Argentinean investigators have concluded that omission of a pin following a Boeing MD-11F nose-wheel replacement led the aircraft to shed the wheel upon landing at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza airport.
As the Lufthansa Cargo freighter (D-ALCM) landed on runway 29, the left-hand nose-wheel detached, bounced and repeatedly struck the fuselage, causing considerable damage to the aft underside and the centre landing-gear.
The inquiry by Argentinean investigation authority JIAAC says that the wheel had been replaced in the Senegalese capital Dakar on 9 November 2016 – the day before the incident – following detection of foreign-object damage.
After the replacement, the aircraft conducted five flights including the Curitiba-Buenos Aires service that ended with the wheel’s detachment.
Search parties, aided by unmanned aerial vehicles, took 10 days to find the missing wheel, which was eventually located in bushes 1,100m from the threshold of runway 29 and 180m left of the centreline.
Examination of the wheel assembly determined that a fixing pin on a separator, designed to stop it rotating, had not been installed. The inquiry attributes the incident to improper maintenance, and inadequate quality control during the work carried out at Dakar, pointing out that the absence of the pin can lead the anchor nut of the wheel to unscrew and detach.
Neither of the two crew members of the MD-11F was injured.