AirBridgeCargo Boeing 747-8F Returns To Frankfurt With Gear Warning

On August 26th, a Boeing 747-8F operated by AirBridgeCargo had to stop its climb out of Frankfurt after the crew received a “GEAR TILT” indication for the jet’s left main gear bogie. Responding to this, the crew stopped the aircraft’s climb at about 7,000 feet and returned for a safe landing.

Air bridge cargo 747-8
AirBridgeCargo has 13 Boeing 747-8 freighters in its fleet. Photo: AirBridgeCargo

Incident details

According to The Aviation Herald, the AirBridgeCargo Boeing 747-8F was operating flight RU382 from Frankfurt (FRA) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) when the incident occurred.

Operated by two crew, the jumbo jet took off for Moscow at 06:20. However, just seven minutes into the aircraft’s take-off and climb, a “GEAR TILT” indication came on for its left main gear bogie. As a result, the crew circled back and returned to Frankfurt, performing a safe landing on runway 25C at approximately 06:55 local time.

Flight path RU-382
The path of flight RU382, returning to Frankfurt after the gear tilt warning. Photo:

The Boeing 747-8F had Bermudan registration VP-BBP and is four and a half years old, having been delivered to AirBridgeCargo in April of 2017. This jet came directly from Boeing and has been operated by the Russian cargo operator ever since. The jet has MSN 63695 and Line Number 1540.

Problems with VP-BBP?

Interestingly, data from indicates that VP-BBP had attempted the same flight the day before.

Indeed, we can see from the aircraft’s flight history that on August 25th, the 747-8F had also intended to fly to Moscow but diverted back to Frankfurt. In this case, the jumbo jet stopped its climb about eight minutes after take-off, at approximately 10,000 feet.

After the incident on August 26th, the aircraft remained on the ground in Frankfurt for just under 24 hours before taking off yet again. However, this time around, the jet headed to Leipzig, Germany instead.

While we haven’t confirmed the official reason for this, we believe that VP-BBP is possibly undergoing more serious maintenance and/or repair at Volga-Dnepr Technics, which has an 8,500 square meter hangar at Leipzig airport (LEJ).

Air bridge cargo 747-8
The incident aircraft was four and a half years old. Photo: AirBridgeCargo

This explanation would work when considering that AirBridgeCargo is a subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group. With two back-to-back attempts to fly to Moscow and a subsequent flight to an airport housing a company-owned repair facility, it’s hard to think of a better reason. Nonetheless, Simple Flying has contacted AirBridgeCargo looking for more information.

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What is a gear tilt indication?

For any large commercial aircraft, the landing gear must be in a certain position if it is to be properly retracted into the wheel bay of the fuselage. According to the website B747 Classic, the main landing gear trucks of the Boeing 747 must “be in a tilted and centered position before retracting the landing gear.” 

Indeed, the aircraft has multiple landing gear position sensors indicating the following positions and statuses:

  • Gear down and locked
  • Gear up and locked
  • Gear tilted
  • Gear doors closed

Have you ever spotted an AirBridgeCargo aircraft yourself? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment.