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Ethiopian Airlines nose gear collapse under investigation

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Mar 05, 2016

A collapse of the nose gear on a Boeing B787 Dreamliner on pushback from the gate in Addis Ababa is now the subject of an investigation by the Ethiopian aviation regulators.

About to leave for flight ET702 to Rome last night, the aircraft then fell on its hull causing substantial damage to the aircraft. One flight attendant was injured.

Passengers were reportedly evacuated from the aircraft using stairs. The aircraft, named Mt. Nyala, is registered as ET-ASH with manufacturer's serial number 38754/283. It first took to the air in a pre-delivery test flight on 13, 2015 before being delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on April 1 of last year.

In service for just 11 months, the plane has reportedly undergone regular maintenance as prescribed by Boeing, suggesting that the nose gear collapse might have been a result of human error rather than a technical fault. Suggestions are circulating that the removal of nose gear pins may have been responsible, but only the unfolding investigation will eventually give a cause and will prescribe remedies.

Nose gear collapses on the ground are not common, and this is the first reported case for a Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner.

Hull repairs on the aircraft made of composite materials are equally novel, although Ethiopian Airlines has some experience with this task after restoring another B787 ET-AOP to service after a faulty beacon caused a brief fire which burned through the hull in London July 12, 2013.

Ethiopian Airlines nose gear collapse under investigation

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