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Tired Mechanics Repaired Wrong Plane, Caused Emergency Landing

A British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing because fatigued maintenance workers made needed repairs on the wrong aircraft.

Findings published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) Wednesday revealed a troubling cause behind the May 24, 2013 emergency landing of British Airways Flight 762 with service from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Oslo Airport (OSL). According to the report, the Airbus A319 suffered a mechanical failure that was a direct result of technicians making critical repairs to wrong aircraft.

BA 762, operated on the aircraft still in need of engine repairs, was forced to return to LHR when smoke began to fill the cabin shortly after takeoff. Although no injuries were reported, passengers had to use emergency slides to quickly evacuate the plane upon landing.

The AAIB report explains that when overnight technicians returned from a lunch break, they accidentally began performing the A319’s critical repairs on the wrong aircraft, which was located nearby and only in the facility for routine maintenance. According to the report, this allowed the A319 that needed engine repairs to return to service in less-than-airworthy condition, an error that resulted in the serious mechanical failure that occurred shortly after the aircraft departed for OSL.

The AAIB report notes that the technicians’ failure to work on the correct aircraft was just one in a string of mistakes and policy problems that led to the near disaster on British Airways Flight 762. Investigators point to the technicians’ excessive work hours and the flight crew’s failure to notice an obviously leaky engine prior to takeoff as contributing factors in this dangerous incident.

[Photo: David Gallagher via Twitter]


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July 17, 2015

not everything is noticeable on the taxiway with engines at idle. sometimes they need to be at power to make things fail. the article doesn't tell us what was "leaky". fuel? engine oil? hydraulic oil? pneumatic air? maybe an internal seal causing oil to contaminate the pneumatic air?

diver858 July 17, 2015

"...the flight crew’s failure to notice an obviously leaky engine prior to takeoff..." is the more troubling issue to me - absolutely no excuse, should be cause for disciplinary action, termination.