A Singapore 747 freighter appears to have damage, including multiple holes, on at least two landing gear doors, after landing in Brussels, Belgium.

The incident happened on Friday. The Singapore Airlines 747 had flown in from Dallas, Fort Worth (KDFW) in Texas, USA. It was performing cargo flight SQ-7951. It touched down after a normal flight on runway 25R in Brussels (EBBR) at 4:18pm (local). With neither the crew nor ATC noticing anything out of the ordinary, the plane vacated the runway and parked normally. Afterwards, crews found that the Singapore 747 had damage to its landing gear doors.

Incident: Singapore Boeing 747 Suffers FOD Damage?

Note the stone in the red circle in the right picture. Image source: AvHerald

Pictures of the damage show multiple holes in two gear doors of the Singapore 747. There is no confirmed cause for the incident. However at least one stone or piece of gravel is visible in one of the pictures. Unconfirmed reports stated that a stone-carrying truck crossed the runway earlier that day. There is construction work in progress, in the Brussels airport.

The 747 has four main gear bogies, one under each wing and two under the fuselage. The damage on the Singapore 747 is on the right body gear doors. The high speed of the aircraft during landing (or take-off) can kick up gravel upwards with enough force to cause such damage. There are no reports on damage to the tyres of the Singapore 747.

Incident: Singapore Boeing 747 Suffers FOD Damage?

A head-on look at the landing gear of a Singapore 747. The damage was on the right body gear doors.

The Singapore 747’s Foreign Object Damage

FOD (foreign object damage) is a very serious matter. We all remember what happened to the Air France Concorde flight 4590. The cause of this was a single piece of metal, from another aircraft, that pierced a tyre. Then the tyre fragments damaged the airframe, piercing a fuel tank. Ground crews make regular runway and taxiway inspections, to ensure that such things don’t happen. Unfortunately, incidents like this damage to the Singapore 747 show that they are still possible.

Incident: Singapore Boeing 747 Suffers FOD Damage?

There is so much energy going through those wheels during landing!

The aircraft that suffered the damage is Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412F(SCD), with the registration 9V-SFO. ‘SCD’ stands for ‘side cargo door’, an option on factory-made 747 freighters. The aircraft is fairly new for a 747-400, at 16 and a half years of age. Singapore Airlines is the only operator of the jet. As of this writing, the aircraft is still on the ground in Brussels, nearly 48 hours later. There is no information on whether the aircraft suffered more damage, inside the wheel-well.


Service History And Future…

This particular Singapore 747 has a bit of damage history. It had a ground collision with a 737-500 in the same airport in Brussels, in 2006. Also, 2019 was not a good year for cargo operators in general, but it was especially bad for 9V-SFO. The jet had two engine pod strikes in that year. One was in November in Sydney, Australia, the other in December, in Auckland, New Zealand.

There is silver lining, albeit a gruesome one. It probably won’t be hard for Singapore to replace the damaged doors on its aircraft. The number of retired 747s in the last few months, means that spare parts for the 747 cargo fleet won’t be in short supply.

Singapore Airlines retired the last of their own passenger 747s, in 2012. Let’s not forget that when the last passenger 747 retires, the most beautiful commercial jet in the sky, will be one flying cargo…