Yesterday, sixty passengers of Delta Flight 4951, an Airbus A320-232, just had a harrowing experience when their plane had a malfunction on its right landing gear and had to make an emergency landing. The gear was stuck and could not be lowered down.
The pilot reported the plane’s condition to the John F. Kennedy Airport’s control tower and was advised to land at Runway 31. As the plane landed, sparks flew off the plane’s right side as the right wing tip touches the ground but the pilot manages to put the plane to a stop within the runway area. Passengers began to troop out from emergency exits unto the runway as ambulances and fire trucks race towards the plane.
The fire trucks were readied in case the plane’s 3000 gallon fuel catches fire and the area was evacuated momentarily. Luckily, the plane did not explode. The passengers were all unhurt but were shocked because of the experience. When interviewed by the press later on the pilot seemed to have never left his cool during the landing process. Investigations are now being done as to why the landing gear was stuck.
Still image from an amateur video shot by Alessandro Albera; sparks fly from starboard side of Delta flight 4951 as it emergency lands at JFK Airport
The flight was set to travel from Atlanta City to New York and had to make a stop at the JFK Airport when the problem occurred. The plane was a Delta Connection flight managed by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a regional subsidiary of Delta Airlines based in Atlanta, Georgia.
The air traffic controller at JFK Airport was speaking to the pilot of the A320-232 Delta Flight 4951. “I understand you have your right gear stuck down,” the tower said.
“The right gear is stuck up,” the pilot said. “The other two are down.” The pilot remained as calm as if he were Chesley Sullenberger’s twin as the tower offered him a choice of runways. “Whichever one would be better for you all,” he said.
They decided on Runway 31 Right. The tower confirmed that there were 64 people aboard and inquired about the remaining fuel.
“We are making our approach,” the pilot said.
“4951, it’s been confirmed the gear is stuck up?” the tower asked.
“As far as we know the gear is stuck up,” the pilot said.
The tower gave him some speed and altitude instructions.
“Tower, thanks for your help, 4951.”
The tower notified the specially trained firefighters of the Port Authority Police Department.
“Attention all emergency equipment response, call Runway 31 Right.”
The rescuers stood ready. Extra manpower was available because of the influx of dignitaries for the UN General Assembly.
“4951, you’re cleared to land. Emergency equipment will be standing at midfield as a precautionary measure,” the tower informed the pilot.
The pilot was as calm as ever. He spoke what might have been some of his very last words.
“4951 roger and, uh better work,” the pilot said.
The tower radioed a reminder to the firefighters as they watched the lights of the plane descending out of the night.
“Rescue 1, there are 64 souls on board and 3,000 gallons of fuel.”
The lights kept descending until the plane touched down. Suddenly, the aircraft tipped to the right and a mass of sparks flared as the tip of the right wing scraped along the runway.
The fuel is in the wings and the rescuers were ready for the worst, but there was no explosion, no fireballs as the plane came to rest.
In the next instant, the 60 passengers and four crew members began to evacuate the A320-232 aircraft and the rescuers were there to assist them. All 64 were unhurt as they sat on the grass beside the runway where the pilot had decided to make the landing.
“It was better than the Hudson,” the pilot said.
Filed under: News | Tagged: Airbus A320-232, Delta Flight 4951, John F. Kennedy Flight 4951 | Leave a Comment »