Aviation News

January 12, 2010

Investigators Probe United Airlines Landing Gear Collapse At Newark

(Photo by Bill Striffler, used with permission)
(Photo by Bill Striffler, used with permission)
Flightpath

United Flight 634 flightpath (Courtesy of FlightAware)

United Airlines Airbus A319 reg N816UA at Newark

(Photo by Bill Striffler)

Investigators are continuing their investigation into why the right main landing gear of a United Airlines Airbus A319 (reg N816UA) collapsed during an emergency landing at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Sunday morning. All 48 passengers and five crew aboard United Flight 634 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) escaped uninjured.

While on approach to Newark, the crew discovered that the right main gear would not deploy properly. After circling for about 30 minutes while unsuccessfully attempting to resolve the problem, passengers were informed of the malfunction and instructed to prepare for a crash landing.

The left main gear was the first to touch down, followed by the nose wheel, before the laws of gravity forced the right engine into the surface of Runway 4L. Sparks and smoke ensued as the metal scraped along the tarmac, but the aircraft continued on a straight line and there was no fire as the plane came to a safe stop.

United Airlines Airbus A319 reg N816UA at Newark

(Photo by Bill Striffler)

Passengers were evacuated and transported to the terminal on buses. Traveler Paul Lasiuk of Chicago told the NY Times, “I’ve had a lot of worse landings at Newark before, it was unbelievably smooth.”

The airport was shut down completely for about 20 minutes following the incident, and Runway 4L/22R was closed for the remainder of the day as investigators inspected the aircraft before moving it. Delays of over an hour were reported, and some flights were diverted to nearby airports, including an American Airlines 737-800 which made a rare visit to JFK Airport.

The incident came exactly a week after the airport was shut down due to a security breach in Terminal C.

United Airlines Airbus A319 reg N816UA at Newark

(Photo by Senga Butts)