Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Airline, FAA at odds over emergency landing at DFW


View footage and news report
— American Airlines was at odds with the FAA on Monday over what happened on board a Boeing 777 wide body jet that made an emergency landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Sunday night.
A viewer snapped photos of the plane flying low and dumping fuel after taking off for Brazil and circling for an unplanned return to D/FW.
Officials with American say an indicator light suggested the plane's right engine caught fire, but the airline says there was no fire.
The FAA said airport fire-fighters reported spraying foam on the wheels after the plane landed.
The entire event played out in the North Texas sky around 8 o'clock as hundreds, perhaps thousands looked up. Fans at the Texas Rangers game could see it, and some called police reporting a plane on fire.
Within seconds of take-off, pilots of the Boeing 777 knew there was trouble. A panel light indicated a possible engine fire, so they started dumping fuel and making plans for an emergency landing.
Dave Jennings could see it unfolding from his home in Carrollton.
"I looked up and saw it dumping fuel, made a sharp turn over the house, and then back towards the west," he said. "I grabbed my phone cam and took out after it."
Jennings' video shows the plane dumping fuel, as it apparently did for most of its 12-minute flight. Fully loaded for the long trip to Sao Paolo, Brazil, the jet was too heavy to land.
American said after the jet took off heading south, the pilots made a left turn over Irving. Flying at a lower-than-usual altitude, the big jet flew across Interstate 35E, then turned north toward Carrollton before turning back to D/FW for the emergency landing.
Some people along the route said the dumped fuel coated their cars and floated on their pools.
Witnesses couldn't help but worry. "I hope it's fuel they are dumping and not smoke coming out the back," Jennings said.
American Airlines told News 8 there was no engine fire and that it had received no complaints of fuel contamination.
Any residents with legitimate concerns should contact American's customer relations department.
But in conflict with what the airline said, the FAA says fire-fighters reported extinguishing a fire in the jet's right engine.
A spokesman for D/FW Airport said its fire-fighters did use foam, but that it was sprayed on the wheels and brakes; after the plane landed, it was still so heavy that several tires blew out and overheated the brakes.
American said the entire event remains under investigation.
Airline, FAA at odds over emergency landing at D/FW | wfaa.com Dallas - Fort Worth

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