American B772 at Barcelona on Mar 20th 2022, flap fairing detached in flight

Last Update: February 14, 2023 / 16:30:16 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 20, 2022


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator

An American Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N777AN performing flight AA-113 from BArcelona,SP (Spain) to Miami,FL (USA) with 261 passengers and 12 crew, was climbing through FL120 when the crew noticed a left wing flap fairing had detached. The crew assessed the damage, levelled off at FL330 and returned to Barcelona for a safe landing on runway 06L about 70 minutes after departure.

Spain's CIAIAC reported the crew declared Mayday and returned to Barcelona due to the detachment of the left wing flap fairing. The aircraft received minor damage, the occurrence is being investigated.

On Feb 14th 2023 the Spanish CIAIAC released their final report concluding:

The investigation has not been able to determine what caused the flap actuator fairing to detach.

The CIAIAC analysed:

On Sunday, 20 March 2022, the Boeing B777-223 aircraft, with registration N777AN, departed from Barcelona Airport bound for Miami Airport.

While en route over the province of Zaragoza, the crew became aware that the flap fairing on the left wing had detached. After assessing the damage, they decided to declare MAYDAY and return to Barcelona Airport, where they carried out an overweight landing without further incident.

According to the information provided by the aircraft operator, once at its parking stand, the aircraft was inspected by the operator's line maintenance provider. As the damage was confined to the loss of the left centre flap fairing and defects to the trailing edge of the flap, the aircraft was put back into service on 26 March after replacing the flap and applying the CDL57-07 configuration deviation for the fairing.

On being made aware of the facts, the CIAIAC decided to open an investigation on 1 April. As the aircraft had already been put back into service, the CIAIAC was unable to access the aircraft after the incident.

By the time the investigation was opened, the data from the flight data recorder and cockpitvoice recorder had been deleted and replaced by recordings from subsequent flights.

The investigators were also unable to examine the detached flap actuator fairing because it had not been located.

During the investigation, the CIAIAC asked the aircraft operator to contact the American Airlines maintenance engineers that inspected the aircraft at Barcelona Airport, but it refused to cooperate further with the investigation.

The aircraft’s manufacturer, Boeing, was also consulted during the investigation to clarify certain aspects. Boeing stated that it was only aware of one similar event that occurred in 2001. According to Boeing, in both the 2001 event and the incident under investigation, the forward connection was undamaged, but two bolts were missing, and there was damage to all three aft connections. Boeing maintained that it did know what could have caused the loss of the bolts.

As a result, the investigation has not been able to determine what caused the flap actuator fairing to detach. However, the theory that it was caused by the aircraft sustaining some kind of impact before take-off while parked at Barcelona Airport can probably be ruled out, as the operator had no record of anything in this regard.
Aircraft Registration Data
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 20, 2022


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator

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