An engine door panel fell off a Flybe passenger plane and damaged a wing as it was taking off from Southampton Airport, a new accident report has revealed.
The captain inspected the exterior of the Dash 8 aircraft before take-off, including checking that all the engine panel were secure before
Before departure on 22 April this year the captain had inspected the plane, including a check that the engine panels were secure.
A pilot sitting in a parked aircraft saw the panel fall from the plane as it left Southampton on 22 April 2010.
He immediately alerted air traffic control (ATC), which passed the information to the flight crew.
In its report, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said: “Other than the report from the ATC, the flight crew were not aware of anything unusual. The aircraft appeared to behave normally.”
ATC informed the crew that a panel and some other debris had been found on the airfield and the captain returned to Southampton where the aircraft landed without further incident. None of the 40 passengers was injured
The AAIB said no abnormalities were found by a de-icing crew who had worked on the aircraft before the flight. It concluded the door had not been properly secured.
The report said the panel had damaged the leading edge of the right wing of the plane.
The engine door panel was found in grass near the runway. Two of its latches were fully open and had dirt and grass in them, “indicating they were in the open position when the door impacted the ground”.
The report said Flybe had launched a safety campaign to highlight the importance of securing and checking engine access doors on all its aircraft.