Sunday, September 12, 2010

JetBlue Airbus A320 landed with parking brake engaged, says NTSB

by B. N. Sullivan

JetBlue A320The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report on an incident last month involving an Airbus A320-232 aircraft operated by JetBlue Airways.  On  August 26, 2010, the aircraft (registration N590JB) flew from Daugherty Field, Long Beach, CA (LGB) to Sacramento International Airport (SMF), operating as Flight JBU 262.  Shortly after landing at Sacramento, a fire erupted in the area of the main landing gear, prompting the crew to carry out an emergency evacuation of the aircraft on the runway.  The NTSB found that the aircraft's parking brake was engaged during the landing.

From the NTSB preliminary report:
According to the flight crew, the flight and approach to runway 16R were normal.  The first officer was the flying pilot.

On touchdown, the airplane began a rapid deceleration, and the first officer remarked to the captain that it felt like a main landing gear tire blew out.  About this time, air traffic control tower personnel reported observing sparks and smoke in the area of the main landing gear.  The captain took control of the airplane.  He maintained directional control, and the airplane came to a stop about 2,000 feet from the touchdown point.

The captain directed the first officer to initiate the ground evacuation Quick Reference Checklist up to the evacuation decision point.  At that time, air traffic control tower personnel confirmed smoke and fire was still visible around the main landing gear.  Based on this information the captain elected to evacuate the airplane.

Crash fire rescue personnel and equipment responded to the airplane, which had stopped on the runway.  According to the flight crew and flight attendants, a swift and orderly evacuation was performed via emergency evacuation slides at the L1, R1, and L2 doors.

The airplane was subsequently examined by the operator and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel.  Airplane damage was limited to four deflated main landing gear tires and ground down wheel rims.  The main landing gear tires showed evidence of being locked on touchdown.  Ground damage was limited to minor grazing to the runway's surface.

According to airplane recorded flight data, the parking brake had become engaged during the landing approach approximately 5,100 feet mean sea level, and it remained engaged throughout the landing.  During interviews with the flight crew, neither pilot recalled any abnormal indications or warnings associated with the braking system prior to landing. [NTSB ID: WPR10IA430]
Seven of the 86 passengers on board sustained minor injuries during the evacuation process.  The two pilots and three flight attendants were not injured.

It is still unclear how the parking brake became engaged during flight. The investigation is continuing.

[Photo Source]