LOS ANGELES, California(AP) -- A JetBlue airliner with landing gear problems circled the Los Angeles area for more than two hours Wednesday as the pilots dumped fuel over the ocean and officials tried to determine how to make an emergency landing.
The pilots discovered the plane's front wheels were turned sideways and stuck as they tried to retract the gear shortly after takeoff.
The back landing gear was also down as the plane circled, but it appeared to be in the correct position. Officials planned to try to land the aircraft, relying on the back wheels, at Los Angeles International Airport, which has longer runways than surrounding airports and more emergency equipment.
JetBlue Flight 292 left Burbank's Bob Hope Airport at 3:17 p.m. with 139 passengers headed for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, said airline spokesman Bryan Baldwin.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donn Walker said the Airbus A320 was dumping fuel over the Pacific to lighten the plane for an emergency landing.
"After leaving Burbank, pilots reported a landing gear indication light on, meaning there may be a problem or issue with the landing gear," Baldwin said. He said the crew decided to head for a nearby airport to attempt to land.
The plane first circled the Long Beach Airport, about 30 miles south of Burbank, then was cleared to land at Los Angeles, said LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
JetBlue is based in Forest Hills, New York.
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In subsequent reconstructions of the circumstances of the accident in flight simulators, no pilot of any seniority has succeeded in reproducing Fitch's achievement of maneuvering the aircraft as far as the runway, generally losing control in mid air.
Incredible story - on TV from time to time as a movie.
I watched this whole ordeal... Amazing! the pilot and whole staff are heros. The whole time, I was looking for that front gear to bend, give out and watch the front nose dive. IT DID NOT! He flew that in so softly, that the said stuck landing gear stood strong. He saved all passengers, AND the plane. [clapx10]
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Amazing is right. I don't think anyone could have landed that plane any better. It was the pilot who kept the weight off the front landing gear and burned off the tires. An incredible story of disciplined passengers and a superb crew.
One thing I found interesting is that the A320 has no capability of dumping fuel, so the aircraft had to fly around for three hours to burn off enough fuel to reduce landing weight. All this time the passagers were watching their story on live TV.
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