After completing some routine maintenance on the approach lights to Runway 33 at Birmingham Airport, two airport engineering services technicians drove along the runway in an airport works pickup truck en route to their next task. In the back of the pickup truck was a step ladder that they had been using. As they drove through the touch down zone, the ladder came out of the vehicle and came to rest just to the right of the runway centreline. Three aircraft subsequently landed on Runway 33.
The investigation concluded that the ladder fell from the truck during the drive along the runway, at the point where it accelerated in the touch down zone after the end of the supplementary lights. The means of securing the ladder in the rear of the open back vehicle using a bungee was not suitable. The bungee was available for use within the maintenance organisation’s facility, but its provenance was not known. More suitable securing equipment was available although not readily to hand.
The airport completed an investigation into the events and have taken a number of safety actions intended to prevent reoccurrence. The CAA issued a SkyWise notification under Aerodrome Safety Alerts to raise awareness of this event amongst airside workers.