The nose wheel of a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 came off while waiting to depart from Atlanta, Georgia last Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. The venerable 757 is entering its fifth decade of service, with the newest airframes being 20 years old. While the investigation is still in its early stages, Delta maintenance will likely be the focus for federal officials.
Delta Air Lines Flight 982 was scheduled to fly from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia on Saturday. However, the airliner never left the runway for the City of Gold, as an FAA preliminary report succinctly states, “Aircraft during line up and wait, nose wheel came off and rolled down the hill, Atlanta, GA.” The flight was immediately canceled and everyone onboard, including 172 passengers, safely deplaned.
The tower responded, “Roger, thank you. Wheel and tire?”
“The wheel and tire.”
While it’s very fortunate that the wheel came loose before takeoff, it does entertain the possibility that it could have fallen off in the air. Earlier this month, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 had the door plug blow out on its Boeing 737 Max 9 while at 16,000 feet. The plug ended up landing in the yard of a Portland school teacher and no one was injured. It was also fortunate that no one was sitting directly next to the plug as the seat back was sucked out of the cabin.
Boeing 757 airliners have been in service since 1983 and production ended in 2004, so it is highly unlikely that this failure was the result of a design or manufacturing error which initial findings point towards for 737 Max door plugs. This failure will likely point to a service issue.
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