which had broken out around the left main landing gear wheels. As the fire was quickly extinguished, the flight crew considered that an emergency evacuation was unnecessary and, therefore, the passengers disembarked normally.”
The investigation found the fire was caused by a ‘fatigue crack’ in the wheel. That caused brake fluid to leak which then burst into flames when it came into contact with heat caused by the ‘misaligned’ wheel.
A ‘previous occurrence of [a] similar hub failure’ found within the airline’s fleet during an incident in Spain is being investigated by Spanish authorities, the report says. No further information about this second incident was given.
Following the fire, which took place at 12.45am on March 17, 2022, new safety measures have been introduced, the report says.
The wheel manufacturer has developed an ultrasonic inspection to check for cracks in the wheel hub and Ryanair has introduced this inspection on its fleet of Boeing 737-8AS aircraft.
In a statement, Ryanair said: “Ryanair fully participated in this AAIB investigation and we welcome the report in which there are no safety recommendations for Ryanair.”
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