A Thomson Airways Boeing 737-800 ( G-TAWD ) chartered to Sunwing Airlines, flight WG-684 on January 13 2016, Toronto, Canada to Varadero, Cuba with 162 people on board, was climbing out of Toronto when the crew could not engage autopilot and stopped the climb at FL210 to work through the related checklists.
Whilst maintaining FL210, the speed trim and yaw damper initially failed, the crew was able to re-engage the yaw damper, declared a PAN emergency and returned to Toronto. During the return, the crew noticed the elevator was hard to control causing them difficulty to trim the flight of the aircraft.
The crew therefore declared Mayday. On final approach the yaw damper disengaged again, the crew however was able to perform a safe landing.
Julian Bray Aviation Security expert comments: The crew on seeing the control problems then expertly worked their way through a remedial programme of checklists. They first declared a PAN emergency and prepared to return to Toronto. The Airport would be on a full emergency and cleared runways and emergency services standing by. A later escalation of the control malfunction required a full MAYDAY being declared. Happily this expert crew resolved the main issue and landed the aircraft safely. No injuries but stories to tell by passengers who had first experienced a PAN emergency then a full MAYDAY process. Congratulations to the highly professional Thomson Airways crew.
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