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14th Aug 2014

Pilot Loses Control As Prosthetic Arm Becomes Detached During Landing

None of the 47 passengers on-board the aircraft were hurt during the landing.

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A pilot revealed how he lost control when flying a plane after his artificial arm detached while landing a flight in Belfast.

The 46-year old pilot safely landed the Flybe plane from Birmingham with his right hand after dark, windy conditions prevented him from slowing down or handing over the steering of the aircraft.

Although a little bumpy, the landing in Belfast’s City airport was safe, and none of the 47 passenger on-board the aircraft were hurt or airplane damaged.

Speaking to The Independent, Captain Ian Baston, Flybe’s director of flight operations and safety, said it was an equal opportunities employer and

“… in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities. The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority.”

According to the safety report filed after the incident, the pilot checked his artificial limb was properly attached prior to starting his descent, but just before touchdown the pilot realised the yoke clamp, used to keep a plane level when auto-pilot is off, was no longer connected to his prosthetic and “depriving him of control of the aircraft”.

As there was too little time to safely allow his co-pilot to take over, the experienced pilot moved his right-hand from the power lever over to the yoke, regaining control of the aircraft. The co-pilot then reduced speed and brought the aircraft to a safe stop.

The report documents that the pilot has promised to be more careful checking the latching device on his prosthetic limb, as well as briefing co-pilots in the possibility of a similar event.

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