When Air India’s Hyderabad-Chennai flight touched down at the runway on Wednesday night, there wasn’t merely a loud squeaking as rubber made contact with asphalt. This time there was a fiery, red flame to go with it. Two of the tyres on the Airbus A320 lost their outer layer seconds after touching down and given the high friction – caught fire and burned for a few seconds.
The pilot must have had nerves of steel as he handled the tyre-burst gamely, but inside the aircraft, not one of the 155 passengers knew that anything was amiss. “Some of the passengers complained that the plane’s landing had been a little extra bumpy, but they joked that it wasn’t as bad as being on one of the smaller Bombardier planes. They had no idea that 2 tyres had burst and burned,” said an airport official, on duty at the time of the incident – 8.40 pm, reports New Indian Express.
Had this happened on any of the older plans – particularly the slightly aged Boeings, there might have been a major disaster. “The biggest problem tends to occur when the nosewheel bursts on landing, but there are several fail-safes to ensure that the plane will land safely even if it does. The rear tyres are usually backed up pretty well to handle the stress of a large plane even if a tyre bursts,” said Captain Jacob, a pilot with the airline. Tyremakers like Goodyear supply a standard 30×8.8 itches for the Airbus A320 that could handle speeds up to 225 mph.