Delta Jet Loses Wheel Upon Takeoff

( – A Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Bogota was grounded after its wheel detached during take-off. The incident happened at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport while the plane was waiting in line for departure. A crew member reportedly alerted the pilot that a nose wheel had “rolled away,” and he responded with a radio call, saying, “Tower, it sounds like we have a problem.”

Nobody was hurt in the incident, and the aircraft returned to service the next day, but it will nevertheless likely place extra pressure on Boeing executives, who are already under fire. The Boeing 757 went out of production in 2004, and the one involved in this incident is 32 years old. Nonetheless, it is the second Boeing aircraft to experience a safety failure in two weeks.

An Alaska Airlines flight was forced into an emergency landing in Portland in January when a door detached immediately after take-off. The Boeing 737 Max 9 model was grounded in the US and other countries, causing hundreds of flight cancellations. Boeing’s president and chief executive, Dave Calhoun, acknowledged his company’s responsibilities and promised improvements. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is investigating what went wrong but has itself faced criticisms over its commitment to safety.

In 2019, an investigation found that the FAA had given too much oversight to Boeing and did not adequately review the new automated safety system in Boeing’s 737 Max. The agency commissioned a review following hundreds of deaths in air disasters in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Two Boeing 737 Max flights crashed, and the investigation focused on computer software called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Intended to simplify flying, the system’s sensors failed on these flights, and the pilots could not control the plane.

An investigation report accused the FAA of “limited involvement” in ensuring safety, “inadequate awareness” of the software system, and an “inability to provide an independent assessment.” An international panel of aviation experts produced the report.

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