An aircraft of Biman carrying 71 passengers and crew narrowly escaped an accident yesterday after one of its wheels fell off during take off from Saidpur Airport yesterday.
The pilots managed to fly the Bombardier Dash-8 to Dhaka and land the plane at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport going easy on the right undercarriage, which had one of its two wheels missing.
The short-haul turboprop of the national flag carrier lost wheel number four during take off around 9:30am, said Shakil Meraj, general manager, public relation, Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
On information from the air traffic control (ATC) of Saidpur Airport, Captain Atique, who was at the helm of the plane, issued a Mayday call and asked the air traffic control at Dhaka to prepare for an emergency landing, he added.
The plane made several low passes over Dhaka airport so that the ATC tower officials could see and be sure that a wheel was actually missing.
Talking to The Daily Star, several officials of Biman and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh who were present at the airport then, said Captain Atique asked passengers to tighten their seatbelts and hold on to the seats in front of them.
To avoid the spread of panic, the pilot just informed passengers that they might have a bumpy landing, said Capt Salahuddin M Rahmatullah, senior consultant, aircraft accident and investigation group of CAAB.
After consulting with the airline's senior pilots over the radio, the pilot used the “left-wing down” technique to ensure that the left landing gear touched down first and the right landing gear touched down gently.
As it touched down, it veered to the left and the captain had to apply “significant amount of right rudder” to hold the aircraft steady, said Capt Salahuddin.
He then used the emergency brake to bring the aircraft to a halt and the passengers were able to disembark through the front left door.
Capt Salahuddin said had the pilot lost control while landing, the accident could have been a major one.
Tofail Ahmed, a school teacher of Saidpur Cantonment High School who was on board, said he actually did not feel any bump during landing. He highly praised the pilot for safely landing the plane.
Captain Atique could not be reached for comments.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday formed a four-member committee to investigate the reason behind the incident, Shakil Meraj said.
Led by Captain Enam, deputy chief of flight safety of Biman, the probe body was asked to submit its report within 15 days.