This accident happened on Sunday the 14th of May this year. It involved flight CV-6857, a service that Cargolux performs once a week. The flight departed from the company’s base at Luxembourg Findel Airport (ELLX). Its destination was Chicago O’Hare International (KORD) in the United States.
The flight departed with only a nine-minute delay, using runway 06 at Luxemburg. But only three minutes into the flight, the aircraft stopped its climb, leveling off at 4,000 feet. It appears that the Cargolux crew could not retract the landing gear of their 747.
Cargolux 747 Right Main Gear Bogie Separation
The crew entered a hold, as they worked through their checklists. Unable to fix the landing gear issue of their 747, the Cargolux crew started a climb to FL100, in order to dump fuel. At this point, they also declared an emergency. The 747 spent around 25 minutes at that flight level before the crew began their descent back toward Luxemburg.
The crew made an approach back to runway 06. At this time, we don’t know if their aircraft was still overweight when it touched down. In any case, a couple of videos show that almost immediately after touching down, one of the landing gear bogies of the Cargolux 747 began to smoke.
Unlike smaller aircraft, the 747 has four main landing gear legs, with a four-wheel bogie each. The two inner legs directly support the fuselage, while the outer ones are attached to the wings. This Cargolux 747 had an issue with its right body (i.e. inner) landing gear.
Another video angle shows the separation of the inner main gear leg seconds after touchdown. Luxemburg Airport is still closed for all traffic due to runway inspection and repair. @DanteZaccaria pic.twitter.com/IAEys3N1CW
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) May 14, 2023
The loose gear bogie separated completely, causing damage to the underside of the aircraft. It then started bouncing along the ground, finally coming to a rest close to the main Cargolux hangar. The Cargolux crew stopped their aircraft on the runway. It stayed there for several hours, closing the airport.
Some REALLY Interesting History
According to a statement from Cargolux, this 747 gear bogie didn’t cause any injuries to those in or around the aircraft. A different Cargolux 747-400 performed the flight to Chicago, departing over 12 hours after the accident aircraft.
The damaged jet is a 24-year-old 747-400F, with registration LX-OCV. It has been part of the Cargolux group since it first entered service in June 1999.
In an interesting twist, the Cargolux 747 that had this gear failure was previously involved in another gear-related event. Back in January 2010, this aircraft was landing on runway 24, also in Luxemburg. This was a low-visibility CAT-III approach. The crew suddenly saw a yellow van on the runway at the touchdown zone, moments before their landing.
Unable to react in time, they continued with their landing. As it turns out, the aircraft damaged the roof of a service van. And intriguingly, the impact was between the van and the same right body gear that separated last Sunday. But back in 2010, the investigation concluded that the only damage to the aircraft was a tire.
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