A private jet departing Cork Airport suffered substantial damage to its forward wheel structure in an incident at the airport last year.
A report from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) has found that pre-flight checks of the aircraft did not identify that a torque link release pin was disconnected.
The incident occurred on July 18, 2018 when the Cessna 750 jet with a crew of two and six passengers was about to take off from Cork bound for Gander, Newfoundland.
The aircraft taxied the short distance to runway 16 when the pilot experienced some difficulties in turning the nose wheel.
He discussed his concerns with the second-in-command who confirmed that the relevant pre-flight inspection of the nose gear had been completed.
The aircraft turned onto the runway and began the take-off roll. At a speed of 67 knots, the pilot aborted the take-off due to a significant vibration of the nose wheel.
The maximum recorded ground speed was 74 knots, after which the aircraft decelerated and came to rest on runway 16, where it was attended by Cork Airport Fire Services.
Once the fire service had inspected the aircraft, the passengers disembarked. There were no injuries to the passengers or crew.
However, the aircraft suffered substantial damage. The lower part of the nose gear leg turned through approximately 90 degrees, both tyres burst and disintegrated, leading to significant wear on the hub of the forward wheel but there was no fire.
The investigation by the AAIU focused on a torque link release pin that is disconnected when the plane is towed and reconnected prior to a flight.
The Investigation was unable to determine the precise sequence of events that led to the nose gear leg torque links becoming disconnected
However, they considered it likely that the torque link assembly was disconnected whilst the aircraft was parked and not reconnected prior to the aircraft commencing its taxi on to runway 16.
The AAIU issued a safety recommendation that the plane manufacturers would undertake a review of the torque link design and operational procedures on the Cessna Citation 750 series with a view to implementing measures which will increase the probability that disconnected torque links will be detected prior to taxiing the aircraft.