During a calibration flight, a Vietnam Airlines (VNA) plane had to land on its belly in Buon Ma Thuot City after its landing wheel system failed to open on Monday.
>> No abnormal signs from black box of plane with missing wheel >> Black box may explain cause of plane’s lost wheel >> VNA looking for lost wheel, seeking information from France >> VNA plane missing front wheel after landing The incident prompted the airport to close for over two hours to handle the incident, said Le Truong Giang, the VNA spokesperson. When in the airspace of Buon Ma Thuot, the capital city of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, on Monday afternoon, the VFC-750 plane that departed from Da Lat could not open its landing wheel system. The pilot of the plane, which is owned by Vietnam Air Service Company (Vasco), a VNA subsidiary, informed the local air traffic control station that a belly landing was necessary. The airport mobilized provincial police, a fire brigade, and rescuers to be ready to cope with any problems that might occur during the landing. With assistance from the airport’s technical department, the aircraft safely landed at 4:20 pm. In order to handle the incident, the airport suspended its operation for over two hours. There were nine people on board at the time, including three pilots, a Vasco flight operator, and five officials from Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation. All of them sustained no injury from the belly landing. The airport resumed normal operation at about 7 pm. The aircraft, a King Air 200, with registration code VN-B594, was manufactured in 1989. Its last maintenance check-up was on August 29, 2013 at Vasco. This plane is usually used for calibration, search and rescue, to photograph terrains, and for ecological surveys. The cause of the incident is being investigated by concerned agencies, a VNA representative said.A similar incident occurred with another VNA aircraft last month, when an ATR-72 plane was found without one of its two front landing-wheels after it landed in Da Nang Airport on October 21, 2013. After all 41 passengers and the crew had left the aircraft, airport technicians carried out a routine examination and found that it had lost one of its two front wheels. Further examination showed that the aircraft’s front shaft had been broken at one side, causing the loss of the wheel.