Investigations

Investigation into Airbus landing gear

Monday, October 01, 2012

After a frightening landing at JFK by an Airbus plane, an Eyewitness News investigation discovered several Airbus landing gear problems over the past decade.

To some aviation experts, last week's precautionary landing at JFK of an aircraft with its nose gear stuck sideways seemed liked Déją vu.

"This is not a new issue, this goes back years," said Justin Green, of Kreindler and Kreindler.

Pilot and aviation attorney Justin Green says Airbus has made news before with the exact same problem.

In 2005, a JetBlue Airbus 320 headed for JFK had to make a tense emergency landing in Los Angeles with its wheel stuck in a 90 degree angle.

And, in 2002, again a JetBlue Airbus declared an emergency after the JFK tower revealed the plane's nose wheels were turned 90 degrees.

"We have a clearly defined problem, it's not caused by many different things, but happens over and over again," Green said.

Eyewitness News' search of an FAA data base finds that since 2002 there have been 19 incidents of nose gear landing problems involving Airbus planes, mostly A-320's.

Four of those cases specifically involved the nose gear wheel turned at a 90 degree angle.

But last week's incident was the first involving an Airbus 330 and in this case, when the plane touched down, unlike in all the other cases, the wheel corrected itself.

The spokesman for Airbus says it, "Indicates that it was not a structural problem".

He says the "A-330 and A-320's are completely different animals" and it would be like "comparing a Ford truck to a Ford Escape".

While Airbus denies a connection, some experts wonder if it's the first indication of a nose wheel problem with the A-330's.

"The big question is what are they going to do now that they've had another incident," Green said.

Airbus says they are investigating the incident but believe the incident last week is limited to that one aircraft and not systemic.

They also say there have been no other problems with the 320's nose gear after Airbus changed the software.

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Tags:
emergency landing, jetblue, jfk international airport, investigations, jim hoffer
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