There are a lot of things that can cause trouble when you’re dealing with a massive flying machine loaded with dozens of people and carrying hundreds of gallons of highly explosive fuel. Any little distraction, even a seat adjustment, can cause chaos and disruption and put lives at risk. When that disruption happens to the pilot and concerns one of the very arms that control the plane, it’s a wonder lives weren’t lost. A Flybe flight from Birmingham, England, to Belfast, Northern Ireland, nearly crashed after the pilot’s prosthetic arm came loose.
The 46-year-old pilot had attached his artificial limb to the steering wheel before takeoff, and apparently it had stayed on for the flight without incident. However, while performing a move on the yoke just before landing, the limb became detached from the rest of him (or perhaps the wheel) and he had to make a one-handed landing in high winds. The plane bounced hard, but landed safely. At least it wasn’t an escaped crocodile, right?
“The senior captain referred to in this report is one of Flybe’s most experienced and trusted pilots. The airline confirms that at no time was the safety of its passengers or crew compromised in any way, nor was the aircraft damaged,” said Flybe’s Ian Baston to the Press Association. “Following the incident, Flybe immediately undertook a detailed internal investigation from which it determined a series of additional fail-safe safety checks. These were rigorously tested and instigated immediately to ensure that this type of incident could not happen again.”
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