United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER faces significant fuselage damage after Houston landing incident.

Key Points:

  • A United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER experienced major upper fuselage damage following a heavy nose-wheel bounce during landing in Houston.

  • Despite the forceful landing and damage sustained, none of the 202 occupants, including 193 passengers, reported injuries.

  • The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident involving the 767, which had been in service with United since 1991.

HOUSTON — A recent incident involving a United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER has raised concerns after the aircraft suffered significant upper fuselage damage. The damage occurred during its landing in Houston, prompted by a forceful bounce of its nose-wheel on the runway.

On July 29th, as the aircraft was arriving from Newark, the twinjet’s fuselage crown displayed noticeable wrinkling. According to preliminary findings from the US National Transportation Safety Board, the 767, piloted by the first officer, adhered to the DOOBI2 arrival pattern, lining up for an ILS approach to runway 26L. Flight-data recorder details indicate that while both main gears initially made contact with the ground, the right-hand gear momentarily lifted, causing the plane to lean left.

The first officer, in an effort to prevent another harsh nose-wheel touchdown, maintained aft pressure on the yoke. However, flight data unveiled that the nose-gear's impact registered at 1.4g, leading to the nose-wheel bouncing. This resulted in the first officer pulling back on the yoke, attempting to prevent further runway contact. Despite these efforts, the aircraft’s speedbrakes deployed, its auto-brakes engaged, and the nose-wheel endured another bounce, with an even stronger 1.6g impact.

The unfolding events continued as the 767's right-hand reverser came into play, causing the nose-wheel to hit the runway again with a 1.6g impact. Shortly thereafter, the left-hand reverser was activated. In the midst of these challenges, the captain took charge, ensuring the remainder of the landing roll-out occurred without further complications.

It's worth noting that despite the ordeal, the safety of the 202 occupants, comprising 193 passengers, was uncompromised, with no reported injuries. However, a post-incident inspection of the 32-year-old 767 spotlighted substantial damage on its upper fuselage, particularly ahead of its Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.

The ongoing investigation, which is taking place under clear daylight conditions and minimal wind, seeks to pinpoint the exact causes behind this incident. The aircraft in question, N641UA, has been a part of United Airlines' fleet since its inaugural delivery in 1991.