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JetBlue Not Responsible For Landing Accident

Posted in Airline News, JetBlueNo comments

The final report from the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, shows that JetBlue A320 plane is not responsible for the landing accident at the Los Angeles International Airport on September 21, 2005. The report shows that a fault in the computer steering system caused the plane wheel to repeatedly steer left and right inside the plane during the flight. This destroyed the metal lugs that controlled the wheel; two of the lugs were broken and the other two were 95 percent compromised.

“The fatigue failure of two anti-rotation lugs due to repeated cyclic pre-landing tests, which allowed the nose wheels to deviate from the 0-degree position on landing gear retraction. A contributing factor was the design of the Brake Steering Control Unit (BSCU) system logic, which prevented the nose wheels from centering. Also contributing was the lack of a procedure to attempt to reset the BSCU system under these conditions,” the report stated.

According to the report, the steering computer could not be reset by the planes’ crews while they were in the air. Therefore, the Airbus Industries fixed it and made it possible for flight crew members to reset the steering computer while airborne.

On September 21, 2005, at 3:31 p.m., a JetBlue Airbus A320, with 140 passengers on board, left Bob Hope Airport in Burbank in order to make a non-stop flight to JFK Airport, New York. But at 6:18 p.m., the plane made an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport with its nose wheels tilted 90 degrees. No one was hurt in the incident, which was broadcasted all over the world.

“The first officer was the pilot flying. He noted no problems during the initial departure, and observed a positive rate of climb. Information from the digital flight data recorder (DFDR) indicated that after liftoff the gear handle was positioned to the up position. The flight crew noted an error message displayed on the Electric Centralized Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system. There was a fault message for a nose landing gear (NLG) shock absorber,” stated the NTSB report.

When the captain suspected that the landing gear was tilted 90 degrees, he directed the plane to Long Beach in order to verify the gear status by flying over the tower. Once it was verified, the captain discussed the matter with company representatives and decided to redirect the plane to LAX since it had “optimum field conditions, runway length, and a better emergency/abnormal support services.” The flight attendants moved all passengers and cabin baggage to the back of the plane and the captain flew the plane in circles for several hours to burn fuel so that they could make a lighter landing.

“Upon touchdown, the NLG tires rapidly deflated and tore apart, and both wheels were worn into the axle. During landing, the airplane’s trajectory was not affected by the abnormal NLG configuration or subsequent tire destruction, and the airplane stayed on the runway centerline,” the report said.

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