The TigerAir 9V-TRH which turned back minutes after taking off for Chennai on 16 October 2015 was reported in the news that its engine cowling was missing and landed back in Singapore. Another source (ninervictor) reported that the landing gear indicators did not showing all gear down resulting in the first landing approach to be abandoned.
The first approach to land was aborted. This can be supported by Flightradar24 data. Now we need to wait for the official incident report to understand the whole incident.
Photo: Twitter user H_Lucke
With more photos surfaced on the internet, from these photos, it looks like both the left and right hand side of engine number 1 fan cowl door were missing. A closer look at the latest photo, it looks like a part of the pylon fairing was torn off. The right hand side photo taken during flight with the engine scan lights turned on is not clear for further observation (Photo in previous article).
What had caused the first approach to be abandoned or what caused the landing gear indicators to show otherwise a down and lock indication need a more detail analysis. Any further discussion based on the two photos is just purely guesswork.
The cause(s) of 9V-TRH’s engine fan cowl door to come off have to wait for the official report, however this is not the first time an A320 family fan cowl door was lost. According to a bulletin released by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), it had provided serval recommendations to operators in cowl door loss prevention. The EASA’s report further stated that Airbus is currently working on a new design solution for A320.
Edited on 20 Oct 2015(with great thanks to willischong
It is verified through the communication between ATC and pilots flying the flight TR2638 on 16 Oct 2015 that they indeed having indication that the gear was not down and locked.
The plane was in the approach, while the pilot tried to put down the land gear, an indication of unsafe gear showed up for the left main landing gear. The pilot thereafter declared “Mayday” which the control copied. The pilots reported that the Maximum Landing weight (MLW) of the aircraft is 64.5 tonnes and the aircraft at that moment weighted 69tonnes2.
The MLW is the design specification by the plane maker, the pilots and the operators follows a set of SOP and inspections in the event an overweight landing occurred. This will not affect flight safety generally.
After burning off fuel over a holding area, the pilot requested for an overshoot approach at 300ft for the ground engineers to do a visual observation of the landing gear. When the engineers confirmed the gear was down and locked, the pilot go-around and landed.
In the communication, the “brace brace brace” command was heard transmitted over the radio.
1 - need further verification. (New information is presented)
2- At take off, the weight is usually over the MLW, due to fuel weight. There is a Max Take off weight (MTOW) specification.
EASA Bulletin SIB No:2015-15