Root Cause Found in Plane That Suffered Wheel Collapse

The problem was traced back to a broken pin.

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WASHINGTON (AP) β€” Investigators say a pin broke inside the left landing gear of an Alaska Airlines jet that came to rest on one of the engines after landing in California last month.

The two pilots discussed the need for a "firm" landing during Tropical Storm Hilary, and the captain felt a "firm jolt feeling" when the plane touched the runway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.

Data from the plane indicated, however, that the touchdown force was within the airline's limits, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report Monday.

The pilots told investigators that cockpit indicators showed both main landing gear and the nose gear were in the down and locked position. After the plane landed, the captain told the co-pilot that it felt like the plane had a flat tire on the left side, and the crew noticed the plane listing to the left.

When the captain stopped the plane on a taxiway, he opened a window and saw the plane resting on the housing surrounding the left engine. The pilots shut down both engines, and passengers exited on the taxiway.

No injuries were reported among the 106 passengers and six crew members on the Aug. 20 flight, the NTSB said.

The NTSB said its examination found that a trunnion pin in the left landing gear had broken, and the gear assembly punched through the top of the left wing. The board said it will continue to investigate the incident.


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