A PLANE bound for Inverness was forced to return to Birmingham this morning after declaring an emergency.
FlyBe flight BE831 left Birmingham Airport at 9.15am, with 73 passengers on board, and was scheduled to land at Inverness around 10.50am.
However, the aircraft - a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 - signalled an emergency as it was about to fly over the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and turned round.
Flight crew reported a hydraulic system leak, which can lead to loss of autopilot, difficulties with landing gear, loss of nosewheeel steering and reduced braking capability upon landing.
The plane landed safely at Birmingham Airport around 10.57am after being held in a holding pattern above the airport.
The aircraft, capable of seating 78 passengers, was delivered to FlyBe in June 2005.
The same aircraft was the subject of an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report in December 2008, after it descended below a cleared altitude on approach to Edinburgh Airport as a result of a cockpit instrument not being properly armed.
FlyBe has 57 Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft in its fleet, with another three on order.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “Flybe can confirm that the captain elected to return to Birmingham from airborne following a technical fault with the aircraft.
“The aircraft landed safely without incident and was towed to stand where all 73 passengers disembarked as normal. As is common practice in such situations, the airport put emergency vehicles on standby as a precautionary measure.
“Passengers will be accommodated on the next available flight or offered a full refund.
“Flybe apologises for any inconvenience experienced but the safety of its passengers and crew is the airline’s number one priority.”