HolyCoast: Jet Blue Flight With Nose Gear Problems

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jet Blue Flight With Nose Gear Problems

It's 5:36 PDT and I'm watching live coverage of a JetBlue A320 that's circling around the Long Beach area burning off fuel prior to an attempted landing at LAX. The plane took off from Burbank headed to New York and discovered the gear problem. The photos show the nose gear canted 90 degrees to the right, which means things will get exciting when the nose touches down. The wheel could straighted itself out, it could scrub off the tires and grind down the gear, or the whole thing could break off. Either way, it might be a little scary, but given the professionalism of jet air crews these days, my guess is they'll get everybody off with minor or no injuries.

I hope I'm right. This is why these guys get the big bucks.

UPDATE 5:48 PDT: An A320 pilot reminds us that JetBlue has satellite TV which means the passengers could conceivably be watching this whole thing as it happens. I rode JetBlue back in May and their satellite system is provided by DirecTV. (UPDATE: The crew turned off the TV before landing - no sense in scaring the passengers.)

The flight is expected to land in 12 minutes.

UPDATE 6:13 PDT: The plane is on final approach to LAX. Should be landing shortly.

UPDATE: 6:20 PDT: Down safely. The nose gear held although the tires exploded and there was some fire from the gear. The plane came to stop right smack on the centerline. Nice job, JetBlue! Here's a photo from FoxNews:

UPDATE 7:00 pm PDT: Why are TV reporters so darn dumb? You'd think these folks have never learned anything in their entire lives. Thank goodness both Fox 11 and NBC 4 in LA had professional pilots helping them with their coverage. That's the only way I could stand to watch it, given the anchor's dumb questions.

UPDATE 9:36 pm PDT: There was a story on Drudge today that JetBlue is about to suffer their first quarterly loss, mainly due to high fuel prices. After watching that landing tonight, I'm guessing they'll be getting some more business. I'd feel pretty comfortable having their pilots fly me around. I just hope the cause of the nosewheel problem was not due to shoddy maintenance or some type of employee mistake. That would definately take the bloom off this event for the airline. My one experience with them was great, and if they're going where I'm going, I'm sure I'll fly them again.

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