Thursday, September 22, 2005

jetBlue. French airplane steers waaaaay left

Last night, on every channel, the story of a dramatic landing of a jetBlue Airbus320 made the newscast with multitudes of helicopters and "expert" commentators.

Third hand, I offer via link, a jetBlue pilot's synopsis; and then, my own description.
I spend some fun time at home hanging out on aviation forums. As unique as this situation was, it was not the first time it happened. What occurred was actually the planned series of events.

Judging by the comments from a jetBlue pilot who posted, there is a seperate nose wheel steering/braking control computer. As the landing gear are retracted, the computer auto-centers the wheel assembly. Pointing straight ahead, it fits into its little low-drag hiding place. If that computer fails:

A. The gear will not retract
B. The wheel assembly will rotate so that it is perpendicular to the aircraft's direction of travel. So you say, that sounds weird, why would it do that?

Airbus long ago surmised, and it makes perfect sense to me, that grinding the nose gear to a nub was preferable to a fast an uncontrollable turn in whatever direction on landing. Ugh.

So what is my point. Look at Air America Radio (ht: Michelle Malkin) or Cindy Sheehan (previous post). Even Justice Ginsberg (ht: Radio Blogger). If you steer too hard to the left, you don't get closer to your goal; you just get smoke, fire, a heck of a story on the news, and the grateful prayers of millions that nothing more happened.


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