Australian low-fare carrier Jetstar Airways is asking its pilots and maintenance engineers to pay closer attention to the state of the tires on its Boeing 787s during turnarounds after tread debris on takeoff caused a flap failure on a flight from Singapore to Melbourne, Australia, in May.
The incident highlights one downside of cutting grooves into runways—a practice widely used to force water from the runway and increase the contact area of the tire on the surface. According to the final report on the incident by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the grooves, in the case of the Jetstar 787, had over time caused “chevron cutting damage” that led to a 360-deg. delamination of the tread on a main gear tire.
The tread debris punctured the composite lower wing structure outboard of the belly of the 787, snapping off a torque tube that drives the left wing inner and outer flaps and cracking a flap trailing edge. The crew became aware of a problem at 3,000 ft. after departure from Singapore, when the first officer called for the flaps to be retracted from the takeoff position (Flaps 5) to the Flaps 1 position.