British pilot's artificial arm comes off during landing

LONDON (AFP) - A pilot for a British budget airline briefly lost control of a flight after his artificial arm came loose during landing, an air accident report said Thursday.

The Flybe plane carrying 47 passengers was coming in to land at Belfast City Airport from Birmingham on Feb 12 when the pilot's prosthetic forearm became detached from a special clamp fitted to the plane's yoke.

This caused the plane to land with a "bounce", but no one was injured.

Flybe said it was proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

"The senior captain referred to in this report is one of Flybe's most experienced and trusted pilots," said Captain Ian Baston, the firm's director of flight operations and safety.

"The airline confirms that at no time was the safety of its passengers or crew compromised in any way, nor was the aircraft damaged." The report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the 46-year-old pilot had checked that his prosthetic arm was securely attached to the clamp shortly before landing.

He had disconnected the autopilot and was landing the plane manually when the arm came loose, forcing him to try to regain control with his right arm.

"He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily," the report said.

The captain has pledged to be more careful in future about checking the attachment on his artificial limb and briefing his co-pilots about a possible similar event, it added.