A Plane With a Square Wheel Lands at Heathrow

Photo by Freeimages.com/Alberto Grilo

by Hugh Morris, The Daily Telegraph, May 11, 2016

Aviation experts were left bemused by the sight of a square-shaped wheel on a British Airways plane that had just landed at Heathrow.

The crew on the Airbus A380-800 were first warned about an issue with the tire after take-off from Hong Kong after they received an alert of a loss of pressure in the wheel.

The crew decided to resume the 13-hour flight to London but to request a tow tug for the landing at Heathrow in case the plane would be unable to taxi to the terminal.

After landing safely, staff were surprised to find that the tyre had deflated into a square shape, rather than the usual flat bottom.

Members of the Aviation Herald website, where the square tyre was first reported, suggested that the shape was caused by a slow puncture taking place at altitude over a variety of temperatures.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority told the MailOnline : “It is a curious one. Not seen anything like it before.”

Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, suggested: “The tyre deflated and the subsequent rotation caused it to fold in on itself in four symmetrical segments.”

A spokesperson for British Airways said that the plane landed safely, with one of its 18 tyres deflated: “The A380, in common with other large commercial aircraft, is designed to be perfectly safe when landing with a deflated tyre.”

Though the square wheel looks concerning, it's not as bad as the damage left by a bird strike on an Air Namibia plane earlier this year. 

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This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.