Federal experts to investigate double-tire blowout at Sacramento International Airport
Posted by Xeno on December 28, 2011
Federal inspectors are en route this morning to Sacramento International Airport to investigate the cause of an unusual double-tire blowout on a Southwest Airlines jet Tuesday night.
Flight 2287 to Seattle with 130 passengers aborted take-off at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, airline officials said, after two tires blew on the runway. No injuries were reported.
The Boeing 737 has been towed from the taxi-way. Airport officials say they’ve inspected the runway and found no debris or other potential cause for the blowout.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said blowouts are rare, but not unheard of.
“They can result from mechanical problems in the wheels, structural failure of the tires themselves or debris on the runway,” the FAA’s Ian Gregor said. “Tires can also blow if a pilot applies the brakes hard. At this point, we don’t know if the blown tires were the reason for the aborted takeoff or the result of a takeoff that was aborted for other reasons.
“We’ll work with the airline to determine what happened and to ensure the problem is corrected before the plane is returned to service,” Gregor said.
Airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. Southwest Airlines is also expected to conduct an investigation.
It was the second tire blowout at the airport in a little more than a year. In August 2010, four tires popped and the brakes caught fire on a JetBlue flight from Long Beach during a hard landing. …
None of the 9 million passengers per year using the Sacramento Airport were injured due to tire blowouts. On the other hand, if a pilot can cause tires to blow out by hitting the brakes too hard, that seems like a design flaw. Perhaps flat tires slow you down more, but if that was the intent, a separate “Blow out the tires” button would make more sense.