Damage from a serious storm caused control problems on a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 at Faro Airport, Portugal, according to an AAIU report.
The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) reports that, during the early hours of 24 October 2011, Faro Airport in Portugal was struck by a rare meteorological phenomenon known as a microburst associated with a supercell, during which wind speeds of up to 84.9 kts were recorded at a weather station.
A Boeing 737-800, EI-DPA, was parked overnight on the ramp, during the storm. The airplane jumped its chocks and its nose moved approximately 5 metres to the left. During the event, the aircraft sustained significant damage to its rudder system due to the effects of the wind gusts on the rudder control surface.
The damage was not visible from the ground and was not detected during the subsequent Ramp-1 Check and pre-flight checks. Later that day, the aircraft departed on its first scheduled flight to Beauvais, France with 145 passengers and 6 crew members on board.
The flight crew encountered significant control difficulties immediately after take-off due to the damaged rudder system. The flight crew dealt with the control issues and returned to Faro where they landed safely approximately 28 minutes after take-off.