Four Tyres Blown On Landing
On the 6th of October 2022, Turkish Airways flight TK-2256 offered the regularly scheduled service from the Turkish city of Istanbul to Antakya. The flight departed Istanbul slightly late, at 01:43 local time. The aircraft was a Boeing 737-800 registered in Turkey as TC-JVN.
There were six crew and 104 passengers on board for the 95-minute flight.
Hatay Airport at Antakya is located in the lakebed of Lake Amik. The draining of Lake Amik started in 1940, in a project to reclaim land for growing cotton and in hopes of eliminating malaria from the region. The lake was not fully drained until the 1970s. In 2007, Hatay Airport was built in the centre of the lakebed. Turkish Airlines provides regular flights to Antakya from Istanbul and seasonal flights from Frankfurt. The runway configuration is 22/04 asphalt runway of 3,045 metres (9,990 feet).
That evening, flight TK-2256 was uneventful as they approached runway 04. The aircraft touched down at 02:55, right on schedule despite the delayed start.
However, as the Boeing 737 rolled down the runway, all four main-gear tyres burst and caught fire.
The aircraft came to a halt (I’m not sure it had much choice) about 2,000 metres (6560 feet) down the runway, which is within the realms of a normal landing for the 737-800. This would imply that the wheels skidded or locked up happened after the initial touchdown.
The flight crew called ATC immediately and the emergency services quickly responded.
Depending on your email client or browser, you may need to click through to view the videos hosted on Twitter and Instagram.
A video from those moments. pic.twitter.com/RvLmW5ktOW
— Fusa Aviation (@FusaAviation) October 6, 2022
The Aviation Herald entry on this event is sparse but claims that AVHerald has inside information that the aircraft had been dispatched with the Anti-Skid System inoperative.
The Boeing Anti-Skid System is there to provide protection to the main gear wheels in the instance that they are turning too slowly or are locked up completely. The three primary components of the system are wheel speed sensors, control valves and a control box.
There are a few causes of wheel damage or wheels bursting during landing which the Anti-Skid System mitigates. One is the touchdown protection when the brakes are applied in the air before landing. There is also locked wheel protection, in which the sensors show that the wheels are not all turning at the same speed. But the relevant issue here is the anti-skid/hydroplaning protection.
The wheel speed sensor should correspond to the aircraft’s ground speed (taken from the ADIRU). If the wheel speed is too slow, then the system releases the brake on that wheel to allow the wheel speed to increase. This prevents the wheel from skidding, protecting the tyres from the damaged caused by early and excessive braking.
You can see where I’m going with this.
The Minimum Equipment List (MEL) lists the equipment that the aircraft is not required have onboard. I always find the name a little bit confusing. Effectively, instruments and equipment which are not essential to the safety of the flight can be listed on the MEL and the captain can thus take the decision to continue the flight without the listed equipment.
I recommend this video on The Boeing 737 Technical Channel. It offers an overview of the anti-skid system on the 737-800 after an incident last summer, with a much more detailed explanation of the different aspects. It also covers the MEL entry in some detail.
The video confirms that the Anti-Skid System is on that list for the Boeing 737-800, which means that the captain may take the decision to continue the flight without it under certain circumstances.
The flight was evacuated on the runway, using an inflatable slide. Amazingly, there were no injuries during the evacuation.
The fire services laid foam onto the burst tyres and the overheated landing gear.
Turkish Airlines offered the following statement:
“Our Flight TK2256 aircraft operating on the Istanbul (IST) – Hatay (HTY) route suffered a burst tire while landing. As a result, one of the landing gears of the aircraft experienced overheating, to which fire brigade on the scene responded promptly and ensured that it cooled down. Our passengers and crew were safely evacuated without any problems to their physical conditions.” – Yahya Üstün, Senior Vice President Media Relations
The reference to the single tyre is odd as it had been clear immediately that all of the main gear tyres had burst. I’m including the original statement in Turkish in case any Turkish-speaking readers can clarify whether the same mistake is found there:
“TK2256 sefer sayılı İstanbul (IST) – Hatay (HTY) seferinde uçağımızın iniş sırasında lastiği patlamıştır. Bu patlamaya bağlı olarak uçağın iniş takımlarından birinde aşırı ısınma meydana gelmiş ve itfaiye ekipleri iniş sonrası duruma hızlı şekilde müdahale ederek soğutmayı sağlamışlardır. Misafirlerimiz ve ekiplerimiz güvenli şekilde uçaktan tahliye edilmiştir. Sağlık durumlarında bir sorun yoktur. Kamuoyuna saygıyla duyurulur.”
The photographs of the tyres make it clear that the media phrasing of “exploded” is not all that overdramatic.
Boeing 737-800 type aircraft with flight number TK2256 landed hard in Hatay at 02:55 tonight. After the hard landing, the tires on the main landing gear exploded and a fire broke out as a result of overheating. pic.twitter.com/Gws2Y7dIGe
— Fusa Aviation (@FusaAviation) October 6, 2022
Turkish Airlines cancelled all remaining flights that day and the following day as they organised clearing the aircraft off of the runway.
Although there has not been a statement by the Turkish Transport Safety Investigation Center (UEIM), I’m sure they must be setting up for an investigation.