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787 suffers nose gear failure at VIP conversion site

A Boeing 787 undergoing conversion into a VIP configuration recently suffered a nose gear collapse at Grant County International airport in Moses Lake, Washington.

A photograph posted online last week shows an unmarked 787 with its nose on the tarmac outside a hangar labelled with the name Greenpoint Technologies, a company that provides VIP completions to large jets, including 787s.

The photograph's caption says the aircraft is at Grant County airport, where Greenpoint has a hangar.

Online observers suggest the aircraft's registration number is N507BJ, a 787-8 owned by Korean Air and, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer, operated by Korean for the Republic of Korea Air Force.

Fleets Analyzer confirms that aircraft sustained unspecified damage on 8 March.

Reached by FlightGlobal, Korean Air declines to specify registration numbers, but does confirm its association to the aircraft in the photograph.

"The aircraft is not an aircraft for the Korean government," the carrier says. "An anonymous client has asked for conversion, and this is why this aircraft is currently being converted."

"It is true that Korean Air [is] doing the conversion for an anonymous client, but because of the request from the client, we are unable to specify the [registration] number of the aircraft," Korean adds.

The airline declines to provide additional details.

"We're aware of the incident and have been in contact with the completion center Greenpoint," says Boeing in a statement. But it, too, declines further comment, referring questions to Greenpoint.

Greenpoint did not respond to an email or telephone call from FlightGlobal, and the Grant County airport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The incident has not sparked an investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

"The FAA has no role in this," the agency tells FlightGlobal. "It was a privately owned aircraft, not intended for flight, in a non-movement area. The aircraft was stationary when the gear collapsed."

"When the incident occurred, they were not preparing [the aircraft] for flight," the FAA adds.

Korean Air ordered 787-8 with registration N507BJ in October 2012 and received the aircraft in March 2015, but never placed it in service, according to Fleets Analyzer.

The aircraft has 25 seats, and it has been in storage at Grant County airport since 2015, Fleets Analyzer says.

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