A Turkish Airlines flight was traveling from Istanbul to Hanover last week when it suffered a hard landing. The A321neo safely taxied to the apron, and no injuries to passengers or crew were reported. However, the plane has so far been unable to fly out of Hannover, despite two scheduled trips for repairs.
A hard landing
A Turkish Airlines A321neo was performing flight TK-1553 from Istanbul in Turkey to Hanover in Germany last Thursday, March 13th. The Airbus, registration TC-LSB, was a two-year-old A321neo, one of 25 operated by the airline.
The service took off on time, at just after 09:00 local time. Following a flight of around three and a half hours, the aircraft was on approach to Hanover just after 10:30 local time. The Airbus landed successfully on runway 27R, but touched down very hard.
An observer on the ground told the Aviation Herald that,
“A THY TK-1553 A321NEO TC-LSB was approaching from Istanbul on the 27R in EDDV. In addition, strong gusts of wind between 30 and 40 knots prevailed at the time. Shortly before touchdown, the aircraft rapidly lost altitude so that it finally hit the runway hard.”
The person further said passengers had complained of experiencing a ‘horror landing.’ Other witnesses report seeing an excessive amount of smoke on touchdown and that there were strong gusting winds at the airport at the time.
Despite the landing, the aircraft proceeded to roll out without issue, and taxied safely to the gate. No injuries were reported. However, the plane was damaged and was unable to complete its return flight. Now, according to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft appears to be stranded in Hanover.
Two ferry flights canceled
The Aviation Herald reports that the aircraft was scheduled to undertake a ‘gear down’ ferry flight to Hamburg yesterday, March 16th. Hamburg is the home of Lufthansa Technik and would have been for the purposes of repairs being made. A team of Turkish Airlines maintenance engineers had arrived in Hanover on Monday to ferry the aircraft.
Gear down flights are unusual, in that they increase drag, fuel burn and limit the speed of the flight. It requires special clearance with local ATC, due to the aircraft’s reduced altitude and speed, and is usually only undertaken in circumstances that absolutely require it. This would suggest that the landing gear of the A321neo was damaged during the incident.
However, yesterday’s ferry flight was canceled. The same trip was again planned for today, but again got canceled. At the time of publication, the aircraft remains on the ground in Hanover. The Aviation Herald reports that there is substantial damage to the landing gear as well as to the flaps.
While hard landings are not uncommon, it’s unusual for aircraft to be damaged in the process. However, it does happen from time to time, and the damage can sometimes be significant.
Hard landing & extensive damage to Center fuselage- West Atlantic Boeing 737-400 freighter [G-JMCY] suffered a hard landing at Exeter airport ,EN (UK) at 02:34Z.
— FL360aero (@fl360aero) January 19, 2021
For example, a West Atlantic cargo plane suffered extensive damage after a hard landing in Exeter, UK, back in January, delaying the mail for hundreds of locals for days. Last year, a British Airways A350 landed hard in Tel Aviv and was out of action for a few days, and last August, a Delta 757 ended up with a buckled fuselage after a hard landing in Portugal.
Hopefully, Turkish can find a way to get this aircraft to Hamburg or to enact repairs in Hanover. Either way, it will miss the capacity of this efficient A321neo, as all of its fleet are in service right now.