An Air India Dreamliner's main left landing gear had a fire scare while landing in Kolkata last night. The flight, AI 020 coming from New Delhi, reportedly had a heavy landing that may have led to a tyre burst and the metal landing gear scraping the runway causing the fire.
According to Times of India, the ground staff alerted the pilots about the fire in the landing gear between tyre 5 and 6 when it was taxiing to the terminal. The plane stopped at its parking bay where fire extinguishers were put into service.
Indian General of Civil Aviation started investigation. A source said "There are reports of flames in the rear tyres. The wheel hub made of metal would have scraped the runway possibly after tyre/s burst that led to the flame or sparks," said a source.
The regulator and the airline will investigate whether the pilots -- a female Boeing expat commander and an Indian co-pilot -- did a heavy landing causing the tyre burst and the fire or the tyre had got stuck and did not rotate leading to overheating post-touchdown. Incidentally, it was the first flight of the expat commander, said a Boeing line assistant.
A Boeing team which is already in India to carry out software and hardware upgrades on its snag-ridden Dreamliners will be asked to examine this aircraft's landing gear. AI is expecting its 12th Dreamliner by the weekend and the Boeing team has so far completed work on two planes of AI.
"These planes have essentially got software upgrades as we used to get a lot of false warnings all the time. We have asked Boeing to examine the issue of windshield cracks also. The latest crack which happened in Delhi last Saturday happened when the plane was parked in Delhi and was not even moving," said a source.
Incidentally, this is the second instance of fire on a Delhi-Kolkata flight in recent months. In July, an AI Dreamliner had reportedly seen a small fire breaking out inside the aircraft's rear oven, which fortunately did not spread outside and was doused using extinguishers. After this, the wiring on all ovens on Dreamliners were changed by the manufacturers.