Date: November 5th, 1997
Type: Airbus 340
Registration: -
Operator: Virgin Atlantic
Where: London-Heathrow, UK
Report No.: Not Available
Report Date: -
Pages: -

This is not an accident investigation report.

November 5, 1997 - Jet Makes London Emergency Landing LONDON , England- A Virgin Atlantic plane made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport today after part of its landing gear locked up following a flight from Los Angeles. Some passengers suffered minor injuries.

The Virgin Atlantic Airbus 340, Flight VS024, was forced to land with only its right landing gear in position, Virgin spokesman Ian De Sousa said. He said the pilot was unable to get the plane's left landing gear to descend.

``It went down the runway, sparks were flying, and it slid off towards the end of the runway, virtually out of sight,'' witness John Asher told Independent Television News. The jet came to a stop on the runway, where all 98 passengers and 16 crew members were quickly evacuated with emergency landing slides.

``A number of passengers suffered minor injuries during the evacuation. Four of those taken to a local hospital,'' said airport spokesman Daryl Bartlet. ``Nobody was seriously injured.''

Both Asher and Virgin praised the pilot's work. ``He held it off the ground as long as he could, I guess, to try and reduce speed to the minimum, and as it did eventually touch down, it was obviously quite one-sided,'' Asher said. Virgin spokesman Ian De Sousa called it ``a textbook emergency landing.''

One of Heathrow's two runways was closed, causing delays to other airlines at London's top airport. British Airways, which operates the most flights at Heathrow, had to divert 11 flights to London's Gatwick and Stansted airports, or to Birmingham. It also canceled six departures from Heathrow.

A loose brake rod in the landing gear of an Airbus jet appears to have been behind an emergency landing by a Virgin Atlantic airliner, an industry source said on Thursday. Flights were disrupted on Thursday morning at London's Heathrow airport after an Airbus A340 wide-body flown by Virgin made an emergency landing on Wednesday night after its left-hand landing gear failed to deploy.Preliminary inspection showed that holding nuts on the brake rod seemed to have come off, allowing it to swing loose and impede the extension of the landing gear, the source said.

Experts from Airbus Industrie and Anglo-French company Messier-Dowty , which makes the A340 landing gear, were examining the equipment, as part of the official accident investigation led by Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the source said. Virgin's arch rival British Airways Plc said on Thursday it had cancelled around 20 flights out of Heathrow airport due to the disruption caused by the emergency landing.

The cancellations, mainly affecting short-haul flights to other UK cities and continental Europe, resulted from crews and aircraft being in the wrong place, a BA spokeswoman said. Six of the 114 people on board the Virgin flight were taken to hospital but none was seriously hurt after the pilot made what was hailed as a ``text book emergency landing.''