A serious safety incident occurred in mid-March at Arlanda Airport. An aircraft that was taking off passed between two wheel chocks that were lying on the runway. The wheel chocks (restraining blocks) are made of rubber and are about 15 x 15 x 30 cm in size. The aircraft steered with its nose wheel between the chocks, which lay about 2 metres apart.
Objects must absolutely not be on runways. LFV, the State enterprise that operates Sweden’s major airports, regularly inspects the runways, in the case in question most recently one hour and 10 minutes before the incident. Every pilot is also obliged to report objects or other divergences on runways. LFV has well-developed collaboration with the airlines, with everyone helping to create the highest possible level of safety.
LFV’s current hypothesis is that the chocks were carried to the runway on an aircraft. Since you can hardly pass the chocks without noticing them, the immediately preceding take-off is of particular interest. That aircraft had undergone some type of technical servicing. It had previously been towed from a gate to a hangar, then back again. LFV’s hypothesis is that at that time, someone working for the airline’s ground handling company did what you are not supposed to do: placed the chocks on top of the landing gear hatch in order to have them handy. When the aircraft returned to the gate, new chocks were used. The original chocks were forgotten on the hatch and were not observed during pre-take-off inspection.
A dialogue is now being conducted with airlines, ground handling companies and the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority about the likelihood of this scenario and how it can be avoided.
Source: Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Picture provided and copyrighted by Arlanda Airport
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