British cargo plane issued 'Mayday!' after electrical failure before rain storm

A British cargo jet suffered an electrical failure which knocked out key systems before crew aborted a landing to dodge a lightning storm, a report revealed today. The Boeing 737, operated by air freight firm West Atlantic UK, issued a Mayday alert before performing a "go around" manoeuvre at Brussels Airport. The June 2019 drama, revealed in a report published today, was the second power failure involving the same aircraft in just six months.

It previously suffered an electrical fault during a flight to East Midlands Airport. In a 14-page report on the latest incident, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the pilots heard a "large electrical clunk" along with cockpit screens going blank and "the disconnection of the autopilot and auto-throttle".

The plane was trying to land at Brussels Airport

It said: "While descending to land at Brussels National Airport, a partial electrical failure occurred resulting in the loss of a number of systems including the electronic and analogue flight instruments on the left side of the cockpit. "The pilot declared a Mayday and aware that a thunderstorm was approaching the airfield, assessed that the weather reported by Air Traffic Control would allow him to continue and land at Brussels.

"However, visual references were lost at a late stage of the approach when the aircraft entered a heavy rain shower. "A go-around was initiated during which the pilots estimated the amount of thrust required; the aircraft initially appeared to be slow to accelerate and establish a positive rate of climb." The plane was just 300ft off the ground when, faced with a "fairly active with a wall of water and lightning strikes every 20 seconds", the crew decided to abandon the attempted landing.

Investigators said the "aircraft documentation was unclear as to which aircraft in the fleet were configured to enable the cockpit instruments to be powered from a standby electrical source". The confusion "may have affected the pilots understanding of the failure", the report said. It added: "Safety action has been taken by the operator to provide clarity in the aircraft documentation."

The plane, which had two pilots on board and had taken off from Oslo, landed safely at the second attempt 20 minutes later.

West Atlantic UK was contacted for comment.

You may also like...