An executive jet was forced to return to Shannon Airport this afternoon after the crew reported a technical issue after departure.
The Gulfstream Aerospace G-550 jet had just crossed the Clare coast heading west after taking off from Shannon when the pilot contacted controllers to advise them they wished to return to the airport.
The flight was travelling to St Paul Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the time. The jet is operated by US company 3M which is headquartered in Minnesota.
The flight had arrived in Shannon from Amman, Jordan at around 12.45pm for a planned refuelling stop and landed normally. While the crew was preparing for departure to the US they reported an issue that they would require time to work on and resolve. The crew cancelled their flight plan in the meantime.
While troubleshooting the issue, the crew carried out an inspection of the aircraft and discovered they may have suffered a bird-strike before landing. Air traffic controllers were advised of this and an inspection of the runway was carried. Airport personnel discovered the carcass of a bird during this inspection. The crew of the Gulfstream jet were advised of this.
The plane remained at Shannon for several hours while work was carried out to resolve the issue. When the aircraft was cleared to continue, the crew refiled their flight plan and began preparations to resume their journey.
The flight took off for Minneapolis at around 4.10pm however, soon afterwards, the crew contacted controllers to report a problem. The pilot confirmed they had an ‘aircraft malfunction’ and that they wouldn’t be able to continue across the ocean.
The crew turned around south of the Aran Islands and routed back towards Shannon where the jet entered a holding pattern over East Clare. The crew circled for almost 40 minutes to burn off fuel and reduce their landing weight before commencing an approach to Shannon.
The jet landed safely at 5.12pm about an hour after departing. The crew did not declare an emergency and did not request any assistance on landing.
Engineers were standing by to investigate the problem however the jet was expected to remain in Shannon overnight.