Singapore Airlines A380 Makes Hard Landing After Nose Wheel Glitch

Singapore Airlines flight AQ406 experienced a hydraulic issue with its nose gear yesterday, causing a very hard landing and an emergency response from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. All 228 passengers disembarked safely, but the plane underwent around 17 hours of repairs before it could make the return trip.

A Singapore Airlines A380 suffered a heavy landing. Photo: Wikimedia

A Singapore Airlines flight traveling from Singapore to Delhi had a hard landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport yesterday. The A380 carrying 228 passengers experienced a problem with the nose gear, causing the landing to be unusually rough.

Later inspection showed there to be a problem with the hydraulics system, which could have meant the wheel didn’t descent at all. However, the plane managed to land safely and disembark passengers as normal, although it had to be towed to the gate.

Bid drama for the ‘world’s best airline’; here are all the details:

What happened?

Flight SQ406 was traveling from Singapore to Delhi on the 8th May, leaving SIN at just after 5pm. The Singapore Airlines A380 had 228 passengers on board.

Flight path SQ406
The aircraft was travelling from Singapore to Delhi. Image: FlightRadar24

As the flight was approaching Delhi airport when the crew realised there was a problem. Radioing ahead at around 8pm, they told the control tower at Indira Gandhi International Airport that here was a ‘glitch’ with the nose wheel.

Singapore airlines landing gear
There was a problem with the nose landing gear. Photo: Wikimedia

The airport duly cleared the runway and prepared for the aircraft to make an emergency landing.  According to witness accounts, passengers told to prepare for a ‘hard landing’.

The airport responded with fire tenders and a medical team on standby to tackle any emergency conditions that any have arisen. Thankfully the flight landed safely at around 8:20pm. However, it couldn’t travel to the gate under its own steam and had to be towed to safety.

As a result of the slow movement of the plane, the runway remained closed for around 18 minutes. This impacted slightly on other arriving and departing flights, although no major problems have been reported.

A hard landing

According to reports, the landing was somewhat hard due to the issue with the front wheel.

A passenger on the flight who didn’t want to be named talked to the Hindustan Times about their experience. They said:

“We were all set to land, but the flight started to ascend… We were all scared. The flight made another attempt to land and did so with a jerk. We were asked to be prepare for a hard landing. The aircraft stopped in the middle of the runway and had to be towed away,”

A glitch in the wheel

Details on the exact problem with the wheel are sketchy to say the least. However, it appears the crew detected an issue with the hydraulic system, which is responsible for getting the wheel out of the fuselage prior to landing.

ATC officials told the Hindustan Times that,

“Since the wheel of the aircraft had come out in time, there was not much impact on flights getting delayed.”

So, it sounds like the crew were concerned that the wheel would not drop down when activated. This could have been an incredibly difficult landing, particularly on a plane the size of the A380. If passengers thought they had a bumpy ride with the wheel obviously not functioning as it should, imagine how it could have felt if the wheel did not deploy at all?

MSN003 in its heyday
A plane as big as an A380 would struggle to land with no nose gear. Photo: Wikimedia

However, Singapore Airlines have remained upbeat about the situation, assuring the safety of all on board at all times. The airline told CNA Singapore that,

“The crew did not declare an emergency, and we would like to reiterate that at no point were any of the passengers or crew on board in any danger,”

Since landing, the aircraft has been attended to by technical teams. The airline confirmed to the Straits Times that it was, indeed, a hydraulics issue, saying that:

“Upon inspection, there were indications of a hydraulic leak in the nose landing gear area,”

Passengers expecting to fly to Singapore on the return flight, SQ403, were delayed for more than 17 hours while the aircraft was being repaired. Accommodation and other assistance have been provided by the airline. The A380 is shown on Flight Radar 24 to have taken off finally at 15:26 today (9th May), 17 and a half hours later than scheduled.