|Were the recent plane incidents warnings?
Obama's plane lands in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The airplane carrying Democratic
presidential candidate Barack Obama made a safe,
unscheduled and precautionary landing in St. Louis on
Monday after a flight control problem arose en route
from Chicago to Charlotte, N.C.
The plane, an MD-80 Midwest charter, experienced a
problem maintaining the proper pitch, or control over
keeping the nose at the necessary angle, as it was
taking off from Chicago, the pilot said.
Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the plane did
not declare an emergency, but simply "requested a
diversion for mechanical issues they called a flight
As the plane was being evaluated on the ground
here, Obama was reading the paper in the front cabin,
but ventured briefly to chat with the press at one
"I just thought we'd spice things up a little bit
today," Obama said, smiling and joking.
The Illinois senator and a small entourage
eventually left the plane and the tarmac to wait out
the maintenance at a local hotel; the North Carolina
trip was postponed until a future date.
Coincidentally, the candidate's impromptu detour
took him to Missouri, a battleground state he hopes to
win in the fall. There was no immediate word on how he
would spend the rest of the day. He has two
fundraisers in Atlanta scheduled for Monday evening.
Upon takeoff from Chicago, passengers had felt the
plane dip briefly, causing a stomach-rolling sensation
as if being in a roller coaster, but the unexpected
movement did not cause visible alarm for the frequent
fliers on the plane.
About an hour later, reporters among the 44
passengers on board were made aware of the problem. A
flight attendant, who was clearing the aisles, told
reporters the plane wasn't heading to North Carolina
Minutes later, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass
came to the back of the plane to inform reporters of a
"minor little problem with the airplane" and said the
plane would make a precautionary landing in St. Louis.
Then, the pilot came on the overhead speaker and
provided more details.
"We detected a little bit of controllability issue
in terms of our ability to control the aircraft in the
pitch, which is the nose up and nose down mode,"
announced the pilot, whose name was not released in
accordance with Midwest policy.
"The autopilot and the aircraft are just fine. As
we descended, whatever was inhibiting our ability has
now been rectified. However, just for safety purposes
we are going to be stopping in St. Louis and making
sure that there's nothing binding our controls. We
have full authority of the aircraft. We will not need
to brace. It will be a normal landing," he said.
The landing at 9:51 a.m. CDT, was, in fact, normal.
A mechanic was traveling on the plane at the time,
and was inspecting the problem on the ground in St.
Obama, his staff, the Secret Service entourage and
the press sat on the plane for over an hour as it was
being checked out at Signature Flight Support, a
facility which handles private jets, at Lambert
During his visit with reporters, Obama shook his
head "no" when asked if he was worried.
"Anytime a pilot says something's not working the
way it's supposed to, then you make sure you tighten
your seat belt," Obama said. "Everything seemed under
control. The pilots knew what they were doing."
Obama's campaign charter hasn't made a
precautionary landing before.
"This is a first," he said, and then returned to
the front of the plane to confer with staffers.
It was a MD-80 chartered plane:
Mechanic: Obama's Plane
Could Have 'Lost Control' in Anomaly"
Note that Obama's plane was a MIDWEST plane. It looks just
like the MD-80 above.
Sen. Barack Obama’s MD-80 aircraft made a surprise
landing on Monday morning due to "controllability
issues." (Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Published on: July 9, 2008
8 Killed in Small Jet Crash in
By AMY FORLITI
OWATONNA, Minn. (July
31, 2008) - A small
jet crashed Thursday
while preparing to
land at a regional
airport in Minnesota,
killing eight people,
including casino and
When Barack Obama's plane
encountered mechanical problems
during a flight on
Monday, was the presumptive Democratic presidential
candidate in more danger than anyone let on, including
his campaign staff, a major airline, the National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)—or the senator
himself? "Everything seemed under control,"
Obama told reporters
onboard his charter MD-80
after an unscheduled touchdown. "The pilots knew what
they were doing."
But even as the head of the NTSB called
the agency's investigation
of the incident
"extremely serious," a veteran MD-80 flight mechanic
described the onboard irregularity to
PopularMechanics.com as potentially "extremely
Officials at Midwest Airlines, which operates the
campaign charter, said that the plane's pilot was
merely exercising a suitable precaution when he
diverted during a planned flight from Chicago to
Charlotte, N.C., landing safely at Lambert–St. Louis
International Airport at 9:51 am local time. The
pilot's reason: the plane had exhibited
"controllability issues" after encountering turbulence
following takeoff, and the pilot apparently had
difficulty managing the pitch of the aircraft—that is,
the extent to which the nose of the aircraft is
pointed up or down. Pitch is critically important to
aviation safety, as it determines the speed of the
aircraft and its rate of climb or descent.
Examination of the aircraft on the ground revealed
that turbulence had caused an emergency slide located
in the plane's tail section to deploy in flight. The
inflated slide then apparently pressed against
hydraulic lines leading to actuators that move the
elevator at the top of the aircraft's T-shaped tail.
Midwest Airlines downplayed the significance of the
event, releasing a statement that "there was never an
issue as to the safety of the flight." An Obama
campaign spokesman said that the landing was a "minor
and precautionary" step, according to the Associated
Press. The pilot did not declare an emergency when
requesting clearance to the alternate airport.
However, according to a mechanic familiar with MD-80
aircraft, inadvertent deployment of the slide could
have put the airplane at serious risk. Mike Hatfield,
an American Airlines mechanic who has worked on MD-80s
for 20 years, called the slide's deployment "extremely
dangerous" in an interview this afternoon with PM. "If
it had caught on any of the control lines, they would
have lost control of the aircraft," he said.
Hatfield could not remember having heard of a slide
deploying in flight before. Normally, the mechanism is
armed on the ground by a flight attendant at the rear
of the aircraft. If the rearmost door is opened when
the system is engaged, a
pulls a pin from atop a valve on a tank of
compressed gas, inflating the slide, which pushes away
the tail cone of the aircraft. "Usually, if it deploys
accidentally, it happens on the ground when somebody
accidentally hits something or opens the door
improperly," Hatfield said.
In the wake of the incident, NTSB chairman Mark
Rosenker announced an investigation into the surprise
landing, noting that control operations onboard "could
potentially make it extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to fly the aircraft,"
according to ABC News
The NTSB sought to quash speculation that it had
launched the investigation because the candidate was
aboard. "Whether it was a candidate or you and your
mother, we would look into it regardless," agency
representative Bridget Surchek told
Results of the preliminary investigation are scheduled
to be released next week. Stay tuned right here for
EDITORS NOTE: Could it have been failed
sabotage??? Just asking!
plane carrying Texas Rep. Ron Paul and six other
members of Congress was forced to make an
emergency landing Tuesday due to mechanical
Flight carrying members of
Congress makes emergency
08:15 PM CDT on Tuesday, July
Click to watch the 11 News
report on the incident
HOUSTON -- A Continental
Airlines flight carrying seven
members of Congress from
Houston to Washington was
forced to make an emergency
landing after it lost cabin
pressure Tuesday afternoon.
Flight 458 was bound for
Reagan National Airport, but
was diverted and landed safely
in New Orleans, a spokeswoman
for U.S. Rep. Ted Poe told 11
Poe and fellow Texas
Congressmen Nick Lampson, Ron
Paul, John Carter, Ciro
Rodriguez, Solomon Ortiz and
Henry Cuellar were aboard the
flight, said Poe's press
secretary DeeAnn Thigpen.
Ironically, the seven
congressmen were trying to get
back in time for a Tuesday
night vote on an aviation
safety bill, a spokesman for
one of the representatives
There were 118 people total
aboard the plane, Continental
spokeswoman Julie King said.
No one was hurt.
Continental Airlines said
the problem was caused by a
sudden loss in cabin pressure.
Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman
for passenger and Rep. Nick
Lampson, said his boss told
him “there was absolutely no
panic on the plane.” Lampson
told Kincaid the plane’s
oxygen masks dropped down.
personnel and staff were
exceptional; executing what
seemed to me a textbook
performance in emergency
procedure. I was very
impressed,” Lampson said in a
Poe told 11 News the flight
was about an hour late leaving
Houston because of mechanical
difficulties with an engine.
He said things went downhill
from there not long after
taking off from Bush
"Suddenly, we started to
descend more rapidly than
normal and the oxygen masks
came out," Poe said.
The pilots told everyone to
fasten their seatbelts.
"There wasn't any talk
because a lot of people had
their oxygen masks on,"
according to Poe. "Everyone
seemed to be quite calm."
The flight landed about 20
minutes after the scare began.
"You're thinking of
everything, of course. You're
thinking of all the
possibilities," Poe told 11
News. "But the pilots did a
great job of getting us down.
And when we got down we saw
all the fire trucks on the
runway, just like in the
For Poe and the others, it
was an unforgettable
"It was exciting to say the
least," Poe said. "Glad to see
that landing gear come down."
The cause of the loss of
cabin pressure will be
Thigpen said the flight is
frequently used by members of
the Texas delegation who have
returned home for the weekend.
The 1:05 p.m. flight is the
latest one that allows them to
get back to Washington in time
for 6:30 p.m. votes, she said.
The emergency landing was
the third time in two days a
plane was diverted over cabin
pressure issues. A US Airways
flight and a Northwest
Airlines flight were diverted
to airports in Kentucky and
Wisconsin on Monday over cabin
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.
Hole in Qantas jet forces
(CNN) -- A
Qantas flight from Hong Kong to
Melbourne made an emergency landing
in the Philippines on Friday after a
hole appeared in the fuselage and
the cabin lost pressure suddenly.
There was an
almighty crack," one passenger said.
"We dropped a bit in the air, but
other than that it was fine."
"There was a big
bang," said another. "I knew there
was a hole somewhere, but I didn't
know what was going on."
39, from Melbourne, told The
Associated Press: "There was wind
swirling around the plane and some
She said a hole
extended from the cargo hold into
the passenger cabin.
57, an architect from Melbourne,
told AP the bang sounded "like a
tire exploding, but more violently."
Images of the
Boeing 747-400 after it landed
showed a large hole where the
leading edge of the wing attaches to
more on the incident »
International Airport Authority
spokesman Octavio Lina said there
were no injuries, but some of the
345 passengers vomited after
disembarking, AP reported.
Qantas said the
hole, which was between 2.5 to three
meters in diameter, was being
inspected by engineers.
A report by the
airport authority quoted pilot John
Francis Bartels as saying an initial
investigation indicated there was an
Lina said the
cabin's floor gave way, exposing
some of the cargo beneath and part
of the ceiling collapsed, AP
originated in London. It was
diverted to Manila International
Airport, where it landed around
11:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. ET Thursday.)
There were no
reports of injuries among the 346
passengers and 19 crew, the airline
said in a statement. Oxygen masks
were deployed during the emergency.
footage from the plane »
their ears popped because of the
plane's rapid descent to a lower
vomited after disembarking, Manila
International Airport Authority
deputy manager for operations
Octavio Lina told AP.
The Australian Transportation Safety
Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety
Authority have been notified and
plan to investigate, according to
Geoff Dixon, Qantas CEO
Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights
getting ready to
land at a
eight people who
were on board.
Hawker 800 was
when it went
down in a
thought nine people
may have been aboard
the Raytheon Hawker
800, which went down
about 9:30 a.m. at a
regional airport about
60 miles south of the
But by late evening,
Department of Public
Safety spokesman Doug
Neville said it had
been confirmed that
eight people were on
Seven people were dead
at the scene. One died
later at a hospital.
The plane was carrying
Severe weather had
been moving through
earlier Thursday, but
witnesses and the
Service said the
storms were subsiding
at the time of the
crash. It wasn't
immediately clear if
weather was a factor.
The charter jet,
flying from Atlantic
City, N.J., to
Owatonna, a town of
25,000, went down in a
cornfield northwest of Degner Regional
Airport, Sheriff Gary
Ringhofer said. The
wreckage was not
visible to reporters
because tall corn
obscured the crash
The debris was
scattered 500 feet
beyond the airport's
runway. Late Thursday,
the Dakota County
coroner was on the
scene working to
Cameron Smith, a
mechanic at the
airport, said he spoke
by radio with the
jet's pilot just
minutes before the
crash. The pilot was
about to land and was
asking where he should
park for fuel, Smith
He ran to the crash
scene to see if anyone
could be helped, but
saw only a long skid
path and debris that
he described as
He said: "There was no
fuselage. There were just
The plane had been scheduled
to land at 9:42 a.m., then
take off at 11:40 a.m. for
The only crash victim
publicly identified as of
early Thursday evening was
Karen Sandland, 44, a
project manager on the Revel
casino project who worked
out of Tishman
Construction's Newark, N.J.
office, company spokesman
Bud Perrone said. She was
the only Tishman employee on
board, said Richard M.
Kielar, the company's senior
Atlantic City Mayor Scott
Evans said two high-ranking
Revel executives also were
among the victims, but he
declined to identify them.
Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis
issued a statement Thursday
night mourning the loss of
employees from his company,
Tishman and APG
International, a Glassboro,
N.J., company that
specializes in glass
facades. DeSanctis did not
identify the victims or say
how many of his company's
APG's telephone rang
unanswered Thursday night,
and no one immediately
responded to a fax sent to
the company seeking comment.
Don Pyatt, president of
glass company Viracon, told
the Owatonna People's Press
that the customers were from
"a couple of different
companies" who were coming
to the plant to discuss a
project in Las Vegas.
Mary Ann Jackson, a
spokeswoman for Viracon's
parent company, Apogee
Enterprises Inc., confirmed
to the AP that those on
board were Viracon
customers, but declined to
provide other details. She
said no Viracon employees
were involved in the crash.
The airport lies alongside
Interstate 35 as it skirts
Owatonna's western edge. The
airport's Web site describes
it as "ideal for all classes
of corporate aircraft use"
with an all-weather
instrument landing system.
Sharon Gordon, a spokeswoman
for the South Jersey
which operates Atlantic City
International Airport, said
the East Coast Jets plane
landed at the airport at
7:10 a.m. from its base in
It picked up several
passengers and left at 8:13
a.m., requiring no services
on the ground.
Associated Press writer
Wayne Parry in Atlantic
City, N.J., contributed to
Copyright 2008 The