United Plane Forced To Make Emergency Landing On Its Nose In Newark

Passengers on a United Shuttle Air Express jet had a bit of a nerve-wracking experience last night, as the plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Newark Airport after the front landing gear failed to deploy. The pilot was able to bring the plane down safely, eventually, with its nose resting on the pavement.

“On approach, the flight crew was not able to confirm that the nose gear had deployed correctly,” said a statement by Indianapolis-based Shuttle America, which operates the shuttle on behalf of United Express. “After receiving confirmation from Newark Air Traffic Control that the nose gear was not down, the crew declared an emergency.”

The New Jersey Star-Ledger says some passengers were pretty freaked out by the ordeal.

“We just thought it was the end,” said one man aboard the flight, which originated in Atlatana. “I just sent a text to my sons letting them know that I loved them, and I hoped everything worked out.”

Others weren’t too worried, and said the staff kept everyone calm. As one woman put it, “I’ve had rougher landings than that.”

The plane circled New York before trying to land, and did a flyby over Newark Airport. Once it touched down with its nose up, the nose eventually hit the runway, reportedly filling the plane with smoke and a smell of burning rubber. Foam was applied to the plane and then passengers deplaned via emergency slides.

All 71 people were fine, as the rear landing gear was lowered. That’s the gear that’s most important in landing anyway, says one airline consultant quoted by the paper.

“You typically land on those two back wheels,” he said. “Of all of the emergencies that we would deal with, that’s probably the choice that would be the easiest to deal with.”

The airport shut down for a few hours due to the emergency situation, but reopened a few hours later for business as usual.

Passengers face scary emergency landing at Newark Airport, but pilot guides plane safely to the ground [New Jersey Star-Ledger]

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  1. Cat says:

    That gives you some idea about how truly exciting some days can be around here.

    Holly: [in a deadpan voice] Emergency. There’s an emergency going on.

  2. Cat says:

    That gives you some idea about how truly exciting some days can be around here.

    Holly: [in a deadpan voice] Emergency. There’s an emergency going on.

  3. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    This is why airports should all have Nissan Frontiers on site as standard emergency equipment.

  4. Gordon Comstock says:

    It all sounds very dramatic, but a landing without the nose gear is actually pretty safe, and not as big a deal as many people think. Patrick Smith, the author of the Ask the Pilot column over at Salon, has dealt with stuff like this frequently in his writing.

  5. sirwired says:

    This was truly not a big deal. Failed nosegear deployments happen a few times a year, and they pretty much all end without incident. The airframe is make to take that kind of abuse, and while it may or may not fly again, it won’t turn into a fireball either. (And there are no fuel tanks there either.)

    • FatLynn says:

      My parents were on one once. They said that the crew moved big men (including my father) to all of the exit rows, prepared the passengers by reviewing all of the procedures, and then went in for the landing. When they landed (ultimately with no trouble), there were ambulances and fire trucks lining both sides of the runway.

    • El_Fez says:

      Wait – I thought that every vehicle that crashed instantly turned into a fireball! You mean that Hollywood has been lying to me all this time?!?

  6. fsnuffer says:

    A friend of mine was on a US Scare jet that had a main gear collapse on roll out. He said that was scary but what bothered him was all the clowns blocking the aisle trying to get their carry on before they jumped out onto the chutes

  7. ClemsonEE says:

    Drama queen: “We just thought it was the end,” said one man aboard the flight, which originated in Atlatana. “I just sent a text to my sons letting them know that I loved them, and I hoped everything worked out.

    Maybe Atlatana is in another country or people from Atlanta, are just overly dramatic.

  8. bendee says:

    “United Shuttle Air Express”

    There’s a United Airlines, their regional jet and turboprop subsidiary United Express, and their former low cost subsidiary Shuttle by United. Pick one.

  9. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Most airplanes will survive a single emergency, such as landing gear not opening, or someone’s mom on board. It’s when there’s a mom on board and another emergency at the same time that people die.

  10. scoosdad says:

    Question for all you airplane experts out there: Don’t they “foam the runway” anymore in these kinds of incidents? Or is that more dangerous than just letting friction take over and slow the plane down and hope nothing seriously burns?

    • somedaysomehow says:

      From the article excerpt above:

      “Foam was applied to the plane and then passengers deplaned via emergency slides.”

      • scoosdad says:

        Foam was applied to the plane and the area immediately around it after it landed but before the passengers got out. That was just to cool off the hot parts of the plane and make sure nothing caught fire at that point.

        I was asking about the practice of spreading foam on the runway before the plane lands, to lessen the friction during landing and keep sparks from setting something on fire.

  11. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Sounds like they need more regulations on planes in ‘Atlatana’.

  12. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    BUT WAT ABOUT MY LUGGAGE????

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    GAH! Why are these stories always about the airline I’m flying on my next trip? Oh well, if this happens to me at least I’ll get to ride the slide thing. Whee!

    I’m surprised no one got fined for using their phone during the landing. “Sir, you are not allowed to use that electronic device to text your family….I don’t care that we’re all gonna die! Put it away!”

  14. El_Fez says:

    Yeah, but did they grab beer as they hit the emergency sides?

  15. Clyde Barrow says:

    Oh yeah? well back in the day in WWII we flew a B29 Superfortress and we landed on our nose and WE LIKED IT!

  16. Ed says:

    He texted his sons? That is why the landing gear didn’t deploy. His cell phone was interfering with aircraft operations!

  17. papastevez says:

    Atlatana must be a really small airport. I couldn’t even find it on google maps.