Smoke In The Cockpit
United Flight 497 Makes A Challenging Landing
By Mike Mitchell
The above audio should start automatically. The file has been edited for time and length. It includes full exchange between ATC and United Flight 497. The audio is about 20 minutes long.
April 6, 2011 - On Tuesday United Airlines Flight 497
was cleared to depart Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport (MSY) with 106 passengers and crew
onboard an Airbus 320-232 (N409UA) at about 7:07 AM for
About 10 minutes into the flight, while climbing through
4,000 feet, the pilot of Flight 497 initially indicated
to ATC that they were getting automated warnings and
detected smoke in the cockpit and had request to return
back to the airport.
Moments later the pilot informed ATC that the cockpit was filling up with smoke, they had lost power to their primary instruments, declared an emergency and were flying with 32,400 LBS of fuel onboard. Crew indicated that they initiated emergency procedures and requested a precision approach radar (PAR) to the landing runway.
ATC approved the PAR landing and began providing verbal guidance (vectors) to the pilot with turns and decent instructions back to the airport.
had requested the longest runway which was runway 10. ATC then
ordered the airport maintenance ground crew that was doing
runway maintenance work on runway 10 to clear their maintenance
vehicles of the runway. The maintenance crew attempted to move
their vehicles but did not have enough time. On a two mile
final approach Flight 497 was cleared for runway 19. ATC gave Flight 497 their last
instructions, cleared to land. ATC then informed the emergency
fire equipment crew that they were cleared onto the
runway after Flight 497 had landed.
landing, the crew experienced a loss of anti-skid braking and
nose-wheel steering, and exited the runway approximately 2,000
feet from the approach threshold.
Dan Bower an NTSB technical expert in systems and survival factors has been signed to lead the NTSB investigation. Additional NTSB experts in the areas of operations, maintenance records, vehicle performance, and flight recorders will also assist.
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