Breaking News: JetBlue Flight In Midair Crisis

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KABC Los Angeles is reporting a JetBlue Flight 292 bound for New York’s JFK that took off from Burbank is circling Long Beach with it’s landing gear stuck in the down position. The AP is reporting that the front wheels are stuck in the sideways position – useless for landing. The two back gears are extended and locked.

Paul adds: The classic decision here is to either land on the back 2 wheels and hold the nose up as long as possible OR (as odd as it sounds) try to get all the wheels up and do a belly landing. It might be counterintuitive but a belly landing often works better than you wold think.

The plane is an A300B A320* and I have no idea what is the best guesstimated procedure for that craft but that’s what they are debating as we speak.
(I’m going to do some research)

The basic procedure goes like this:

Burn/dump a large hunk of fuel.
Decide on how to bring the thing down.
Circle while you burn off every ounce of fuel you can.
Pray.

*Kev tells me via phone it is an A320 which is important because a 320 can’t dump fuel. They’ll likely be up there a few hours burning fuel.

Kevin adds: All JetBlue flights offer DirecTV at every seat. I wonder if the passengers are watching the flight on one of the cable news channels?

Paul adds: It looks like the front wheel is stuck… That means they come in on the mains. CNN just said they are going to land in 5 minutes (8:25 ET) so they went to commercial.

The LA Times reports that they did a fly-by at Long Beach (jetBlue’s west coast hub) earlier this afternoon. The flight is carrying 139 passengers and a crew of 6.

Update (9:25 ET): The plane is down safely. This is as dramatic as it got.

Here’s the landing video.

Paul That pilot rocks– Perfect “soft field” landing. The front gear did not even shear. He ripped the front wheels off the thing but didn’t shear the gear. Hell of a job.

Kevin adds:: NBC had exclusive video from inside the flight this morning, via a passenger’s digital camcorder. Passengers were watching the drama unfold over the three hours they were in the air on the in-seat television screens, which had to be completely surreal for them. The DirecTV feeds were not turned off until 10 minutes before landing – which is standard practice on all jetBlue flights.

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