FAA Issues Airbus Nose Gear AD...

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Inspections, Parts Replacements Ordered

Two months after the made-for-television landing of a JetBlue A320 with the nose gear cocked 90 degrees to the runway centerline (most prior incidents didn't make TV news), the FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires inspection of the nose gear on about 200 U.S.-registered planes and will likely affect another 650 in other countries. Although the landing at LAX, with smoke and sparks pouring from the twisted gear, provided a major ratings boost for the news channels, no one on board suffered a scratch. And while the authorities know that the combined failure of some lugs and the braking and steering control unit led to the wheels being misaligned, they don't know why and further ADs may follow. The AD becomes effective Nov. 30 but it's likely that most airlines have already done the work. Airbus issued a technical note on Oct. 18 and a JetBlue spokesman told Bloomberg News that all of its planes checked out fine. Airbus spokeswoman Mary Ann Greczyn said other carriers are reporting similar results. "We have not received any report from any airline worldwide of an unusual finding with their nose landing gear related to this issue," Greczyn said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. There were several earlier (and untelevised) incidents in which Airbus nose gear wheels were locked perpendicular to the centerline but there's no reference to them in the current AD.