04 March 2008

A British Airways (BA) passenger jet aircraft, which crash-landed at London's Heathrow airport, was transported from the scene by Abnormal Load Engineering (ALE) in the UK.

The 200 tonne Boeing 777 was forced to ditch on a grass area short of the UK airport's southern runway on Thursday 17 January, following a suspected engine failure. All 152 passengers and crew survived.

ALE was called to the scene on Saturday, following a two-day examination by accident investigators, while BA's aircraft recovery team prepared the 64 m long aircraft for the move which took place the next day.

ALE positioned an eight row SPMT under the rear of the fuselage and a six row SPMT under each of the two engines on the wings. The aircraft was then raised clear of its jacks using the transporters' integral hydraulic suspension system and secured in place. After making a 30 degree turn to line it up with the runway, the Boeing commenced its 500 m journey towards BA's Hatton Cross base.

All three transporters were linked via a data cable and were electronically controlled by a single operator. Once the move was completed the aircraft was turned again, this time through 135 degrees, to bring it adjacent to the aircraft hangers.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is carrying out further investigations to fully establish the cause of the accident.

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