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Plane's wheel problem leads to scary, but safe, landing

Associated Press
Published September 22, 2005

LOS ANGELES - A JetBlue airliner with faulty landing gear touched down safely Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport after circling the region for three hours with its front wheels turned sideways, unable to be retracted into the plane.

The pilot landed by balancing on the back wheels, then eased onto the front tires, which shot flames along the runway before tearing off. The metal landing gear scraped for the final several yards.

The landing was made at an auxiliary runway. Firetrucks and emergency crews massed near the runway to help the 139 passengers and six crew members.

Within minutes of landing, the plane's door was opened and passengers walked down a stairway onto the tarmac, where buses waited. No injuries were immediately reported, fire officials said.

JetBlue flight 292 left Bob Hope Airport in Burbank at 3:17 p.m. for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The Airbus A320 first circled the Long Beach Airport, then was cleared to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

It stayed in flight to burn off fuel and lighten its weight, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

[Last modified September 22, 2005, 01:04:14]

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