In mid-April I wrote about a pretty terrifying incident that happened on an American Airlines flight bound from New York to Los Angeles. The flight was operated by one of American’s special A321T aircraft in a premium heavy configuration, featuring just 102 seats (including 10 first class seats, 20 business class seats, and 72 economy class seats).
Long story short, apparently the plane “rolled” to the left right as it took off, causing the left wing to hit something during takeoff. However, the pilots didn’t realize it for quite a while — as the plane passed through 20,000 feet, the pilots asked air traffic control to return to the airport.
As the pilot described it to the controller, the plane “had a strong roll to the left,” and the plane was fine but they just wanted to “return to Kennedy to have them check it out.” In the meantime the pilot also told passengers that they were returning to the airport because there was a computer malfunction.
If you want to hear the audio of the incident, you can do so here:
Anyway, there was a lot of discussion about just how severe this incident was, so I’ve been keeping an eye on the tail number that operated this flight.
Some might be interested to hear that over six months after the incident, the plane is still grounded. N114NN, the plane that operated this flight, hasn’t operated any flight since it returned to JFK on April 10.
I followed up with American about this, and they’ve informed me that it’s still grounded as part of the NTSB investigation. This must be quite an involved repair and investigation, and I’ll be curious to see when the plane flies again.
Meanwhile in the recent case of the Delta 757 that had a very rough landing in the Azores, the plane was able to be ferried back to the US just over a month after the incident, which surprised a lot of people. It looks like on October 13 the plane was ferried to Nazca, so I’m curious to see what happens with the plane from there…
Are you surprised that the American A321 is still grounded from April?