Pilot's Artificial Arm Fell Off While Landing a Plane in Northern Ireland

| by Lisa Fogarty

While attempting to land a plane in Northern Ireland, a pilot for Flybe airlines lost control of the aircraft because his prosthetic arm fell off, reports Yahoo news.

The unnamed pilot was transporting 47 passengers to Belfast City Airport from Birmingham on February 12 when his artificial forearm reportedly became loose and detached from a customized yoke clamp. The plane landed heavily and with a bounce, but no injuries were reported, according to BBC News.

The 46-year-old senior pilot had turned off the autopilot function shortly before landing and was manually flying the Dash 8 aircraft into Belfast, reports the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. He says he checked to make sure his left arm was properly attached to the clamp. When he realized his prosthetic limb had become detached, he says he thought about turning over control to his co-pilot, but that he realized the best course of action – and the safest – would be to move his right hand from the power lever to the yoke to stabilize the aircraft.

“He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily,” reads the report issued by the AAIB.

The pilot vowed to be more careful on future flights and that he would caution co-pilots about being ready to take over should it occur again.

In a statement, Flybe stood by the senior captain and called him one of its “most experienced and trusted pilots.”

Captain Ian Baston, Flybe’s director of flight operations and safety, said the airline is an equal opportunities employer and “in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities.”

Sources: Yahoo News, BBC News

Photo Credit: brianac37/Flickr, Peter Muhly/AFP