SERIOUS INCIDENT: Boeing 737-8AS, EI-DPA at Faro Portugal, 24 October 2011: Report 2014-011

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During the early hours of 24 October 2011, LPFR was struck by a rare meteorological phenomenon known as a microburst associated with a supercell, during which wind speeds of up to 84.9 kts were recorded at a weather station at LPFR. EI-DPA, which was parked overnight on the ramp, jumped its chocks and its nose moved approximately 5 metres (m) to the left. During the event, the aircraft sustained significant damage to its rudder system due to the effects of the wind gusts on the rudder control surface. The damage was not visible from the ground and was not detected during the subsequent Ramp-1 Check (Section 1.9.2) and pre-flight checks. Later that day, the aircraft departed on its first scheduled flight and the Flight Crew encountered significant control difficulties immediately after take-off due to the damaged rudder system. The Flight Crew dealt with the control issues and returned to LPFR where they landed safely approximately 28 minutes after take-off.
One Safety Recommendation is issued as a result of this Investigation.
Occurrence Date: October 24, 2011
Report Date: August 14, 2014
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