Landing Gear Glitch with Govt Plane Most Probably Caused by Electronic System Malfunction
Pencho Penchev, former director of Flight Crew 28, the operator of the government aircraft, commented Thursday that the electronic systems of the plane carrying Prime Minister Borisov had malfunctioned on Wednesday.
The plane, which was supposed to take Borisov to Brussels, took off shortly after 7 pm Sofia time but it turned out that its landing gear had not retracted.
After several unsuccessful attempts to retract the landing gear the pilots decided to return to Sofia Airport.
To do that, the plane had to circle above Sofia for about an hour to spend as much of the jet fuel in the tanks as possible.
The aircraft touched down safely shortly after 8:30 pm at the fifth approach to landing.
In a Thursday interview for the Bulgarian National Television, Penchev assured that the pilots had handled the matter very competently.
Penchev confirmed the information that the problem had occurred due to a failure to retract the landing gear of the aircraft.
He made clear that the aircraft had been in use since 2001, adding that no problems had been registered so far.
Penchev, as cited by dnevnik.bg, underscored that the aircrew consisted of highly experienced professionals.
He admitted, however, that the requirement to keep the aircraft in a hangar had not been observed.
He noted that a technical inspection had uncovered damage to the lacquer coating and it had been fully recoated in Switzerland three years ago.
Penchev said that the maintenance of the plane had not been affected by cost-cutting measures.
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