bryan knight doing stuff on the internets.

22Sep/050

This is kinda messed up…

Or as someone said, post-post-modern...

The full article is here, and I have copied it below... but the basic story. Plane takes off, realizes front landing gear is stuck down with the wheels 90degrees to the plane. They realize it right away... circled for 3 hours to burn fuel then attempted the landing. All the people and luggage was in the back to lighten the front load. Pilot kept the nose off the ground as long as possible. The weird thing was that all the TVs on the plane, in each headrest, was watching the news. And then news kept covering the plane ordeal. And all the 'experts' were hypothesizing, etc. How odd.

Terrified passengers watch fate discussed on TV

· Faulty landing gear forced emergency landing
· Three hour ordeal as circling plane burned fuel

Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Friday September 23, 2005
The Guardian

It was gripping television. A commercial jetliner unable to retract its front landing gear circled for three hours south of Los Angeles, burning fuel, before it attempted an emergency landing. As the pictures were carried live on TV, aviation experts pondered the likely fate of the 145 people on board.
On the plane the passengers and crew watched the images and listened to the experts, thanks to the seatback TV sets tuned to cable news channels.

"My friend said, 'Hey dude, something's wrong with our plane. We're on TV'," Jorge Santiago, 24, of Los Angeles, told the LA Times.

"It was so eerie watching ourselves," said Matthew Ash, 24. "It was unimaginable ... we heard people speculating about this and that. It was so odd. It was just such an absurd situation.

"One guy was saying, 'You know, I'm just speculating, but the landing gear will break off and the nose will drive into the pavement,' and this and that."

The experts were wrong. The Airbus A320, flown by pilot Scott Burke, made a textbook landing at Los Angeles airport. As it came down, the pilot kept the front landing gear off the ground for as long as possible. All the passengers and hand luggage had been moved to the rear of the aircraft to keep weight off the nose.

When the front landing gear did make contact with the ground, smoke billowed as the rubber tyres disintegrated. That was followed by sparks for several seconds before flames began to lick at the underside of the fuselage. But the plane did not catch fire, and the pilot brought it to a halt 1,000 feet from the end of the 10,000 foot runway at 6.19pm.

Even then, Mr Burke showed an awareness that this was a media event as well as an aviation incident. "Do we have someone here who is media-savvy?" he asked the control tower. "I want to keep the media wolves off my back. I've got nothing to say."

"We couldn't believe the irony, that we were watching our own demise on TV - it was all too post-post-modern," passenger Alexandra Jacobs, a journalist with the New York Observer, told CNN.

"I thought how it must have been like on September 11 watching television and seeing the planes come towards the building," Zachary Mastoon, 27, told the LA Times. Some preferred not to watch. "It was weird. It would've been much calmer without the televisions," Pia Varma of Los Angeles told the Associated Press.

Immediately after Jet Blue flight 292's take-off at 3.17pm from Burbank's Bob Hope airport the two pilots realised that there was a problem with the front landing gear. They diverted from their intended destination, New York's JFK airport, and turned for Long Beach airport, 30 miles south of Los Angeles. After flying low past the control tower they were able to confirm that the front landing gear was stuck down with the two wheels turned 90 degrees to the aircraft. It was decided that the plane should divert to Los Angeles airport.

As he made his final descent, the pilot signed off with the LA control tower, saying "If you've got nothing else to tell me, I've got nothing else to say."

After the plane had landed passengers applauded and hugged each other. Some remained frozen in the "brace" position, with their heads between their knees.

"We all cheered. I was bawling. I cried so much," Christine Lund, 25, who was travelling with her cat, told the Associated Press. The cat was so excited during the flight, she said, she had given it a sedative to help it through the tense landing.

Jet Blue is similar to many European budget airlines. Based in New York, it is five years old and operates a fleet of 81 Airbus A320s, flying to destinations in 13 states in the US and the Caribbean.

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