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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Ill-fated Metroliner veered off runway in earlier safety scare

Rescue workers remove the body of one of the six people who died yesterday morning
Rescue workers remove the body of one of the six people who died yesterday morning

Shane Hickey and Pat Flynn

THE plane at the centre of the Cork Airport tragedy was involved in a previous safety scare during which the aircraft veered off a runway.

The 19-seater Fairchild Metroliner was involved in the incident on the Spanish island of Majorca in 2004 during take-off while it was operating as a cargo plane for another airline.

The particular model of aircraft, which has been in operation for more than four decades, has been involved in 30 accidents which claimed the lives of 181 people over the years.

Developed in Texas, the aircraft has proved particularly popular with business travellers in the US and Australia and was in production from the late- 1960s to the late-1990s.

The aircraft destroyed in yesterday's accident dates from 1992. It was built by the aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Swearingen, which is based in San Antonio, Texas.

Since first entering service, the model of aircraft has been involved in 81 incidents where the plane was destroyed.

The turbo-prop plane, with the tail identification EC-ITP, was owned by Barcelona-based operator Flightline BCN but leased by Manx2.

It was previously owned and registered to South African-based Norse Air until 2004 and was later operated by Spanish airline Top Fly.

The plane was involved in an incident on Majorca on May 21, 2004, when it suddenly veered off the runway.

After it was cleared for take-off and had begun its run down the runway, the plane suddenly veered off towards the right where the pilot lost control and tried to abort the take-off.

However, the plane veered and skidded on the runway shoulder before turning almost completely around and coming to a stop. No one was injured.

David Learmount of 'Flight Global' magazine, said the Metroliner is an old-fashioned aircraft by today's standards.

"The Metroliner is not one of my favourite aircraft. It's had a whole load of aerodynamic bits put on to it over the years. It looks a bit like a hedgehog."

Irish Independent

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