I happened to have been on this evening's 7pm departure from Ord to Lga. The flight was on an AA
M80. Overall the flight was pretty good and we were even going to come in a few minutes early to LGA
. However about a mile out from the airport, after feeling the gear go down, we roared back up into the air. I thought it was just a simple go-around. I fly regularly so I don't get worried about many things. However what happened after what I thought was a go around really did scare me.
The pilot got on the PA and said that the right main landing gear light wasn't turning on. They thought it was an indicator malfunction but since they could not be sure it was possible that the gear wasn't down. We circled around New York for about 15 minutes. At which point the F/O made his way back to the cabin around where I was sitting in row 24 and proceeded to rip up the carpet in the aisle, open a latch and start to turn things in it. He sat there with what looked like an M80 technical manual and a flashlight. When he returned to the cockpit the pilot announced that they still could not fix the problem and would have to assume that the gear was not coming down. He notified us that we were diverting to JFK
due to the longer runway and that there would be emergency vehicles awaiting our landing. We flew into the pattern for JFK
, and came down on the runway on the side of the Delta Terminal (I forget the numbering). The whole time I was sitting waiting to feel the wheels hit the runway to assure that they were there. I was really sitting there praying it was just the indicator light. We came in a bit hard, and a little on our left side because the pilot wasn't sure if the right landing gear was deployed. Sure enough it turned out to be an indicator light and the wheels were down. He used mostly reverse thrust to stop the aircraft, and we used a good deal of that long runway. When the plane slowed down everyone in the cabin clapped and was just happy to be on the ground.
We ended up sitting on the runway for 20 minutes because the gear doors were still open due to the emergency. We had to wait until they were closed by maintenance's in order to taxi to the gate. I have to admit that I was pretty scared for a while. I wasn't sure how it was going to play out. I must give a lot of credit to the Captain, F/O and the crew for handling the situation in a calm and professional manner. They really performed their jobs well tonight. I shook the Captain's hand and thanked him for getting us down. He smiled but he did look a little frazzled. I don't think this will make the news, but it was still a pretty scary event to me.