UNITED KINGDOM, Dec 29 – A Virgin Atlantic plane has touched down at Gatwick Airport after circling southern England for four hours when its right wing landing gear failed to come down. Flight VS43 was captured on a flight radar circling the region after taking off from Gatwick Airport.
Virgin Atlantic confirmed there was a problem with one of the landing gears and said it had been forced to make an emergency landing. It is believed pilots remained in a holding pattern over the south east until enough fuel was burned off before attempting to bring the Boeing 747 down.
The flight took off for Las Vegas at 11.44am shortly after its scheduled departure time of 11.20am. But radar information showed the plane turned back shortly after crossing over the north Devon coast. It circled above the Bristol Channel before heading back to the south east where it circled for around four hours before landing around 3.45pm.
A Gatwick spokesman confirmed the plane had returned to the airport because of a “minor technical fault”. In a statement before the landing, Virgin Atlantic said: “Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS43 on 29th December, travelling to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, returned to London Gatwick due to a technical issue with one of the landing gears.
“The aircraft is preparing to implement a non-standard landing procedure at Gatwick airport. A further update will be issued as soon as possible.” Fire and rescue crews were on the scene when the plane landed.