What a landing! Flight 292 is safely down. The pilot kept the plane in perfect control — so perfect that the nose stem left where the tires burned off came to final rest right on the center line of the runway. Incredible piece of flying. 6:20 pm Passengers watched their own story develop on MSNBC. 6:50 pm Some drivers on the 405 pulled over to watch Jet Blue flight 292 pass over on final approach—shades of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase in that famous white Bronco eleven years ago. 7:25 pm
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Jet Blue Emergency
Jet Blue flight 292 took off from Burbank for New York a little after 3 pm and has a serious problem with its nose gear. Channel 4 News says the landing gear got bent out of position and can't be raised or used to land, since it is pointing 90 degrees to the side. A pilot talking to Paul Moyer adds this is "one of those emergencies you don't train for." The Airbus A-320 has been sent over the Pacific to burn off fuel before trying to land somewhere with a very long runway and extensive fire equipment, probably at LAX. The plane may have to circle for several hours, with its flaps and main gear down to increase drag and consume more fuel, because this model has no ability to dump fuel, Channel 4 says. There are 139 (or 140 or 145) people on board. Live on channels 4, 7 and 9 (and now 2, which had stayed with "Dr. Phil," 5, 11 and CNN with a split-screen on Fox News.) Of the anchors killing time on the air, at least Moyer and Hal Fishman on KTLA are pilots and calling on their own experiences. Fishman, for example, just made the point that dumping fuel is not done primarily to avoid fire. It lightens the plane and allows the pilot to land at a slower speed.
Channel 9 says the pilot will try to land on runway 25-L, the southernmost and least-used runway at LAX, after approaching over Los Angeles County. Oddly, the flight tracker at www.jetblue.com has switched the status on flight 292 from diverted to landed.
Channel 5 copter pilot Johnny McCool just noted (at 5:43 pm) that the Airbus pilot might make a pass over LAX without landing, and might also bounce hard on the main landing gear to see if it frees up the nose gear, then circle again. KTLA says the landing will be attempted by 6 pm. [well that didn't happen...]
6 pm: Mayor Villaraigosa is headed to LAX, his office just told the media.
6: 10 p.m. The pilot is coming in over Seal Beach and will make left turns to line up for a 15-mile straight-in approach to runway 25-L. Other SoCal air traffic is giving way, of course.