An aviation blog has captured the moment a 100kg plane wheel fell to the ground from an 180-tonne cargo jet as it took off in Italy on Tuesday.
Brazilian aviation blog Aeroin posted footage of the wheel plummeting to the ground from the Boeing Dreamlifter, the world’s longest cargo aircraft, as it took off from the southern city of Tarento.
“Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter has one of its tires on fire and loses its wheel after takeoff,” the blog posted along with the video on its Twitter feed.
The flight was being operated by US cargo airline Atlas Air on 11 October, with the jet bound for Charleston, South Carolina. It was coded as Atlas Air flight N718BA.
The wheel can be seen dropping from the aircraft almost instantly as it takes off and climbs above the runway, with smoke shooting from the landing gear area before it drops to the ground.
The Dreamlifter’s wheels, of which there are 18, typically span four feet in diameter.
Reports said the wheel was found in a nearby vineyard close to Taranto-Grottaglie Airport, with no one harmed during the incident.
The Dreamlifter is a converted Boeing 747 aircraft, designed in the early 2000s to carry parts for Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner between continents.
In a statement, Boeing confirmed the incident and said the flight had landed safely on 11 October.
A spokesperson said: “A Dreamlifter cargo flight operated by Atlas Air landed safely earlier today at Charleston International Airport, after losing a wheel assembly from its landing gear on takeoff from the Taranto-Grottaglie Airport in Italy this morning.
“We will support our operator’s investigation.”
“That is absolutely wild. Don’t wanna be in the vicinity of wherever that guy tries to land,” wrote one Twitter follower after the footage was posted.
“Good thing they’re carrying spares aboard for when they have to pull over by the side of the road,” joked Twitter user Jeff Bishop.
Several Twitter users replied with photos of a huge tyre in what looks to be a field or vineyard, but sources for these have not been established.
In September, a couple living in Belgium were shocked when part of a Boeing 747’s engine plunged through their garage roof.
Meanwhile in April, a Tui flight was forced to make an emergency landing last month after its tail clipped the runway on take-off.
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