Maintenance work blamed for El Al 777 landing gear failure

Tel Aviv
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Israeli investigators have blamed overhaul work performed in Singapore for the 23 May "severe structural failure" of the main landing gear on a Boeing 777 operated by El Al.

A 20 June statement from Israeli accident investigators said they were focusing on the MRO work as the likely cause of the incident.

The latest report, produced by Yitzhak Raz, the Israeli ministry of transport's chief accident investigator, said that laboratory tests prove that the failure followed surface grinding of components in the MRO centre.

It recommends that the US Federal Aviation Agency issues a warning on similar processing of the metal involved.

Raz said that the data collected so far cannot rule out similar failures being produced by other MRO operations. Non-destructive tests on landing gear overhauled in the same MRO centre in Singapore and in other facilities over the last two years are therefore recommended.

The aircraft, with 279 passengers, departed Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport for Newark, New Jersey, on 23 May but turned back after the left main gear failed to retract. The aircraft's crew dumped fuel over the Mediterranean and an Israeli Defence Force Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter conducted an air-to-air inspection of the landing gear before the airliner eventually landed safely.