A Vietnam Airlines 787-9 was one minute out of Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport yesterday, Thursday, September 19, 2019 when it was realised the plane’s landing gear was not down. The aircraft initiated a go-around. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is calling it “an incorrect configuration incident.” and has launched an investigation.
The aircraft was VN-A870, a Boeing 787-9 which has been flying for Vietnam Airlines for three years. Vietnam Airlines operates flights between Ho Chi Minh and both Melbourne and Sydney. VN781 is the overnight flight to Melbourne and VN780 is the return daytime service.
Media reports have VN780 one minute from touchdown when Melbourne ATC noticed the plane’s wheels were not down and notified the pilots. At this stage it is unknown whether the pilots knew the wheels were not down. It has been noted that as it was a clear day around Melbourne yesterday, the airline may not have breached safety guidelines. However at that low altitude, cockpit alarms should have been triggered.
The pilots conducted a go-around and the plane landed safely at 08:22.
The same plane conducted the return flight to Ho Chi Minh later yesterday morning.
ATSB investigations are continuing and Vietnam Airlines is fully co-operating.