a plane wing with a red circle

Airbus A320 Lost Left Hand Elevator Upon Departure in Congo

On the 29th of January 2023, a Compagnie Africaine Aviation (FlyCAA) Airbus A320 lost its left-hand elevator upon departure from Mbuji Mayi Airport.

The accident occurred when the Airbus A320-200, with registration 9S-ABM, was performing a domestic flight BU415 from Mbuji Mayi to Kinshasa N’Djili in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Flight BU415 departed from Mbuji Mayi’s runway 34. However, shortly after take-off, the aircraft lost most of the left-hand elevator. After the crew members analyzed the situation, they decided to continue to fly to Kinshasa requesting only right-hand turns. Footage shared on the internet shows the aircraft’s remaining elevator as seen in Kinshasa.

the tail of an airplane

The aircraft climbed to FL300 and continued on to Kinshasa. They performed a low pass at Kinshasa to have the aircraft assessed from the ground, as reported by the Aviation Herald. After the ground personnel assessed the aircraft, the crew positioned the aircraft for another approach, again using right-hand turns only.

a map of a plane with a route

After performing a low pass and being cleared by the ATC, the aircraft landed safely on Kinshasa’s runway 24 about 90 minutes after departure from Mbuji Mayi.

The separated part of the left-hand elevator was reportedly recovered from the aerodrome at Mbuji Mayi Airport.

According to local reports, the aircraft neither faced a collision nor any abnormal contact, it just looks like a structural failure as a result of fatigue.

The aircraft in question was delivered to flyCAA in July 2021 and is powered by two CFM International CFM56 engines. Initially, the 13.8-year-old A320 was delivered to Indian ultra-low-cost carrier GoAir in May 2009.

About flyCAA

Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation (flyCAA) is a Congolese airline based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The regional airline was founded in 1991 and started operations on 26 December 1992. It was launched with the goal of improving air connectivity within Africa and providing affordable travel options for passengers.

In 2013, Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation merged with FlyCongo and formed FlyCAA. Since its inception, flyCAA has grown its operations and expanded its route network, now serving several destinations within Africa. According to Planespotters.net, flyCAA currently has a fleet of 11 aircraft including four ATR 72, two Fokker F50s, three Airbus A320s, and two A330s.

Feature Image via Twitter