Tonight's JBU292 incident (still in progress as I write this) should serve as an excellent example of widespread media idiocy, and the effect that media misconceptions have on the public.
The main thread on Anet has been moving so fast that most folks are not even reading responses, and as a result, the same questions are getting asked over and over.
A few basics, in the context of an airline operation...
-The flight was BUR
, and thus heavy with fuel for the long flight.
-If you can't retract the gear, you're not going to fly on to your distant destination of JFK
. The additional drag would run you out of fuel long before JFK
. (See Hapag Lloyd's A310 at VIE
some years ago.)
-They can't dump fuel, as the A320 has no fuel dump system installed, nor is one needed. This is an automatic assumption that the media makes--all aircraft can dump fuel. Nope!
-The aircraft can't return to BUR
. Runways are too short.
has one of two main runways closed, so they're down to one. SAN
, and LGB
are also essentially single runway airports, and should you divert to one of these places, the airport then closes completely.
are seldom-used airports that could handle the flight's landing, but the airline preferred LAX
due its ARFF capabilities.
are also possibilties, and would sure solve the problem of the media helos. ARFF should be just as good as LAX
-ARFF folks don't normally "foam" runways (like they always seem to do in the movies) as spark suppression isn't always a sure thing, and the foam can adversely affect the aircraft's handling on the runway (think slippery runways.) This is another media assumption--runways are always foamed. Nope!
-Foaming a thin portion on the runway right along the centerline could be helpful in this case, not for spark supression, but for lubrication. After they get the main gears on, and get the nose gear on, the foam may be enough lubrication to allow the aircraft to bleed off speed and minimize the chance of the nose gear digging in and snapping off, with the fuselage hitting the runway abruptly.
-Sometime, nose gears do snap. AWA has one do so with an A320 that landed at PHX
a few years ago, and other than a few evacuation-related injuries, nobody was hurt.
-Numerous jetliners have landed partial gear-up over the years, and while abnormal, it's not the imminent doom scenario that the media is hyping. As the A320 circles, burning fuel, the greater danger in the area is from all the damn media helos buzzing around.
-You can bet your life on the fact that the various media outlets will look for any real/imagined "expert" they can.
-Finally, you can just just about ignore anything you see on TV
. Some of it may indeed be "factual" but they don't understand the context of much of anything...
And now, they just landed, and rolled out, all without collapsing the nose gear, and without the airplane blowing up. I hope the media's not too disappointed...
[Edited 2005-09-22 03:41:10]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.