TAM Airlines avoids crash landing at JFK

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 27, 2012 3:06 AM GMT
    Per The New York Post:


    It was a miracle on Runway 31L.

    Frightened passengers braced for a crash landing at Kennedy Airport today when the nose gear failed on their flight from Rio de Janeiro.

    But the gear on the Airbus A330 amazingly locked into the correct position as the plane was just 50 feet above the runway.

    β€œIt was like the hand of God turned the wheel,” said a Port Authority rescuer who was part of the disaster response crew put in place for the incident.

    None of the 190 people aboard TAM Airlines Flight 8078 were hurt β€” despite getting the fright of their lives.


    The following shot IS of TAM Airlines Flight 8078, taken by an aviation enthusiast:

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    Sep 27, 2012 3:52 AM GMT
    CBUS_NOLA said TAM Airlines avoids crash landing at JFK
    Well let's just hope that's not the only airline that does that.
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    Sep 27, 2012 6:06 AM GMT
    Much ado about nothing:

    1). NOSE GEAR NOT LOCKED LANDING. I'm a defense lawyer for the airline industry and know a bit about aviation in general. There have been dozens of unlocked nose gear landings of large commercial airliners. Perhaps the most memorable recent one is the JetBlue incident,

    VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjNWzPfGWrU

    PROTOCOL: The pilot dumps or burns most of the fuel, slows the plane more than usual, then "rides" the rears as much as possible, at 46 seconds the plane slowly taps the front gear. Within a few seconds you see flames/fire, but this is just the tires heating up and burning, no cause for concern, it won't melt or weaken the steel support. Then you'll notice the plane taking longer than usual to come to a stop, the pilot intentionally did NOT blast the reverse thrusters and/or slam on the brakes because when you do that the "load" of the plane bounces forward, and you want to avoid this on a faulty front nose gear (bouncing the plane increases the load times 3x).

    2). NOSE GEAR UP LANDING. Even if the front gear collapsed, which is highly unlikely, or hadn't come down at all, much more likely, then the plane simply would have scratched its nose and chin. It's called a "nose gear up landing." It could be a heck of a sparks show, but would not cause a structural collapse or pose any real danger.

    VIDEO: Here's a video of a passenger 727 doing just that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TDCjhp3Wfk

    PROTOCOL: Here again, the pilot "rides" the rear gears, slowing the plane as much as possible, but instead of falling on a faulty gear he hits the plane's nose/chin at 45 seconds. Differently here, since there's no risk of snapping the front gear (since it never deployed), the pilot slams on the reverse thrusters and brakes (not to mention the extra friction caused by the plane's nose scraping the runway), and the plane stops within 9 seconds (notice the intense smoke from the rear brakes as well). Again, nose gear up landings happen routinely in larger and smaller planes, and are generally not newsworthy.

    3). GEAR UP LANDING. If EITHER of the rear landing gears won't come down and lock, then you retract all gear and land the plane on its belly. This is more uncommon, since most problems concern the front gear (it's an inherent design problem because for taxiing purposes it has to rotate/turn, and is thus more prone to problems).

    VIDEO: Here's a video of this being done successfully to a passenger plane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afy3LMs5jE0

    PROTOCOL: The major issue here is trying to touch down both sides of the plane (usually on its engines) at nearly the SAME time to prevent cartwheeling.

    In short, it's much ado about nothing. Your major concerns when you're in the air are (1) pilot error (accounting for more than 2/3s of all fatalities), (2) complete hydrolics failure (resulting in an inability to steer, you're dead in the water, so to speak), (3) fire (toxic smoke inhalation or short circuiting of the plane's electronic primary and backup systems), (4) sabotage (explosive detonation).

    In short, you're probably not going to die from an airplane's mechanical malfunction, especially a routine landing gear problem. Though it creates great photo-ops because you always know it's coming and happens at ground level.

  • groundcombat

    Posts: 945

    Sep 27, 2012 3:22 PM GMT
    Re Svnw688,

    I agree that it's not THAT big of a deal but any inflight emergency is inherently a little scary. If for no other reason than that the entire cabin tends to panic. About 10 years ago I was on a flight that threw a compressor blade on one of the engines. We made an emergency landing under normal landing conditions (ie no brace positions required) but when the smoke started venting into the cabin everyone lost their minds in panic. Now as I pilot myself I knew a plane can land perfectly safely with one working engine but the chaos that ensued was still pretty terrifying.
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    Sep 27, 2012 4:18 PM GMT
    it was like god saved them... after almost killing them... praise be he!