9.22.2005

Crippled Jetliner Skids to Safety in Los Angeles

Breaking News Yesterday afternoon, JetBlue flight 292 took off from Burbank, heading for JFK International in New York. The jet was loaded with 30,000 pounds of fuel for the cross-country flight. However, upon takeoff, the pilot realized that something was wrong with the front landing gear. He immediately called in a distress call. A fly-by showed that the hydraulic mechanism to lower the front gear had malfunctioned. Instead of being aligned front-to-back with the jet, it was turned 90 degrees from the norm! There was no way that this jet could land normally; at the best the crippled gear would shear off upon landing, sending the nose into the ground and skidding the massive aircraft across the runway. The pilot flew to the LA airport, where the runway is 10,000 feet long. When you're stopping without brakes, you want a lot of skidway under you. He circled for over three hours, trying to burn off fuel, since an Airbus 320 cannot dump excess fuel. They wanted as little high-octane fuel as possible in case of fire upon landing. Final approach. The pilot lowered the rear wheels to the ground, and the jet sped along the runway at a terrific speed. Slowly and carefully, the nose was lowered until the front wheels began to scrape along the ground. Plumes of smoke rose as the rubber burned against the asphalt. The wheels burned down to the metal, and a gigantic plume of flame (see photo at right) erupted from the gear, searing the belly of the speeding jet. The captain held the burning gear against the ground and reversed the engines. The wheels burned lower and lower. Any moment, they were sure that the gear would snap off entirely. At the reduced speed that they were going, this would send the nose of the plane diving into the tarmac. Everyone watching television and listening to the radio breathed a collective sigh of relief as the flames subsided and the damaged jet slowed, then stopped. With the front wheels a puddle of rubber around the smashed front gear, the captain wiped his forehead, then began turning off the controls. I can imagine the words of the passengers as the flight attendant informed them that "it is now safe to turn on cellphones," and the shuttle wheeled out to pick up the passengers. "Well, hon, the landing was a bit bumpy, but we're down in LA. You can pick me up in about thirty minutes." Praise the Lord! You can bet that there were no atheists aboard that plane when it was all said and done. In Him, D3

5 comments:

Kristin said...

WOW! I heard about this yesterday and I'm glad they landed safely.

Ashley said...

We watched it land and I think everyone in the room was holding their breaths. It was intense.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are sounding more like news blips -- a bit mediocre one might say. Whence your creativity?

MVB said...

Yeah, my family was trying to watch the LOST season premiere and mom kept changing the channel to see if the jet had landed safely. Pretty scary for a while, but the pilots did a good job.

Was that comment meant to be encouraging? Sometimes news stories are the most interesting things to talk about, see what others thought of an incident, etc...

David S. MacMillan III said...

Your posts are sounding more like news blips -- a bit mediocre one might say. Whence your creativity?

It's true that a lot of my articles lately have been dealing with news . . . probably because there has been a lot of news to cover lately!

I was watching CNN Wednesday night, and one of the reporters said that "this night is one of the most intense I can remember: we are covering a major tornado in downtown Minneapolis, a Cat 5 Hurricane in the Gulf Coast, massive gridlock in the Houston area as people are trying to get out, and a potential disaster as Flight 292 is trying to land at LAX."

Today's average American gets bombarded with media day and night. When I write news stories, I try to consolidate a lot of the fluff that we hear into a basic outline of what is happening in the world around us, and add a conservative, Christian viewpoint.

At the moment, I have about 5 non-news-related stories that I want to write. However, I think that people would rather hear a concise report on major events in the news than my apologetics articles. :-)

Soon, I will be creating a "Contact" page with an email address where you can send me news stories or ideas for an article that you'd like to see published.

In the meantime, what ideas do you have for articles YOU'd like to see?