A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 suffered a main landing gear failure on takeoff from London Gatwick Airport today. After burning off excess fuel and troubleshooting the problem, it returned to Gatwick, landing safely with only three of its four main landing gear extended.
Man, does that look weird or what?
We’re delighted that it landed safely, and that the aircraft was able to remain upright on only three mounts, in spite of the failed mount being one of outboard mains. Had the jet tipped over, the danger would be the engine or wingtip digging in and either causing the wing to fail, thus rupturing the fuel tanks, or spinning the aircraft violently at fairly high speed, with likely the same result. As it is, both the plane and its human cargo are both safe.
H/T: The Aviationist.