On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, Cayman Airways flight KX106 to Miami took off from Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) on Grand Cayman at approximately 6:00pm, but returned to ORIA shortly after, when the flight crew determined that the landing gear had not retracted. Prior to returning to ORIA, the flight crew conducted the prescribed on-board safety checks to ensure that the landing gear was correctly extended for landing and shortly thereafter the aircraft landed safely back at ORIA, with emergency services on stand-by as a precautionary measure. The landing was normal and uneventful.
After landing, the aircraft was removed from service in order to investigate and determine the cause of the landing gear not retracting and the passengers and their luggage were transferred to another aircraft which conducted the flight. As a result of this event, flight KX106 arrived in Miami approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes later than scheduled and the return flight to Grand Cayman KX107, departed Miami 1 hour and 20 minutes later than scheduled. No other flights were affected and Cayman Airways has resumed its normal scheduled operations.
The cause of the landing gear not retracting was found to be two “ground lock safety pins” which were installed on the left and right main landing gears. The purpose of these pins is to prevent the landing gears from retracting during ground operations and, although there are established procedures in place to ensure that these pins are removed before flight, in this instance the pins were not removed before flight.
“Whilst the aircraft was never in an unsafe condition, as the main gears were definitely down and locked, the procedural deficiencies relating to the pins not being removed before flight are very serious. A thorough analysis of the event and surrounding circumstances is therefore being conducted in order to determine what procedural adjustments and changes are necessary to prevent future recurrences of this nature,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms.
Captain Steve Scott, Director of Safety at Cayman Airways, added: “Cayman Airways has a very robust safety management system which is geared toward addressing occurrences and preventing recurrences of this nature, especially whenever procedural issues arise. Although safety of flight was not impacted in this particular instance, there is much to be learned from occurrences like this one in order to prevent the safety of our operations. Our Safety Department will therefore be analysing all the contributing factors in order to ensure proper and effective risk mitigation.”