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Landing Gear Fails on Trump Jet; No Injuries

August 11, 1989|From Associated Press

BOSTON — The nose of a Trump Shuttle jet skidded down a runway, throwing out a spray of sparks and smoke, after it landed Thursday with its front landing gear still retracted.

There were no injuries among the 47 passengers and seven crew members on the Boeing 727, Trump Shuttle officials said.

"It was like a roller coaster ride like at Coney Island, and I enjoyed that. You prepare yourself for the worst. But it was really just like a rough regular landing," passenger Glenn Porter of New York said.

"The pilot did an outstanding job," FAA spokesman John Mogul said. "The pilot held the nose off the ground, then lowered the nose slowly to the runway."

The pilot, Capt. Robert Smith, played down his efforts and said 727s are "fabulous" aircraft.

"This was all in a day's work as far as I'm concerned," said Smith, 47, a former Navy pilot.

Smith flew for Eastern Airlines for 19 years before billionaire New York City developer Donald J. Trump bought Eastern's Shuttle, including planes and landing rights for $365 million, and inaugurated service under his own name on June 8.

The plane, coming from New York's LaGuardia Airport, circled Boston for nearly an hour, dumping fuel over the ocean and flying roller-coaster "G-force" maneuvers trying to shake the nose gear loose. The jet also made one rough touch-and-go landing--banging the main landing gear onto the ground and taking off again--in an effort to jar the front landing gear loose from its housing.

After circling several more times, Smith settled the main landing gear onto the runway and held the nose up as long as he could.

"The people in the front were screaming and yelling," James Moriarty of New York said. The pilot "said be prepared for metal on concrete. So that's what we were preparing for. It wasn't that bad, though. You felt like you were just waiting for the nose to drop."

Many passengers said the scariest moments came after the landing, when firefighters sprayed the plane with foam and they rushed to slide down emergency chutes.

It was the second recent emergency landing involving a landing gear problem. On Aug. 2, a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 737 scraped its left wing and engine at Greensboro, N.C., after its left main landing gear jammed. No one was hurt.

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