Newquay flight diverted to Exeter after ‘worn’ cable fails

A stock image of a Flybe plane.

A Newquay to London Flybe flight was forced to land at Exeter after a cable failed, an investigation has found.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said the plane had left Cornwall Airport Newquay when the incident occurred.

Investigators found a “worn” cable in the steering wheel had caused an issue for the pilot, who diverted to Exeter Airport.

The pilot decided to land at Exeter Airport after noticing the fault.

The AAIB added Flybe went bust before the cause could be established, which could lead to potentially wider safety implications in the future.

Shortly after take-off in a strong crosswind, the pilots noticed that both handwheels were offset to the right in order to maintain wings level flight. The aircraft diverted to Exeter Airport where it made an uneventful landing. The handwheel offset was the result of a break in a left aileron cable that ran along the wing rear spar.

AAIB report

The AAIB made three safety recommendations in light of their investigation.

They said the “most probable reason” for the cable fault was wear, which had reduced its strength and affected the individual wires contained within.

"The cable failed where it passed over a pulley on the rear wing spar where dirt accumulates which can penetrate into the strands and form an abrasive compound,” the report noted.

“This can accelerate the normal rate of cable wear.”

The Flybe airline collapsed in March.

The report also referenced Flybe’s collapse in March, which they said could impact investigations in the future.

"As the operator [Flybe] ceased trading before they could establish the cause on G-FLBE, and other aircraft in their fleet, further investigation is required to determine if there is a wider safety issue,” investigators added.

"While this did not affect this investigation, this could affect other safety investigations."


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