Sunday, January 10, 2010

United Airlines Airbus A319 accident at Newark

by B. N. Sullivan

UA 634A United Airlines Airbus A319 made an emergency landing at Newark-Liberty International Airport (EWR) this morning after its right main landing gear failed to deploy properly. The aircraft (registration N816UA) landed on its left main gear and nose gear, and came to a rest with its right wingtip touching the ground, according to news reports. The five crew members and 48 passengers on board evacuated the aircraft on the runway using emergency slides. No injuries have been reported.

According to a report about the accident by the Aviation Safety Network, the A319-131 aircraft, operating as United flight UAL 634 from Chicago-O'Hare International Airport to Newark, aborted its first approach to EWR after receiving an unsafe gear indication:
The flight was expected to land at Newark about 09:00 local time. While on finals, about 08:54 the crew apparently experienced problems getting the undercarriage down and locked. The crew carried out a missed approach and climbed to an altitude of 2000 feet. The flight circled the area West of the airport before a new approach was carried out to runway 04L.
Two photos from the scene were posted to Twitpic by @NYCinvestigates (Jim Hoffer), including the one above, which shows the accident aircraft resting on its number two engine nacelle.

UPDATE Jan. 11, 2010: The New York Daily News reports that the aircraft was removed from the runway at about 5:45 AM this morning.
"There was only minor damage," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters, adding that the right engine covering and wing will need repairs.
Moritz Loew, a director with MSNBC, was a passenger on United flight UA 634 and he wrote an account of his experience on the MSNBC blog, Field Notes. It's an interesting read: A funny thing happened on the way home from CES. He praises both the pilots and flight attendants for the great job they did in keeping everyone safe, so we'll just have to forgive him for saying the A319 was "dumping fuel" while in the holding pattern after the go around. (Wink.)

[Photo Source]