Two Narrowbodies Go Slip Slidin' Away
The December '08 holiday travel season will likely go down in
the books as one of the more troublesome for airline passengers
around the country. In addition to horror stories of people camped
out in terminals nationwide due to weather-related delays and
cancellations, at least four jets will likely be out of commission
for awhile following relatively minor incidents Wednesday.
American Airlines had particularly rotten luck at Chicago's
O'Hare International, as not one but two of its MD-80 series
airliners suffered problems within about 20 minutes of each other.
The Associated Press reports Flight 1544 to Reagan National Airport
near Washington, DC skidded off the pavement at around 7:15 pm as
it taxied into position for takeoff on Runway 22-Left.
The aircraft came to rest with left maingear and nosewheels in
the grass. None of the 54 passengers and five crewmembers onboard
were injured, and American routed passengers on other flights.
A slightly more serious incident occurred earlier in the
evening. An American MD-82 operating as Flight 1235 to St. Louis
turned back to the airport about five minutes after takeoff, when a
loud bang came from one of the aircraft's two aft-mounted
turbofans. The plane's pilots declared an emergency, and the flight
landed without incident at O'Hare about 15 minutes later.
"We were about maybe a minute or two into the flight, and we
heard a loud bang that we thought was landing gear," one passenger
told WLS-7. "But then the plane kind of tilted a little bit and
shuddered a little bit, and then the pilot came on about 10 seconds
later and said our right engine had gone out, had blown, and we
were going to turn around and make an emergency landing back at
About two hours later, the crew of a United Airlines Boeing 757
inbound to O'Hare declared an emergency due to unspecified
mechanical trouble... the third emergency call for O'Hare ground
crews of the evening. Flight 766 from Santa Ana, CA landed
About 150 miles west of Chicago, an AirTran Airways Boeing 717
skidded off the runway at Quad Cities International Airport in
Moline, IL after landing Wednesday morning. The Orlando Sentinel
reports the aircraft's right maingear and nosewheel slid off
the pavement as the jet was while turning onto a
taxiway. None of the 116 persons onboard the flight from Florida