The Pegasus 737 That Ran off a Cliff Might Fly Again

Jan 19, 2018

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After a Pegasus Airlines 737 nearly fell into the sea in Turkey last Saturday, engineers have started the process of recovering the damaged aircraft.

Pegasus flight 8622 was traveling from Ankara (ESB) to Trabzon (TZX) when upon landing, the plane skidded off the runway and found itself hanging off the side of cliff — just feet away from the Black Sea. Fortunately no passengers or crew were seriously injured.

After a few days precariously situated on the side of the hill, workers have started the complicated removal process of the 737-800. Using two cranes, the plane was hauled up and out of the mud.

Turkish authorities closed the Trabzon airport so the recovery could take place safely; flights were diverted to Ordu-Giresun Airport (OGU).

Reports indicate that the major damage occurred to the wing, left maingear and underbelly — although the most prominent is the engine that’s detached from the wing.

According to France 24, once the aircraft is back on solid ground it will be emptied of its remaining fuel and taken to a hanger where passengers’ personal belongings and baggage will be removed.

The aircraft is reportedly being treated as a “keeper” according to Robert Mann, an industry expert and airline consultant. Mann said the 737 was in “surprisingly good shape” after the crane pulled it from near death.

TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 18: Engineers conduct a lifting operation with two cranes after a passenger plane skidded off a runway in northern Turkey's Trabzon and stopped on the side of a slope just metres from the sea, on January 18, 2018. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Engineers conduct a lifting operation with two cranes after a passenger plane skidded off a runway in northern Turkey’s Trabzon and stopped on the side of a slope just meters from the sea, on January 18, 2018. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Mann also said that the 737-800 tends to break just forward and behind the center wing box carry-through section, and there’s no evidence of that in the lifting photo.

“That said, the aircraft will have to undergo a complete hull and systems inspection, both engines will have to be overhauled and the landing gear refitted, altogether an expensive proposition,” added Mann. 

The Pegasus pilots told authorities that the botched landing was caused by the aircraft’s right engine accelerating, leading the plane left and over the cliff.

Featured image by AYTEKIN KALENDER/AFP/Getty Images.

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